Great…now that I have your attention, let me explain.  At C5 Insight, we talk about LUCK…a lot. No, not as something random that happens by chance, but as we define LUCK here at our organization.  More on that in just a minute.  You see, years ago we discovered something very special – some might even say a “secret ingredient” – to creating and building lasting and productive relationships. Not in a fake way, but as a new and unique approach to ultimately create purpose, happiness, and engagement, and when applied within an organization, new ideas and innovation (which ultimately affects revenue and profit as well). We realized that this “ingredient” was actually composed of four very distinct components, that had to be applied in a specific way in order to create the final product of LUCK. If any one component was omitted or shortcuts were taken, there was no LUCK. In other words, there are four “chemical elements” that, when combine properly, create LUCK - similar to how the single ingredient salt is actually made from the specific components sodium and chloride. Since this discovery, we’ve been obsessed with LUCK and not only apply it to every single client we work with, but we even trademarked The LUCK Principle™, and in 2016, thanks to a ton of hard work by my business partner and author Geoff Ables, we will have a book hitting the shelves talking more about how to apply the LUCK  principle.

Ok, so enough science for now. Why should you care and how do you apply this?

I’m so glad you asked.  What I want to do in this post is to apply LUCK specifically to collaboration initiatives within an organization, such as SharePoint, Social, etc. We have spent years understanding this principle and ultimately developing a framework that we can apply to nearly every project that involves people (by the way, if you can think of a project that doesn’t involve people, I want to hear about it in the comments!). Needless to say, I won’t be able to to develop the entire idea of LUCK in this short blog post.  Stay tuned in 2016 for not only the book but also more posts on LUCK.

What Does L.U.C.K. Stand For

 The LUCK Principle

These are the four components that must not only exist in every collaboration initiative, but must be applied in this order (from left to right). The acronym is easy to remember, but another way to think about the four elements is this:

  1. LISTEN = Gather the data
  2. UNDERSTAND = Interpret the data
  3. CONNECT = Act on the data
  4. KNOW = Measure how you did

So let’s see how we can apply this specifically to your collaboration project.


There are a lot of articles and book out there on listening, but unfortunately we have found that true listening – to understand and not to reply – is becoming more rare in today’s organizations. The latest technology that promises to rapidly solve all problems is just too enticing to resist. But if you want to be successful at collaboration: slow down, listen, ask questions, and gather the information. Where should you start?  For our clients, it starts with a well-planned roadmap, which uses The LUCK Principle (what did you expect?) and a unique, collaborative decision making framework we developed called LUCKstorming. Looking for more information about a successful roadmap engagement? Check out our 2-part blog on building a project roadmap.

During this process, we’re not just “interviewing the business” like many organizations do, but we’re asking probing questions about how individuals and departments work together, we are identifying where strong and weak ties exist, what impact – both negative and positive - the project will have on various groups, and ultimately trying to gather a rich set of data beyond “What do you want?” and “Where are your pains?” 

Sometimes going back to basics is what we all need, so here are 6 questions to get you started, using the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How questions we all learned back in elementary school:

  1. WHO will this project impact? (Negatively? Positively?)
  2. WHAT problem(s) are we really trying to solve?  (And no, “We need an Intranet” is not a problem you are trying to solve – go deeper)
  3. WHEN would we be ready for this level of collaboration? (Is your current culture conducive to collaboration and sharing? If not, no technology will change that. Get our 60-second self-assessment here to see if your org is ready for collaboration.)
  4. WHERE are we going? (As an organization, as a department, as a location. What is your vision or mission?)
  5. WHY have other projects struggled in the past? (Yes, I know that there have been projects in your org that have struggled.  Understanding what went wrong with these will help you better avoid failure on your current projects)
  6. HOW can we make it easier for people to work together? (Think “friction-free” – make it easy for people to collaborate, connect, share, and discover)


Once you have gathered the data, the next step is to interpret the data. Using a few of the questions above:

  • What does it actually mean that this will impact department X negatively? How big of a risk is this?  Is it even a risk based on what we’re trying to accomplish?
  • If we’re not ready for collaboration yet (we have a culture of competition), can we be ready or is this just “who we are?”  Should we press on-ward or step back and try to address the root issues within our culture?
  • Wow…we don’t even know what our mission is – how the heck are we going to align our initiative with an unknown mission?
  • Three out of the last five corporate initiatives have failed, and one of those is stalled. Why did that happen? Who was the PM, the project team?  Does this mean our project could struggle as well?
  • We have small silos of strong ties and hardly any weak ties. Is that a product of our culture and organization, or can we create more weak ties if we’re more intentional?


