Is ‘new shiny object syndrome’ stopping your business growing?

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If there is one thing every successful business owner does – it is get (and stay) focused. Whether that’s focus on the long-term vision, short-term strategy or single task – focus is what is required to get the task done.

Yet why do so many business owners/leaders get seduced by a new shiny idea – which often leads them to abandon their current strategy, take a U-turn and head in a different direction.  I call it the ‘new shiny object’ syndrome, and rather facetiously talk to my clients about it – to highlight the importance of sticking to the track they are already on (unless of course there is a really strong business case for changing direction).

Shiny Object Syndrome is the tendency to get sidetracked or attracted by some new “exciting” and attractive idea. You get distracted from the bigger picture and go off in tangents instead of remaining focused on the goal and tasks that you really need to concentrate on.  You might think of a new idea for a product or service or a new market you should target – and this seems exciting and therefore takes all your focus and energy.  People who suffer from there find themselves surrounded by many incomplete projects and a frustrated business that isn’t making progress as fast as they would like.

Are you one of these people?  Do you have team members that suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome? The first step to recovery is to recognise you are doing it.  Then ask yourself:

  • Is this right for my business?
  • Does this “thing” help me reach my goal? If in doubt, go back and review your Values, Vision and strategy
  • Would this “thing” enhance the experience my clients have working with me and would they be willing to pay for it?
  • Do I have the time, resources, energy, and money to put into this to make it successful?
  • Do I have too many open projects sitting on my desk that need to be finished before I begin something new? (be honest with yourself!)
  • Do I have the ability and energy to finish this new project, plus implement and maintain it?
  • What do I have to accomplish before starting something new?

I always tell my clients that you have 3 or 4 ‘pots’ for your short-term business strategies, and you have to complete one of these before a pot becomes vacant to put a new strategy into it.  This way, it keeps the management team focused. It acknowledges the ‘shiny new object’ but it has to be assessed against the other 3 pots – is it more important or should we complete one of the other pots first?

Have you suffered from this? Let me know.


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