Clicking With Frans Johansson
January is a great month for introspection, especially about one elusive subject: what really drives success? There are innumerable guides in this area, and there is no shortage of people who have and will continue to offer advice. If you’re open to the idea of the random nature of success, the involvement of luck and the serendipity factor behind it, the work of Frans Johansson provides a sense of hope and a set of strategies.
I just finished his terrific book published last year, The Click Moment: Seizing Opportunity in an Unpredictable World. It is a worthy follow up to 2004’s The Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation. Johansson is a fluid and engaging writer; a born storyteller. Even if you think you know everything about the corporate histories of companies like Microsoft or Starbucks, it’s worth reading The Click Moment for his angle, especially for the lessons drawn, and how they fit with the many other examples in the book. In his HBR blog post from last October, he expands on one of the stories in the book, about how he built a successful career as a speaker/writer/thought leader after his first book was published. It’s an example of a brilliant strategy that only became one in retrospect. It’s true that he had business experience, and an MBA from the Harvard Business School, and all the networking advantages that come with it. But lots of people have that, and it won’t automatically turn them into thought leaders who sell lots of books. Thinking differently, reaching out to a wide range of people, being open to possibilities beyond the obvious, and then running with unexpected success worked for him, and the people and companies he profiles. See what happens by adding these thoughts to your introspection, this month and throughout the year.