Hello Leader,

Every morning you get up looking to find good things and hoping for good things to find you. You work to progress and succeed. And you hope to encounter new opportunities: to grow; to be promoted; to serve new clients; to acquire new knowledge and meet new people, and to discover new latent capabilities.

In Your Window of Opportunity, I shared with you how I stumbled upon the window of opportunity insight. We will look at this again today because we often don't recognize that opportunities show up inside a window. And most opportunities have expiration dates. What do we mean when we say that opportunities have expiration dates? Read on to find out.

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Aviv Shahar

Opportunities have expiration dates

Opportunities do not exist in a void. Opportunities always appear inside limited situational windows.

If you see an opportunity inside its window, everything is possible. Outside the window, that specific opportunity ceases to exist or the return on potential rapidly diminishes.

Here is my metaphor: Think about an airport terminal.  You arrive on one flight and you need to catch your connecting flight.  The window is defined by the space between the time of arrival and departure.  

It's like this in business, and in life. There are always narrow windows of opportunity before the next departure, and the question is, "Will you catch this connecting flight to your next destination?"

Will your business, your team, catch the next departure?

Nokia and Blackberry missed a new departure in the evolution of smart phones. Only time will tell if they managed to board the next flight, on a trend to create a new future.

Kodak invented the digital camera, but as it suppressed the camera's development, Kodak missed its window of opportunity, and ultimately went out of business. In business and in life windows are opportunistic.

I ask you to act on these three points:

  1. You need to recognize the window of opportunity you currently face. Your first 60 days in a new executive role is a distinct window of opportunity. There are certain things you can do and create in the first 60 days that you can never ever do later. Your second year in the role is a different kind of window. Understand the window of opportunity you're in. Apply yourself to it wisely and vigorously.
  2. You always face the question of tomorrow. The question of tomorrow never goes away. Will the muscles that brought you to where you are now take you where you need to go next? You typically need new muscles. That's what Kodak missed. You do not want to be a Kodak. You want to be an Apple.
  3. The best way to discover tomorrow is to meet your opportunity today. Don't wait. By meeting your opportunity in the here and now, you create so many more options for yourself tomorrow. 
Now it's your turn. Turn the key. Ask yourself: What is the window of opportunity in front of me right now? How are you going to apply yourself to it? Help your people discover their windows of opportunity and recognize the action they need to take now.

© Aviv Shahar