It’s conference season for me. I’ll admit, at these conferences I’m like a kid in a candy shop. It’s the new technology that gets me excited, and there are so many new developments even since last year, it’s unbelievable.
I find myself saying again and again, “oh, we could use that…” or, “our client would LOVE this…” or “can you imagine what that would do to our productivity?!?!?”
Then I say to myself…”Squirrel!”
If you have a dog, you know what I mean. When a dog is outside and sees a squirrel, it will immediately stop what it is doing to chase this critter that torments it every day through a nearby window or glass door.
It reminds me that many of these technologies could be opportunities, but without a disciplined vetting process, can quickly become distractions.
Similarly, it is so easy to get distracted in business. Whether it is new technologies, new markets or new initiatives we’ve read about in the latest business book, there are many things that can pull our attention away from the mundane, often tedious task of sticking to the plan and goals we’ve set for ourselves for the year. Let’s face it—our plan can look boring compared to all the new exciting opportunities we want to chase after.
Rarely do those squirrels materialize into real business opportunities. In many cases, they waste time and energy and can actually set a company on a path backwards. They usually require a change in direction that can cause confusion with staff, suck funds away from strategic investments and draw us away from pursuing our ideal clients. And just as those squirrels elude my dog every time, rarely do we get the satisfaction of recognizing the expected ROI from these endeavors.
So next time you get distracted by that shiny object, give the opportunity a good hard look – and make sure it fits in with your overall plan before you start chasing it.