Successful Leaders Make Their Own LUCK!

Successful-Leaders-Make-Their-Own-Luck-Ray-AttiyahA famous line from Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry asks, “Do you feel lucky?” So on this St. Patrick’s Day – a day full of celebration, parades, festivals, feasting and, of course, the wearing of green; where people around the world wish for and toast to “good luck” – I ask you “Do you feel lucky?”

Each of us has experienced luck at some time or other in our lives but today’s challenge for leaders and for people everywhere is to “Make your own luck!”

Luck happens when opportunity and planning intersect.” ~ Ray Attiyah Tweet this!

By definition luck means “Success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.” Thomas Jefferson was quoted as saying “The harder I work the luckier I get.” What I have learned, though, is luck happens when opportunity and planning intersect.  This means you can actually create your own luck by creating more opportunities.

One of the best ways to create more opportunities is to look for those lucky charms – those quality people, those top performers, with new ideas and a passion to try new ventures. Fill your bench with those lucky charms, gather them to your organization, spend planned time getting to know them, create an environment where they can connect with each other and then watch the sparks of collaboration and innovation grow.

Eliminate the mind-set of “What if…?” (chance) and start each day with an attitude of “What will it take to…?” (choice)

Allow these individuals to become the “super connectors” in your organization.  Choose to take bold purposeful actions toward successfully implementing their ideas and expect failures to be part of the process.  Eliminate the mind-set of “What if…?” (chance) and start each day with an attitude of “What will it take to…?” (choice).

Ways to overcome the “What if….?” mentality (moving up the rainbow):

 TRUST – build relationships of mutual respect; listen and invest time in people; I’ve always said trust is the lubricant of the most efficient systems

  • COMMUNICATION – share standards, expectations, challenges, goals, vision and other information openly and often
  • OWNERSHIP – allow employees to “own” their jobs; engage them in the process
  • MOTIVATION – lead by example; model right behaviors; recognize and reward efforts
Ways to encourage a “What will it take to….?” mind-set (sliding down the rainbow):

QUESTIONS – change what questions you ask and how you ask them; questions say a lot about our priorities and should focus on the activity, the action, and the situation not the employee or his/her intentions; ask questions that spark confidence and influence peak performance behaviors

  • QUICK WINS – simplify processes and remove immediate obstacles; build momentum and confidence; become a catalyst to transfer energy across the organization
  • PROACTIVE IMPROVEMENTS – leaders need to get out of the day-to-day running of the business (stop fire-fighting and micro-managing); start looking to fix what’s not broken; proactive improvements set the stage for management to make bold promises to customers knowing the organization will be able to deliver
  • POSITIONING/SCOUTING – position people for success in their most-value-added roles; continuously recruit top talent both inside and outside the organization; attract the best and then keep them inspired

The results of this transition from leadership by chance to leadership by choice are amazing! “

By choosing the right combination of people, planning, positioning and proactive purpose organizations find promise in what the future holds. They no longer have to wonder what’s on the other side of the rainbow, as they experience and celebrate each day with a new pot of gold full of confidence, creativity, customer loyalty and more.

And, if you’re lucky (or not) you may also experience the ultimate achievement – finding yourself and your organization at the bottom of a second rainbow striving for even higher levels of performance, excellence and growth!

So I’ll ask again, “Do you feel lucky?”  Who are those lucky charms in your organization and what have you done to connect and inspire them?  What are those proactive improvements you and your team are actively pursuing?  What bold promises have you made to your customers to challenge your team and to create new opportunities?  What are you doing today, this week, this month, this year to make your own luck?

About Ray Attiyah

"Ray Attiyah is an entrepreneur with 17 businesses. He is an innovator who developed Run-Improve-Grow™, a proven leadership, improvement, management and growth system that ensures that everyone in the organization is trusted and equipped to excel in their most valuable role.

Ray received his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Rutgers University and MBA from Xavier University. Ray's initial on-the-job leadership and operations management training came in the healthcare and medical industry with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) where he served in various management, operations, engineering, and project leadership roles. His initial roles at Ethicon Endo-Surgery required Ray to rapidly improve and radically change how this mid-sized division performed in order to grow quickly and profitably into the leader in the endoscopic and surgical market. Subsequently, Ray accepted the leadership role of Director of Operations for Johnson and Hardin with the goal of accomplishing similar business improvement successes.

Inspired by his desire to train and seek break through improvements Ray founded Definity Partners (formerly Midwest Manufacturing Solutions) in 1996, at the young age of 26. As the Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Definity Partners, Ray has led hundreds of companies and thousands of business leaders toward fearlessness through sustainable improvements and growth. Ray is a passionate speaker, writer, and contributor to a number of publications, as well as the author of The Fearless Front Line: The Key to Liberating Leaders to Improve and Grow Their Business, due out March 2013."

Connect with Ray Attiyah


  1. Proactive improvements and delivering is most certainly a way to be successful in anything in life. There are so many ways to create opportunities, and I appreciate your great article and tips on how to do just that.

  2. Hi Ray. I so agree with you … that we make our own luck. Thank you for reminding us of that – and for giving us the right questions to ask (“what will it take …?”).

    • That is my favorite question…What will it take to…? It probably drives everything I do. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the article and thank you for sharing it with others.

  3. Ali Paskun says:

    Fantastic post, Ray! Absolutely spot on. There is no such thing as “blind luck,” but we can create our own “luck” through planning, passion, and dilligence.

    • Thanks Ali! I enjoyed your post as well, especially about being transparent and understanding the intentions behind the things we do. Great connecting with you!

  4. Brilliant writing and awesome tips and message you share on your post. Keep sharing and keep rocking 🙂

  5. Brilliant writing and awesome tips and mesage you share on your post. Keep sharing and keep rocking 🙂

  6. Brilliant post, Ray! Incredibly important to distinguish between our wishes (chance) and our actions (choice). We make our own luck and multiply it greatly when we bring people into our organizations that understand the power of connection, collaboration and taking ideas into inspired action.

    • Thank you Alli! I’m glad you liked the post and thanks for sharing it with others. I agree…it’s all about the people! Talented people make our opportunities for growth limitless! Ray

  7. Yeh Ray! You said it. Positive attitude, passion, intellect, and some heart — success is at hand. Love the connection to St. Patrick’s Day (I’m half Irish) and a great read.


    • Thanks Kate! I think I got “lucky” to be given a slot to post today! Was a good fit for the premise of my passion – to be fearless in business and in life! I’m glad you liked it! Ray

  8. Hi Ray

    I’m reminded of the Gary Player (or maybe apocryphal) quote, when, as the best bunker player in the world of golf, he was told he was lucky to hole so many shots from bunkers: “It’s funny, you know, the more I practise the luckier I get…!”

    I guess that’s in part your intersect, but it also reminds me that any skill gets better with hard work, as well as a plan. So Id probably add to your list, give the lucky ones (and everyone else) the opportunity to practice, review and learn – so that they get even luckier!

    Thanks for a really nice post.

    Warm wishes


    • Thanks for the insights David! I agree practice would make your “chance” at intersecting greater! Glad you enjoyed the post and grateful for the share!

  9. Ray, Yep, I’m feelin’ pretty lucky. Especially after reading this. Love you quote, “Luck happens when opportunity and planning intersect.” Just tweeted it.