Once up on a time in a land far away, there was a great and powerful king by the name of Giaffer. He had three prince sons, who were very dear to him. As every parent would be, he also was concerned with their education, as they one day would rule the kingdom. For that he entrusted them to the very best tutors that could train them in such a way that they could immediately be recognised as his very own.

When the tutors were pleased with their excellent progress, they reported to the king, who still doubted their training. As the king declared to each and one of them that he will retire, leaving them as kings. Each and one politely declined, declaring their fathers superiors wisdom to rule. The king was pleased, but feared that their education may have been to sheltered and privileged. Pretending to be angry with them, he sent them away from the land to learn. 

Leaving the island of Serendib

Traveling the world meeting people and situations they had not planned for, they soon become masters in discovering through observation. Looking for one thing and finding another, discovering things they would not be in search of in the first place. Through their individual observations and discovering together, they gained skills in seeing what could not been seen by anyone else. They soon become advisors to powerful rulers around the world. And the stories and encounters of the three princes, from the land far away, the island of Serendib, was told for over a thousand years.

By exposing his sons, for them not ever before encountered situations, the great king Giaffer of what we today call Sri Lanka, managed to set them up to meet the future with new eyes. They trained in seeing what was not obvious, embracing uncertainty, finding something else than what was sought for, something great that no one could anticipate. They did this together. As being of different personality and knowledge, they together could see what no one else could. Becoming advisors for those who would rule the destiny of kingdoms to prosper. 

Different from luck

Today we call this serendipity, encounters of the unknown that lead to unforeseen valuable or agreeable things. It differs from luck, as you preposition your self, by exposing your self to new situations and contexts, talking to people that you have no predisposition to talk to, and discover what you could not plan for.

To move ahead wisely, to set ourselves up for the future, large corporations of today need to expose their sons and daughters to the world outside. Set them up to capture the serendipitous moments that will be their future, and allow them to seize it. 

Most groups or organisations stay within them selves, and as king Giaffer first requested his sons to be recognisable in their thoughts, looking for alike. In perspective of togetherness, it is most often within the same group or family, and the challenge become how to be inclusive of new and different thoughts and ideas from outside to sustain for the future.

How can you promote insights in your organisation? What would it take, what mechanisms do you need?
Don’t hesitate to reach out having a dialogue on how this can be a capability in your organisation. Also making your organisation the best workplace, developing people to their fullest potential, allowing them to seize what they are meant to be.

Take care!

Christian Appelt