Connection is huge. For any relationship to work, listening and understanding is not enough. You have to also connect with others, and hopefully by listening and understanding you are better equipped to connect.  In collaboration initiatives, we see this play-out in 2 distinct ways:

Connecting with each other

How collaboration works

Everything starts with connecting people in friction-free ways - making it easy for people to come together. If you can get this part right, human nature takes over from there. In fact, we see things such as job satisfaction, sentiment, and engagement go up – naturally. The final stage of innovation - the collaboration nirvana we're all after - is where you develop new product ideas, better ways to cross-sell to existing clients, ways to serve more clients more efficiently, better processes, more clients, and the list goes on and on.  Lastly, notice what is at the heart of collaboration…PEOPLE.  It’s not technology such as SharePoint, Yammer, Office Groups, Delve or anything else that sits at the center.  It’s people – always has been and always will be.


Connecting with the vision and purpose of the initiative

If people are at the heart of collaboration, then along with great planning you’re now going to do, it only makes sense that you spend time helping them understand the value of what you are doing. It’s amazing how often we see organizations have great intentions and sometimes well-laid plans, only to have those thwarted by not connecting the people to the project.  One way we do this is by what we call Prepare and Proclaim, which can be seen in the diagram below.Connecting people to the vision and purpose

Let’s face it, it’s still a What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) world. Not necessarily in a bad way, but we all need  to see how something is going to impact me and how it is going to make what I do better. Start by preparing your employees for the changes they are about to experience, and begin to help them understand why doing something differently will help them. We’ve also learned a great deal about training. I won't go into great detail here, but please read my blog on training here to learn some tips and techniques to better train your users (hint: training is not a one-time event).


Do you like to be kept in the dark? Yeah, me either. Employees want to know what’s going on. We see all the time – overall sentiment is improved simply by communicating to the users. As part of our on-going governance and steering committee work, we work with each client to develop a specific communication plan.  Not only what will be communicated, but when, how, and by whom. It’s critical, and it will quickly get employees on your side if you have resistance to change. Lastly, give people a voice. We have a free SharePoint solution that you can download here which allows you to capture feedback from your users in a friction-free way. Our clients (and their users) love it.


The final component in The LUCK Principle, and in many ways the most important, is to KNOW how you did. I’m sure you’ve heard it before – you can’t manage what you don’t measure. It’s important to setup metrics to track how you did against your goals and your roadmap. In other words, what boxes needed to be checked to call this done, and did we check them?  In addition, having a lessons learned meeting is a critical step that we include in every single client project, and often at the end of every major sprint or milestone. Use this time to capture feedback on what you did do well and where could you improve. At C5 Insight, we went a step further and completely digitized every lessons learned meeting into a searchable database (using SharePoint). Now lessons learned are not only a part of the closure step, but also the project initiation step, and as a team we can quickly search lessons learned by type of project, industry, etc., and review everything we learned from similar projects.

I’ll tell you a little secret – most of our processes and frameworks at C5 Insight were born from lessons learned meeting. Do we make mistakes? Absolutely. Will we make the same mistake twice? Not on your life.

After many years delivering projects that improve collaboration, we have found that successful organizations always follow these four best practices. At C5 Insight, our mission is to forever change how people work together by applying The LUCK Principle™; thereby creating more productive business relationships and inspiring loyalty among employees, customers, and partners. We use this everyday - both inside and outside of our organization – to fulfill our mission of making technology work for people, and not the other way around.

If you’d like to learn more about C5 Insight, The LUCK Principle, LUCKstorming, or anything else in this post, please don’t hesitate to contact us.