Short Story: Know the goals you are trying to achieve and align every business decision with them.

Long Story: What I am seeing lately in the social and business space is nothing short of what I saw when I was working in the health space. It didn’t end well there and it won’t end well here.

Let me explain.

When I worked in the health industry there was always promise of the next ‘superfood’ (can anyone say coconut?!) or the next ‘lifestyle diet’ — think paleo.

The problem with this is that I watched people become obsessive about that one food or that one diet (hell, I did it myself!), when really it should have just been one part of a holistic lifestyle. Their attention deviated from balancing their life to obsessively integrating that one product or diet into every facet of their day.

Two inherent problems then reared their head:
1. Getting healthy went from being holistic to being about the latest miracle cure (leading to obsession and FOMO).
2. People would lose sight of their vision for health (which inevitably propelled them into a tailspin — not being able to keep up with the latest fad).

This led to disillusionment, overwhelm, confusion and an inherent distrust of the industry for a lot of people.

Return now to the actual subject matter — Digital Innovation. We are seeing the same trend.

All too often I speak with business owners and brands who are overwhelmed by the number of platforms and how they can be across them all. There is an obsession with being everywhere — quantity over quality.

Not only this but the tech evolution (or the part of it people thought wouldn’t affect them specifically) is beginning to normalise and be available to everybody — think AR, VR and AI etc.

So now we have businesses trying to be everywhere, on everything, using the latest technology and all while trying to turn a profit.

Let’s not even get started on the experts teaching on platform superiority. That’s very dangerous ground for you as a functioning businessperson to get caught up in.

So here we have the same problem as the one I encountered a few years ago packaged up in a different industry bow. Once again, I am seeing disillusionment, overwhelm, confusion and an inherent distrust of the industry for a lot of people.

Businesses are not coming up for air to get some perspective. They are grounding themselves in the detail of the platform they need to use or the tech they need to integrate.

Simply put — businesses have shifted from being goal-centric to being platform and tech centric. 

Goals are central to every business (no brainer) but often times we get caught up in the minutiae and can no longer see the outcome we were aiming for.

When you are looking at your feet it’s difficult to see the tree you are about to smash into. By getting caught up in the detail of every new tech or social platform being made available, it’s actually hard to stay nimble and adjust.

I’d like to preface what I say next with this: it’s important to stay educated and aware and I’m not arguing that.

But a lot of the time when we are unsure we spend far too much time immersing ourselves in getting educated to the point where we know too much with no practical application — this leads to massive overwhelm. Most especially because by the time the average person or business is ready to implement, the next new thing is out and we can’t keep up.

Such is the nature of innovation.

You can’t and won’t stop it.

So you need to learn how to manage the way you deal with it so you can continue to adapt and drive your business forward.

How do we do that?

Simple.

Stay visionary. Stay goal-centric.

Goals are central to every business (no brainer) but often times we get caught up in the minutiae and can no longer see the outcome we were aiming for.

When we become all about a platform because it’s the hottest thing, we forget why we are there. We have to ask ourselves, why are we on here? What value does this bring the business and how does it align us with our end goal?

When we look at tech we have to ask the same questions. How will integrating this tech enhance the business? How will it bring us closer to achieving our goals ?

Daniel Newman of Broadsuite says it this way — “We don’t use technology solutions to solve technology problems, we use technology solutions to solve business problems.”

I couldn’t have said it better. Everything we do has to circle back to what we are trying to achieve.

This is not just a post about overwhelm. I’m aware that’s a huge problem and yes, this does address that in part. But what I want you to get from this is the need to always have intention behind every business decision you make.

I had a conversation with someone this week and I asked them if they thought I should write for a certain publication. They asked me what value it would bring to me. I know, right? Heaven forbid I think of my own business goals first before bringing value to someone else.

The point here is that we have to be careful not to make decisions based on popularity, trend or misinformed advice. If you cannot validate the choice to integrate that channel or technology by genuinely tying it to an end goal, you should probably reconsider using it at all.

This doesn’t mean shelve something forever either. What it ‘does’ mean is —  use things when they make sense so they don’t cost you time or money that you cannot justify spending.

You need to be able to explain every decision within your business.

Make sure you can do that adequately.