Help For the Shiny-Object-Syndrome Afflicted Leader

High-performance leaders and entrepreneurs often have a kind of unbridled optimism about what can be accomplished. Entrepreneurs also have a tendency to be distractible, always chasing the next shiny object. This can erode our ability to get things done.

Status-quo-phobia, the fear of things not changing, makes most entrepreneurs and many leaders pretty anxious when things don’t seem to be happening fast enough. They’ve already visualized the activity at hand, and they understand the strategy. This makes it hard to accept the inability of their followers to grasp the idea, much less execute it.

Then we get restless and start something new. I’ve noticed in my own career, and with a lot of people I’ve coached, there is a tendency to dig lots of shallow holes without really accomplishing any one thing. We generate all this furious activity, but it has precious little impact on the ground. This can be very demoralizing for your team.

Taki Moore, one of the best coaches I know, has a solution to the problems created by these entrepreneurial traits. (He credits his friend Clay Collins for the idea.)

The 5 Ones:

One vision The leader of any enterprise must be able to articulate the state that the company or organization will be in a year from now. The more specific the leader can be about where they are going, the better.

One number It’s important that we tie the vision to a specific metric that everyone on the team is aware of. The more real it is, the more motivating, for both the leader and the team.

One market Many organizations have several different audiences or customers. For an initiative to have an especially sharp edge and to be particularly effective, it’s better to focus on one market. This doesn’t mean there aren’t multiple initiatives going on with multiple teams, but the more focused a discreet group of people are, the better the results will be.

One process Focus on one approach to interacting with the target market. I stress this because it takes time for an entire team to really master the execution of a process. An example that applies to a number of agencies I work with has to do with identifying and winning new clients; the process may be a specific social media strategy intended to make contact and develop relationships with a very specific audience.

One year This is the most difficult and the most important of all. One of the most frustrating things we do to our teams and organizations is to give up before a process has had a chance to work. For the overly optimistic, distractible, status-quo-phobic leader, a year is a really long time. To even consider investing a year of time in perfecting a given marketing or operational strategy may seem ridiculous, yet my experience is that most processes worth their salt really do require a year to be fully vetted. This doesn’t mean during that year there won’t be fine tuning and adjustments, but the tendency is to abandon a process or initiative way before the year is up. Committing to invest that year really makes a difference.

The 5 Ones method is great for people like me. It forces me to slow down and focus with clear intentions rather than chasing every squirrel that goes by. If you’d like to talk about how to apply this method to your business, send an email to and we can set up a time to talk.



photo credit: Ole Petter Rust Photography Little Big via photopin (license)