Planned Happenstance – Turning Serendipity into Opportunity

Chaos theory of careers represented by employees moving in all directions on office steps

By Lise Stransky.

In my work with clients, I am most often influenced by the theory of one of my heroes, John Krumboltz, mainly because I see his theory of Planned Happenstance alive in my own career.

John Krumboltz’s planned happenstance theory makes it OK to not always plan, because unplanned events could lead to good careers. This theory specifically addresses the need for people to deal with change within the rapidly changing labour market. Krumboltz states that people with these qualities are more likely to capitalize on chance events and turn serendipity into opportunity:

  • curiosity to explore learning opportunities.
  • persistence to deal with obstacles.
  • flexibility to address a variety of circumstances and events.
  • optimism to maximize benefits from unplanned events.

Think about it for a moment…serendipity into opportunity. Have you experienced this in your career? Do you have these qualities? Do you encourage them in your clients?

Here are some questions to consider as you create opportunity for yourself and your clients:

Know who you are and what you want to offer.

  • What are your top strengths?
  • Are you leveraging them in your career?
  • Why do you procrastinate sometimes in your career?

Know who you want to work with.

  • Where are the people you want to work with?
  • Who are your ideal clients?
  • Are your best clients giving you good references? Why or why not? How do you ask?

SWOT is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It is a structured planning method that can be used to evaluate yourself and your clients.

  • Have you conducted a SWOT analysis on yourself?
  • Do you help clients conduct SWOT analyses on themselves?
  • Have you conducted a SWOT analysis on your ideal client?



Spread the love
Categories: ,
Notify of

1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Thanks for sharing this post. I’m a big fan of curiousity in your career and even wrote about it myself. It is not directly linked to this theory however along the same lines.