It’s ok to ignore things.

I often help clients decide what ideas they need to ignore.

They usually already know they should ignore them, but they waver because they worry about missing opportunities.

This is a leadership tension. When should you pivot to an opportunity that arises? When should you stay the course with your plan?

Here are a few insights that can help you decide:

(1) The opportunity cost isn’t worth the pivot.

Are you shifting resources including staff from one proven initiative to something that’s medium to high risk? If you don’t have additional capacity to tackle the opportunity, it’s best not tackled. Budget for it next year.

(2) You are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. 

Some opportunities are made for an organization’s brand. Others, not so much. An organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger partnering with celebrity chefs makes total sense. A  conservation organization partnering with a cruise line doesn’t. Hold every opportunity up to your brand standard.

Further, an international relief group renowned for its photography may want to connect with supporters via Instagram. A policy shop that has photo assets primarily consisting of meetings and buildings, probably not.

(3) Can you measure the impact?

If you don’t know what success looks like and can’t measure it, ignore it.

(4) Is there an internal political reason to do it? 

Let’s face it. Sometimes we do things simply because the executive director wants us to do them. If that’s the case, you probably can’t ignore it. But put mechanisms in place to show clearly how much effort your team is putting into the project.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a start.

What idea will you ignore today?