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VOL. 37 | NO. 41 | Friday, October 11, 2013

Entrepreneurs: Beware of shiny object syndrome

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The very quality that defines some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs is the downfall of many.

How’s that for irony?

The Harvard Business Review reports that most serial entrepreneurs display several common traits: persuasion, leadership, personal accountability, interpersonal skills and goal orientation.

Likewise, there are several vital skills necessary for long-term success that many lack.

One such skill is the ability to organize, plan and stick with that plan.

Entrepreneurs are practically defined by their desire to continuously improve, whether it be products, processes, sales strategies or marketing approach.

As serial innovators, most thrive on change. It’s certainly not a detriment.

To the contrary, most successful people rely on change to improve their effectiveness and stay a step ahead of their competitors.

But the desire for change, unchecked, can result in Shiny Object Syndrome – the desire for change for change’s sake alone.

You might be suffering from Shiny Object Syndrome if:

A mere month or two into executing a well-thought-out, 12-month plan, you’re itching to veer from the course.

You’re always one of the first to invest time in the latest, trendiest social media channel – before there’s nearly enough critical mass for it to be worth your while.

You’ll easily abandon proven strategies that generate a positive, measurable return in favor of new ideas that “might do better.”

You are known for executing “one-off” marketing strategies – a sponsorship here, an ad there – but nothing with enough frequency for the market to remember you.

Your staff feels like they can never complete a project for all of the directional changes.

Your employees saw the Pixar movie “Up,” and all thought of you – “Squirrel!” (Unsure? Ask your friends.)

If this is you, don’t despair. Awareness is the first step in the path to improvement.

Begin by surrounding yourself with a management team or advisors with planning skills and a sense of stick-to-itiveness.

Be an active participant in the development of your company’s sales and marketing plan, using that innate creativity to offer new ideas for the group to vet.

In the end, however, when that plan is crafted and you’ve signed off, step out of the way and allow your team to execute. Avoid the temptation to micromanage or derail.

Allow them to do what you’ve hired them to do, while holding them accountable.

In fact, agree on how you will define success, very specifically, in the plan.

If success metrics are being achieved, give yourself and your team a pat on the back for sticking to your plan and then allow them to continue without interference.

By settling back and placing trust in your team and the strategy you’ve put into place, you’ll realize greater results.

Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and managing partner of RedRover Sales & Marketing, www.redrovercompany.com, with offices in Memphis and Nashville. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).

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