When I think of opportunity, I think of an old story I’ve heard several times. It goes something like this:
Many years ago, two salesmen were sent by a shoe manufacturer to another continent to investigate and report back on market potential.
The first salesman reported back, “There is no potential here — nobody wears shoes.”
The second salesman reported back, “There is massive potential here — nobody wears shoes.”
This is a perfect example of seeing things in two very different ways — the glass is either half full or the glass is half empty. When you’re seeing the glass as only “half empty,” you’re missing opportunities. And there are always opportunities — no matter how large or small — to make a situation better, more effective, or more impactful.
Opportunity is defined as a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. As a project manager and performance consultant, I’m always analyzing everything I see with my “performance-improvement” eye because I know there’s ALWAYS an opportunity to be had…and it doesn’t have to be complex. Finding an opportunity can be as simple as hearing someone make a passing comment about a problematic task.
You’d be surprised at how many opportunities are out there. It’s all about keeping your eyes open and listening to what your client is actually saying, seeing the “opportunity,” and following up with thoughtful and creative options that will help solve the problem. I’ve never come across someone who turned me away because I offered them a solution that helped them.
So, I’d like to know, what opportunity did you see when nobody else did?