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Better Lucky AND Good!

by Neil Rosenbaum

Here’s a phrase I use too often; “Better lucky than good”. It’s part self-deprecating, part joke, and I probably shouldn’t use it. Before a test, former high school teacher Paul Muench, Director of Education at Daneli taught his classes to reply to the wish; “Good Luck” before a test to answer with; “Luck has nothing to do with it!”.

This weekend, when thinking about a new venture within our sister business, Rock City Development, it occurred to me the real sentiment should be; “Better lucky AND good”. There was definitely a part of good fortune that brought this opportunity to light, but it would not have, if we were not perceived as capable of achieving the desired results. We work hard to consistently do well, to drive for results and to be consistent.

Rock City Development was started as an operating business and real estate development company in the Mohawk Valley, NY. Our primary goal is to build a sustainable business that will be a meaningful part of the invigoration of the region and a place where people can work, learn and develop. Our hope is that people are able to stay in the area and rise to levels of responsibility beyond their expectations. At Daneli, we call this our “Living Laboratory” because it gives us the opportunity to “walk the talk” and add credibility to our “in front of the room” teaching.

At Daneli, we focus on the skills and tools to help leaders understand their passion and innate strengths, understand them and aim toward driving results in all areas of their personal and professional lives and responsibilities. Particularly in developing new leaders.

Think of it this way; what do post-it notes, slinky and the implantable pacemaker have in common?

THE IMPLANTABLE PACEMAKER – In 1956, Wilson Greatbatch, an engineer, was working on a device to record the rhythm of a human heartbeat, but he used the wrong-sized resistor in the circuit.

The device created intermittent electrical impulses that closely mimicked the sound of a human heartbeat. While hospitals already had pacemaker machines, they were large, painful and immobile.

Greatbatch discovered that his invention could run electrodes directly to the muscle tissue of the heart, keeping a patient’s heart on track. With such a device, patients who needed pacemakers would not have to remain at the hospital, and they wouldn’t have to use the painful machines. He worked on making the device small enough to fit inside a human body.

THE SLINKY – Trying to develop a spring that would keep equipment steady on ships, Richard James knocked the coiled metal off a ledge and saw the incredible effect it had. He showed his wife Betty the accidental invention, and she had the idea to make it a toy.

THE POST-IT NOTE – A scientist named Dr. Spencer Silver was working to develop an incredibly strong adhesive in 1968. By accident, he created the exact opposite — an incredibly weak adhesive. Silver relentlessly shared his invention with colleagues, but he couldn’t get traction to make it into a product. One of his colleagues, Arthur Fry, came up with the idea of using the adhesive on bookmarks. Fed up with little papers falling out of his hymnal at church, he determined that Silver’s invention was the solution.

What do they have in common? They all happened by accident. Does that mean the inventor wasn’t “good”. No, it means that IN ADDITION to being good, something unplanned happened, and in all cases interaction with another “good” person led to commercialization, and in the case of the pacemaker, countless lives have been saved.

Another saying; “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity”.

Lifelong learning, perseverance, collaboration and the willingness to let “failure” be just another learning opportunity is what moves us along the road to excellence and great achievements.

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