By Tom Gamble
Serendipity is the art of unexpected and happy discovery. Being aware of it and having the right mindset to make it happen helps ideas occur, teams to innovate and entrepreneurship to flourish. There are two main ways of encountering serendipity – ‘spiritual’ and ‘scientific’. Are you ready to let serendipity happen? Taking a break from our usual CSR-related content, try the first of two self-assessments and see!
Spiritual serendipity: a quality analysis and assessment
Spiritual serendipity involves a combination of a number of qualities/factors. Give yourself a score for each of the following from 1 – 5 (5 being highest).
- Humility: I am open to accept and speak with everyone, whatever their social or professional status.     
- Listening: I actively listen to my professional and personal entourage and encourage people to communicate freely.     
- Active sociability: I enjoy and actively encourage meeting different people and new environments.     
- Luck: I believe that there are anomalies, differences, inconsistencies and exceptions which obey no standards or laws and which can occur positively and unexpectedly in my favour.     
- Open-mindedness: I encourage and am open to all possibilities and opinion before forming a judgement.     
- Inquisitiveness: I characteristically try to understand and learn about things I encounter at work and in my social life.     
- Daring: I enjoy venturing into new and unknown territories in an attempt to discover and understand things.     
- Learning from errors: I am not afraid of committing mistakes in order to reach my goal and take each mistake as an occasion to learn from it.     
- Awareness: I am aware of my role and presence within a wider purpose and environment and am able to sense the presence of these.     
- Self-doubt: I am aware that I may sometimes doubt my decisions or capacities and use this to re-trigger courage, change tactic or modify my approach in reaching a solution.     
- Wider purpose: I believe in and trust a wider, greater source of guidance and inspiration although I may not be able to put a name to it.     
- Faith: When confronted with misfortune or great challenge, I withhold and refer to a deeper faith that reassures and motivates me.     
- Temporally flexible: I give time for things to happen of their own free will and do not fix deadlines, expectations or limits for a discovery to occur.     
- Happenstance: I believe that being in the right place at the right time can depend on action, availability, openness and human warmth.     
Feedback and action tips
- Identify your high and low scores for each question/attribute. All statements are positive-oriented for rapid and easy assessment, meaning that a low score indicates that you would have to consider changing ways, methods, process, outlook or action!
- How can you explain these scores? And how can you improve on any low scores?
- What concrete actions can you undertake to try out those areas in which you identified lower scores?
- Or, if you’re feeling lazy, you may have realised that the 14 words in green represent the attributes required for this type of serendipity to occur. All you have to do, then, is identify the questions related to your lowest scores and – spin the situation around and just do it!
Learn more about the Council on Business & Society
- Website: www.council-business-society.org
- Twitter: @The_CoBS
- LinkedIn: the-council-on-business-&-society
The Council on Business & Society (The CoBS), visionary in its conception and purpose, was created in 2011, and is dedicated to promoting responsible leadership and tackling issues at the crossroads of business and society including sustainability, diversity, ethical leadership and the place responsible business has to play in contributing to the common good.
In 2020, member schools now number 7, all “Triple Crown” accredited AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA and leaders in their respective countries.