Bright Shiny Objects

Oh, those gleaming, showy, snazzy, and glamorous new things! They tend to be the latest and greatest, if you believe the hype…the stuff that geniuses and entrepreneurs dream up. And that is what makes them so compelling, so attractive, so interesting. They are a jolt of energy with the promise of tomorrow. What’s not to like?

Warning! The tendency to go after bright shiny objects has a dark side. It even has a name: shiny object syndrome (SOS). And it can ruin your business. Why? Let me count the ways.

It distracts you and your team from your core strategy and set of planned initiatives.

Sure, it sounds like a great idea that has solid potential. But once you get into digging into the practical challenges of pursuing it and bringing it to market, the real value may not match your initial (and potentially inflated) expectations.

Let’s say a competitor introduces a new product line that gets media attention. You leap into action and demand you get a similar product to market ASAP. “Drop everything, we must respond” you said. It takes months to get a new product to market, even if everything goes incredibly well. And when you get there, the momentum of the competitor’s new product is likely fading fast. You look like a “me too” entry that was rushed along.

Our advice is to step back and assess whether there is an unmet or underserved need that is not being addressed. And, if so, is there a true opportunity to one up the competition with something that is even better (works better, tastes better, lasts longer, is a better value)? If not, or if the analysis concludes that the market opportunity is small, then you just cranked up your entire organization for not much reward.

Keeping up with the Joneses sometimes is a waste of time, and a poor use of scarce resources. In many cases, sticking with your well-conceived and strategically focused growth plan is the better answer.

It does not fit your brand, who you are, or your core values.

Entrepreneurs are idea people. They are gifted at painting a picture of what is possible. And teams are attracted to that light, they believe the story, they drink the Kool Aid.

The downside is that some creative, active minds are distractable. They thrive on what is the newest thing, the next big idea. They detest boredom. They drive their teams nuts!

Change for change’s sake is dangerous. You spent a fair amount of time and energy putting together your 2024 growth plan. You hired a bunch of talented folks to bring your vision to life, to maximize the value of your brand and your business. If it doesn’t fit—well, don’t go there.

Constant change risks burnout.

Let’s face it: productivity suffers from shifting winds, a lurch from one set of must-do priorities to another. Most successful business leaders thrive on accomplishments—getting to the finish line on important growth initiatives and seeing things through to fruition. You risk losing your best players if you have trouble staying focused. Living in chaos may be personally stimulating, but for many, it just is exhausting.

What to do.

  1. For most businesses, your vision and mission are enduring statements. They take a long time to realize fully. Lots of fruit-bearing projects tend to have the benefit of building upon each other, helping you climb that mountain. That said, it can be valuable (and affirming) to revisit your vision every so often. Where do you want to go, how big is the opportunity, and why do you believe that you can get there? Get alignment from your executive team so that you can be clear with employees and customers.
  2. Focus on the biggest growth drivers. Be brutally focused and single-minded. Some things are worth more than others. Do the big ones first and do them well. If you hit all those top priorities, then maybe you can consider the projects further down the list.
  3. Delegate execution and follow-through. Going after bright shiny objects can be a form of procrastination. It’s invigorating while getting stuff done is routine, maybe even dull for you. Give your top executives the authority and support to utilize resources wisely and finish initiatives that matter.
  4. Celebrate wins. It is motivating to all your folks to hear about successes. It affirms that your strategies are working, that you and your team can get important things done and done well. People want to be on a winning team. Let them know that they are.

At Forge, we thrive on helping clients get to the next level. We have worked with many clients at a crossroads where decisions are made with risks and implications. We stand ready to guide and debate the best path forward. And we can help advise on whether that bright shiny object has staying power.

We are here to be your partner, a member of your extended team, an objective yet vested voice. And we will always bring the conversation back to strategy. Who is your primary target audience going forward? How does your product meet and exceed their needs? What are the best ways to enhance your product portfolio? How do we maximize the market opportunity and optimize return on investment? 

Importantly, we are pragmatic, focused, and energetic. We get assignments done well, and quickly.

Take the first step to a more successful business today.

1.    Hit “LET’S TALK” to schedule a free 30-minute discussion. No pressure – we promise.
2.    We’ll provide real-world case studies showing the process in action.
3.    If we’re a fit, we finalize the details and get started!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *