SOS — Shiny Object Syndrome

SOS — Shiny Object Syndrome

Trade shows and conferences are by design the epicenter for all shiny things: cloud based platforms, hardware innovations, mobile applications and more — all promising to improve every aspect of a business, from communications to cash flow.

Today, business and technology move forward together faster than ever before. The challenge to us as executives, business owners and leaders is that we must constantly and consistently keep up to date with the latest breakthroughs and trends so that we can lead our business effectively.

However, the challenge doesn’t end there. We also need to choose the right solution. All new ideas are not necessarily good ideas, and we need to be careful not to let the “shiny object syndrome” direct our decisions. As leaders, it is our responsibility to guide our organization along a road map to success, and to choose the products or services that are the right fit. However, much like traditional Randall McNally maps, success can lie at the end of one of multiple paths, and this is when we must proceed with caution.

The challenge lies in ensuring we lead others to success by choosing the most efficient path. When a new and exciting idea captures our attention and imagination, we shouldn’t be led off on a tangent that could distract us from our objectives. Before choosing a new tool or service to solve an old problem, it pays to be sure that the problem actually exists and that the new tool or service will solve the problem efficiently.

When Tactics Can Threaten Strategy

The key to choosing the right path is to recognize the difference between strategy and tactic. If a strategy is the “what,” then a tactic is the “how.” The problem with many shiny new things, or tactics, is that they are not long-term solutions. It’s important to be competitive when defining a strategy, but it’s just as important to choose the right tactics that will align and drive the strategy rather than hinder its progress by diluting your efforts.

We are possibly most at risk of SOS when we have hit a crossroad or roadblock in our strategy. When the tactics we are using to execute our strategy are not producing expected or optimum results, the temptation can be strong to change course completely.

Frustration, stress, and the onslaught of shiny new objects can make us vulnerable and unsure of what to do next. Did we make the right decision? Should we look at another idea? Should we sign up for the new product we just saw at a booth, or the email in our inbox? Instead of making hasty and risky decisions, we should take a breath, weigh all options, and ask ourselves how this tactic will help us execute our strategy.

Choosing the Right Path Without SOS Distractions

We shouldn’t just make sure we choose the best solution to achieve our strategic objectives, but also avoid jumping on every new and exciting new tool or product that is released. We must to explore our options, but we must do so in such a way that exploration is productive, focused and not a distraction from what we are already doing.

By focusing on one thing at a time, it is easier to define what works and to tweak or discard what doesn’t. By setting goals, planning our day and removing distractions, we can pick winning solutions without threatening progress or wasting money.