Resolutions, predictions and.... reality
It is a sobering fact that fewer than 10% of New Year resolutions are kept for the entire year. In fact most are actually ‘toast’ by Valentine’s Day according to the USA publication Money Matters. It remains to be seen whether Mark Zuckerberg’s pledge to read a book every fortnight and discuss each with his web followers will prove more successful than those of the population at large.
Whilst many of us are focused on detoxing our bodies after the predictable annual binge, some have instead decided to opt for a digital detox in recognition of a need to reconnect with the real world. When we consider that many of us are engrossed on smartphones and tablets for more hours than we sleep (Ofcom link) then this particular type of detox seems like a sensible move.
New Year is also about predictions, but how good are we at this? Well known faux pas include Margaret Thatcher’s famous quote that there wouldn’t be a woman Prime Minister; certainly in her lifetime. Few pollsters are brave enough to predict the outcome of the forthcoming general election given the huge uncertainty amongst the voting population -perhaps a sign that the politicians have lost touch in terms of getting their voices heard and believed.
Predictions based on sound data and accurate trends stand more chance of success however; it seems a safe bet that despite our desires to be freed from digital domination, the increase in our use of smartphones and tablets is irreversible. According to the Telegraph, the UK may have been a late adopter of the “phablet” (a cross between a phone and a tablet with a screen more than 5in diagonally), but our obsession is set to continue well into next year and beyond. While once the trend was for phones as small as possible, in 2015 they will be larger, thinner, lighter and more powerful than ever. By the end of next year, a handset will have the functionality of a digital wallet, 4K TV, e-reader, laptop, remote control and many more devices, all in one phone.
Why do so many resolutions fall by the wayside, and why do we fail to predict many really outstanding things, like the iPhone revolution? History is littered with examples of innovation which no one ever predicted, possibly because we simply don’t know what we don’t know, and of course hindsight is a wonderful thing. It's easier to answer the first question however, as the remedies are largely within our grasp.
Whilst a set of weighing scales or a tighter waistband provides the reality to prompt a healthy resolution in individuals; it’s more difficult to pin down an absolute reality in organisations. At this level we depend on shared and agreed beliefs about the reality of our status quo. Depending on how we measure success, will determine how close to reality we are with our starting ‘weight’ and no amount of spin will overcome a false starting point. Ultimately customers will decide their version of the truth by the decisions they make and the paths they choose, made all the more simple by more choice.
So perhaps a simple remedy to being more successful with our resolutions and predictions for 2015 is to dig deep to uncover how we are actually performing, through the lenses of those who matter, and remain open to the possibility that one person’s perception is another’s reality. Who knows we could uncover loads of hidden strengths to get us all off to a flying start, perhaps we are actually a few pounds lighter once we step on the scales!