Shiny Object Syndrome

jewels as metaphor for bright shiny object syndrome

Ever played hopscotch?

I found a great metaphor for a business problem while I was hiking this morning. Not long after starting up the trail, I heard two young women behind me. They soon passed me, but stopped almost immediately, out of breath. I knew then – even though they were at least 30 years younger than I – that I would beat them to the top. Yes, they could speed up to pass me, but they could not sustain their pace, so they would stop frequently to catch their breath. And I, with a slower but more sustainable pace, would not stop at all, and end up taking less time to get to the top of the trail.

Shiny Object Syndrome

Which is what reminded me of a client who wants to change her marketing strategy almost weekly. It’s not that any of the marketing ideas my client wants to try are bad. It’s more a case of ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’. Every new marketing idea causes her to lose focus on what she started the week before. And just like the game of hopscotch playing out on the trail, it’s not the person who stops and starts who wins the race, but the one who commits to a plan (pace) they will sustain until they reach their goal.

What’s the solution to Shiny Object Syndrome?
  1. Don’t just commit to an idea. Take the extra step of committing to how much time you will give this project before evaluating whether it is a success or failure.
  2. Decide on how you will evaluate success. What will you measure?
  3. Do you need any additional resources in place before you start? Do you have the money to pay for needed resources for the duration of the project?
  4. Reevaluate the duration you set in step one. Is it realistic to to expect to see results in this time frame? Bounce your time frame and goals off a business associate, mentor or coach. Do they agree with you? Are you willing to commit to sticking with the project for this period of time? Formalize your commitment by writing your evaluation date in your calendar.
  5. Do not add any new projects unless/until the original project is running smoothly and can continue to run without interruption if a new project is added.

By taking the small extra step of committing how much time you will give each project before evaluating it’s success, your susceptibility to Shiny Object Syndrome is minimized, and your chances of reaching your goal increase dramatically.

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