In today’s world, there are lots of distractions. These distractions can take you off on a tangent surfing the web that lasts for hours. They can send you into stores you never intended to shop in. But in business, they can cost you precious time and resources working on things that don’t really fit into the course you have charted for yourself and your company. In my family, we call these distractions “chickens”.

Okay so I know that sounds crazy but bear with me. When my daughter was little we started using the phrase, “Oh look, there’s a chicken”. So here is the scenario. You are walking along on your way somewhere and suddenly someone has gone off on a tangent because they saw something interesting. Now you must redirect them to get back on track. We call that something interesting a “chicken”. It just as if the person was super focused and then saw a chicken walk by off to the side in a place a chicken wouldn’t normally be. Of course, they would exclaim, “Oh look, there’s a chicken!”

Now translate that to your business. You are moving along the course you have set to achieve your goals. You are focused on what needs to be done and where you want to go. Then someone gives you a “great idea” and off you go in that direction. The problem is that you are distracted by the “great idea” or “the chicken” so to speak and you don’t stop to assess if it will fit into your course. And most of the time that lack of evaluation can lead to a lot of wasted time and resources on “great ideas” that don’t really fit what you are trying to do.

Okay, but how do you avoid “chickens” and still not miss out on the ideas that truly are great for your business and what you are trying to do? Here are a few questions to ask that will help you stop and evaluate each idea. I’m not talking about detailed analysis just some simple questions.

  • Does the “great idea” fit into my current business model?

    • If yes, how?
    • If no, do I still believe in the model and course I have set? If you do move on from the “great idea” it isn’t great for you. If not, then step back and see where you would make changes. Most of the time the answer will be to move on.
  • Is the idea close to being great for me? If so, how can I tweak the idea to fit my course?
  • Do I know someone else who the idea would be “great” for? If so, share it with them. You don’t lose anything by providing someone in your network with an opportunity. Because next time they might have an opportunity that is truly “great” for you.

Stay on course and remember that sometimes that idea someone had is a “great” one, for someone else, and most of the time it is just a “chicken” for you.

By: Amy Matthews, CEO, AMI