There are many interesting opportunities floating around out there and all kinds of people who would love to spend time talking about them. Opportunities can be exciting, sound great, and very attractive to pursue. Interesting opportunities can be tough to turn down when they are presented to you all packaged up and shiny.

It is clear you cannot pursue every opportunity someone has decided should have your name attached to it. But when does the next interesting opportunity with lots of potential become a strategic distraction?

How about when . . .

  • Pursuing it is more about feeling good than feeling rewarded for your efforts.
  • The same opportunity has not worked in the past, and there is NOTHING to suggest something has changed this time.
  • It causes you to do a whole series of things whose benefits are not clear.
  • The results would not really matter for your organization.
  • There will not be an opportunity to expand your network.
  • Whatever is next after this opportunity is a dead end.

Okay, here is an admission.

This is my running checklist of things to watch for when there is a new opportunity because I can get too fascinated by all those interesting opportunities floating around.

I wrote out this list earlier in the week when an opportunity that looked initially problematic, then looked like it was going to work, all of a sudden didn’t . . . just as we thought when it was initially presented to us. In retrospect, it was a strategic distraction.

That’s why this is a running list.

What things do you look for when sorting through opportunities to pursue and those to avoid?  – Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your strategy and implementation efforts.

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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5 Responses to “Interesting Opportunities – 6 Ways to Identify Strategic Distractions”

  1. AlexanderG says:

    Printing this one out and posting it next to my computer.

    • Mike Brown says:

      What would you add, Alex? How do sort through things when they come your way.

      • AlexanderG says:

        Hey Mike, not sure I can add much to your list, but I’ll give you my take. I’m also approached fairly often with opportunities–my “alarms” go off when:

        * It’s clear that I’m actually being offered the “opportunity” to
        help someone else land a new client or contract by contributing my strategic
        judgment and advice to their proposal–but it’s nebulous as to whether there will be budget for my services after that contract is won.

        * The opportunity’s focus, scope and even overall mission shifts from meeting to meeting.

        * Scope Creep. The opportunity asked for ‘A’ form em in the beginning, and by the time I’m in hip deep, we’re at “Z’ in the use of my resources.

        I could go on. I don’t by any means blame anyone for reaching out to another professional or firm to achieve their goals, but it must be fair, responsible and most of all make sense for every involved.