We all like Shiny Objects.

We’re attracted to them. Like moths to a flame. Whenever a new product, idea, solution, or strategy comes along, we sometimes catch ourselves getting distracted and focusing a lot of our efforts towards our Shiny Object. We want to get our Shiny Object and place it into our ‘Shiny Object Repository’.

The Shiny Object can take many forms:

  • A new position.
  • A new car.
  • A strategy a competitor is using.
  • A direction recommended by friends.
  • A blog post with a ‘new’ idea.
  • A new tool (especially technology).

It can be anything. In the past, when I worked years ago in Marketing, we used to comment on how upper management would get their direction — we called it “Management by Airline Magazine”. If a CEO or President saw an interesting article on one of their flights, they would always barge into my office and exclaim, “Why aren’t we doing this?”

Some Shiny Objects are good. Some are bad. Let’s talk about the BAD Shiny Objects.

These are Objects which take our eye off our agreed-upon strategy. The ones who allow us to procrastinate. The ones who take us from our Destiny.

Why does this happen? My theory: We develop guilt about not doing everything — we are scared we are ‘not on the bandwagon’ or ‘not using the best product, strategy, or service’.

So we get distracted and jump ship.

It’s hard to discern Good Shiny Objects from Bad Shiny Objects. The best way to do it is to have a plan, a direction, and a close deadline.

The longer out you set a deadline (say 6-12 months), the more apt you are to be distracted by external Shiny Objects. I usually keep myself and my clients within a 90-day window — it’s long enough to get some meaty stuff done, but short enough to see the end game.

Don’t be like one of my past clients who, during each of our weekly sessions, would be regularly distracted by what their competitors were doing and what the ‘marketing’ sites were saying. They would be intimidated, distracted, unfocused . . . and guess what happened? They NEVER accomplished ANYTHING.

What are your Shiny Objects? How do you acknowledge them?