How To Avoid The New-Idea Trap
More technology. More suppliers. More products and services. More social media tools. More business tools.
New opportunities to improve our bottom-line performance are constantly “raining down” on us these days, making it a challenge to decide which to seriously consider and which to just let slide by.
Here are four skills that standout leaders use to successfully deal with the seemingly unlimited number of “potentially amazing” things that come their way.
1. They have a game plan for their business. Your game plan represents the CONTEXT for evaluating the new stuff that comes along. Think about your game plan as your touchstone from which you determine which new options you should consider. For example, a new digital technology will make sense to consider only if it is a better fit to achieve the revenue growth targets in your game plan than the technology you currently use.
2. They avoid “the chase” activity trap. It’s real easy to get caught up in running down every new thing that people present to you. And the chase never ends because there is ALWAYS something new being thrown at you. It’s not about what cool things the new stuff can do. It IS about how the new stuff fits your game plan and how it can better enable you to execute it. Let the dogs chase the cars. YOU thoughtfully sift through “the new” using your game plan as the criterion for applying your resources to evaluating new possibilities.
3. They set priorities for looking at “the new.” Remember, this evaluation activity will disrupt your focus on executing your game plan, so you have to be very careful not to waste precious time and effort. Pick no more than three “new” possibilities; rank them in order of positive potential impact and have a go at number one. And decide what you are going to give up if you take on something new. “Piling on” new work on top of existing work will drag you down and prevent you from achieving your goals.
4. They put the stop watch on new evaluations. If you don’t, evaluations could go on and on and on and on; “creeping incrementalism” in my words. And you may never make a decision as a result. The objective is to BE QUICK in your assessments, so you can then move on to the integration and execution phase. I have seen people on “the chase” with NO stop watch that NEVER returned to their game plan. They disappeared in “the new” analysis do-loop and never got out of it.
New stuff is potentially dangerous. It can take your eye of the ball. It can distract you from execution. And it can gobble up your precious resources of time and money.
Be disciplined in how you handle it.
You don’t have to chase everything that comes your way like many do.
It’s ok to pass up new sexy stuff that isn’t a fit for you.
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