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“A Black Swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random”

The Black Swan’s author Nassim Nicholas Taleb states that Google and the September 11 attacks were Black Swans.  Taleb also tells us “Black Swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our personal lives”.

I first read this book in 2007.  Taleb contends that banks are very vulnerable to hazardous Black Swan Events and are exposed to losses beyond that predicted by their models.

So what’s the latest Black Swan to hit our world over the past 18 months?  

Yep, the economy tanked.  (Does Taleb, in fact, have a crystal ball?)

Were YOU prepared for that Black Swan Event?  How did it impact your life and the lives of your friends and families?

How did your company react?  Downsized?  Restructured? Bought-out?

Was it done efficiently?  

For most of you, I’m assuming the answer is “NO”.
Let’s break it down even more.  If you’re in the business of ‘selling’ and I don’t really care what you sell, did you protect the internal alignment of your organization throughout the restructuring initiatives so that sales people could still spend the majority of their time selling (instead of running round like headless chickens trying to support their customer).

Most companies cut headcount to cut costs.

The domino effect of cutting headcount in one part of your organization needs to be realized.  If you take away a function integral to selling, you will not sell as much.  Simple as that.

We need to be smart about this. One of the most important things that will enable ‘sales’ is customer loyalty.  If, by virtue of restructuring, you reduce the amount of time a sales person is productive in the eyes of the customer, you will damage your revenue stream.

Businesses transform with or without a Black Swan Event.  The point is, involve the sales organization in the transformation.  Don’t let your customers pick up the phone one day and find that they have been outsourced to India.  

They are your frontline.  They are the customer advocates.  To all Change Managers out there: ….. Include your sales organization.

I can help.  I ensure internal alignment that will protect your sales organization and ultimately protect your customers.

None of us know when the next Black Swan Event will hit, but let’s get our organization in the best shape we can now, let us hum like well-oiled machines that drive revenue, profit and customer satisfaction.  Let us do this by embracing our sales organizations to make them stronger and more successful.   In turn we will all be successful and we will be prepared for future growth.


Claire Broome
President & Chief Sales Enabler
Complectus Consulting, LLC
E: claire.broome@complectusconsulting.com
T: 404-556-7023

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Claire, I suggest that the "Black Swan" and the "Blue Bird" are related - probably first cousins.

Many of us "matured" during the Industrial Era that has existed during most of the 20th century. It was predicated on understanding cause and effect and the ability to intentionally replicate outputs.

As we apply Industrial Era "thinking" to Knowledge Era matters - we may or may not come up with effective solutions - I think it is still too early to tell. One characteristic of this "thinking" might be to Industrialize it (i.e. concoct an explanation.) We may concoct explanations for the positive "Black Swans" that relate to our hard work and intelligence. For the negative "Black Swans" we may bemoan our inability to "play office politics" or question the ethics of our opponent.

I am fond of quoting expressions like - "The harder I work - the luckier I get" or "Luck can be defined as a chance meeting of preparation and opportunity" and "It's better to be lucky than smart."

My bottom line: In the Knowledge Era it will be essential to be known, to be authentic and to be transparent - and therefore our thinking processes and the value we create will be a result of effectively reacting to the "Black Swan" of the moment - every moment.

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