By Michael Hedgpeth · June 11, 2014

In the last post I wrote about a mistake I made where I focused too much on The Grand Vision and not enough on solving small problems. At the time, I felt that accomplishing The Grand Vision was going to be awesome and would save the world, and would mean that there would be a parade for my entire team, and cheering, and wonderful speeches given for us all. It will be glorious, except, now I realize I totally screwed it up:

I left no room for surprise.

Surprise is when someone’s expectation is suddenly shifted into a totally new place in an instant. Surprise has a way of changing the game immediately and causing your competitors to scramble.

When your competition expects an outcome, they have time to spin it as no big deal. Your flaws (and there will be flaws if you ship it) will be the surprises, not the big game-changing outcome that you created. People adjust to the new reality over a period of months, when in fact the reality hasn’t even changed.

This lesson will be central to everything I do for the rest of my life. If I am trying to create an important outcome that makes a difference, I should focus first on creating the outcome. If it is as important as I think it is, surprise will be my ally.