Surprises can actually work out OK

June 17, 2013       The NonProfit Times      

Usually, managers dislike surprises. Very often they are bad, and even when they’re not they can be disruptive.

Despite executive resistance, surprises can be, well, surprising in their benefits. Many of the advances that we take for granted today were the results of surprises, outcomes that were not planned but that yielded beneficial results.

In her “A Random Book About the Power of Anyone” Talia Y. Leman discusses great surprises. Leman notes that the great surprises of life, by definition can only appear in unexpected places.

The trick to making room for the unexpected is to recognize the telltale clues, Leman wrote. They are always there. What they really mean is that a possibility has just emerged, a possibility that can go further than anyone imagined. In other words, it’s a gift.

That’s the time to go to a blank mind screen and ask, “If we do this, go there, think this way, include this person … then how would it look?” Leman suggests being on the lookout for:

  • When your idea feels ruffled.
  • When you feel protective and on guard.
  • When “no” starts bubbling up inside you.
  • When you wish people would understand you better.
  • When the person speaking is wearing a Darth Vader costume.

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