General management

Being open to opportunity

Photo by Sam HowzitI was once given some career advice which applies equally to the development of an organisation: be open to opportunity. In a personal sense this means not just looking out for opportunities, but being able to respond to them quickly and easily. You may say Yes or No to any one, but making Yes an easy option is not something anyone can do without some work.

And so it is with organisations. Lots of organisations are continually assailed with opportunities. They may be sales opportunities, or they may be people trying to sell you things, or perhaps they are products or services you might use for strategic advantage. Anyone can analyse an opportunity and pronounce on it. The trick is to make that fast, and for the cost of a Yes to be minimal.

Within an organisation this means a couple of things. First, it means the assessment mechanism has to be easy—no lengthy committee meetings, as little time from as few stakeholders as possible to make an intelligent decision, etc. Second, it means a strong platform on which to make the opportunity a reality. This means the internal mechanisms to make use of the new service, the new technology, the org change, etc.

This “platform” might be your ability to quickly spin up a new and effective team. It might mean having a coherent and reliable technology platform. I’ve worked with a few companies whose ability to say Yes quickly and then implement at high speed and low cost has been directly attributed to having a solid API. It’s a (technology) platform that enabled them to quickly assess an opportunity (does it fit into the API?) and equally quickly exploit (API integration becomes routine).

Being open to opportunity means minimising the cost of Yes. Whether in your career or in business.

Photo by Sam Howzit

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