5 min read

The Dangers Of Shiny Things

Feb 21, 2020 6:30:00 AM

Today we’re sharing insight from guest blogger Ben Berman, Certified EOS Implementer. We hope you enjoy Ben’s wisdom and perspective.

The Dangers Of Shiny Things - BlogThere’s a term to describe tempting opportunities outside of an organization’s core competencies: “Shiny Things.” 

Like sparkling diamonds or the flashing lights of fame, these opportunities beckon. Shiny things lure even the most rational leadership teams into poor strategic choices with real implications. When confronted with a new opportunity -- a shiny thing -- you’ll need to ask if it is a “core” or is it a “lure”

Let me illustrate by sharing an experience I had with a company implementing EOS® whose leader is an excitable, passionate Visionary.

Killing It In Your Niche

As fine art publishers, this particular client specialized in licensed fine art featuring many characters that would be recognized by virtually anyone on the planet. 

If you are having trouble picturing their products, they specialized in a mix of nostalgia and mastery. Imagine an original painting of Mickey Mouse that retails for more than $10,000. 

This company had accurately captured its niche: fun, contemporary art that featured characters even casual fans loved. With a tight focus, the company was extremely profitable and sales growth was steady year-to-year.

When Shiny Dollar Signs Come Calling

The Visionary leader loved classic art and dreamed of the appeal of selling Picasso, Andy Warhol, and other recognizable “traditional” fine artists. Consider why this seemed so exciting to him for a moment... 

There are many pieces of classic fine art that fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars at once. Big dollar sales numbers are always tempting, especially to a thriving business at the lower end of a market. More money coming out of less work (in theory) sounds great!

On that note, the company figured if they could sell their core art so well, they could sell classic art at high prices, too. So the leadership team went for the shiny thing. As they considered a move into classic art sales, the dollar signs sparkled right in front of them.

It is important to note this slight change of direction. They did not abandon their core entirely. Prior to this point, EOS implementation enabled the company to focus 100% of their marketing materials around their central brand. They had graduated from working on achieving traction and were independent at this point.

Few business operators would be stupid enough to abandon a successful track entirely. To sell classic art, however, they made a change. 

A portion of the company’s marketing materials adopted a more classic style, away from the fun, casual brand they had worked so hard to develop.

Their meetings began to push the new art more and more. The sales staff got daily reminders to focus on this new project straight from the Visionary’s playbook. After all, they reasoned, those prices were so high that even a few sales would make up for a slight dip in the core.

When You Stretch To Make Shiny Things Fit

Here’s what happened next...

They alienated their loyal base, entered a saturated market where they could not compete with the established galleries on branding, and spent a lot of money only to lose sales. Employees were disappointed and the Visionary was aghast. 

What’s The Risk?

Your next “shiny object” project’s results may not be so catastrophic, but even a modest step in the wrong direction can be frustrating.

Whether it is a sexy deal, a product pivot, or even just a new brand initiative, a pursuit of shiny things can hurt your business.


This content was written and shared by Ben Berman. It was previously posted on EOSWorldwide.com on December 26, 2019.

Ben BermanAfter starting his first company at only 14, Ben has spent almost his whole life diving deeper into the mechanics of entrepreneurship. Despite some early success in selling a logistics company he founded after only 18 months of rapid scale, he craved to understand what drove success in a business on a predictable, repeatable scale. That is when he first encountered EOS.

Ben next became the VP of Growth at an early-stage company, helping take the team from ten people and $300,000 in annual revenue to 117 people and $3.3+ million in just three years. The company, which continues to grow using the processes and best practices Ben instituted, currently has over 200 employees and $12+ million in annual revenue.

After setting that company on the right path, Benjamin accepted a role as the leader of a fine art publishing company with worldwide operations. In this position, Ben again used EOS to fix a toxic culture, align the team around a clear vision, and drive growth and profits that the decades-old company had not experienced in its entire history.

After seeing the power of EOS to add rocket fuel to businesses on the right track and help leaders regain control of those that are not, Ben was invited to put his energy and experience to good use in helping others utilize EOS for exceptional results. He has devoted his life to helping people do exactly that.

Connect with Ben via LinkedIn and the Optimize For Growth (O4G) website.

Topics: Executive

Written by Gibson

Gibson is a team of risk management and employee benefits professionals with a passion for helping leaders look beyond what others see and get to the proactive side of insurance. As an employee-owned company, Gibson is driven by close relationships with their clients, employees, and the communities they serve. The first Gibson office opened in 1933 in Northern Indiana, and as the company’s reach grew, so did their team. Today, Gibson serves clients across the country from offices in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Utah.