So, 2011 is here; the tree is composting, the decorations packed away, and the ink is still wet on the New Year’s resolutions stuck to the fridge...
Rants on resolutions
17:00 | 13.01.2011
So, 2011 is here; the tree is composting, the decorations packed away, and the ink is still wet on the New Year’s resolutions stuck to the fridge.
New Year resolutions are ritualistically made and broken each year as we aim to reform ourselves into better, happier or richer people. Popular resolutions include promises to lose weight, improve our fitness, drink less, stop smoking, reduce our debts, learn a new skill, or be more charitable.
When making these resolutions most people are confident of success. Despite this, the vast majority - a whopping 80% - of New Year resolutions fail (which may be handy as they can be used again next year).
Often resolutions are too vague e.g., “I must drink less", rather than "I will not drink on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays", usually as a consequence that the resolutions were last minute ideas rather than planned goals. Often we rely on will power rather than a real need or desire to make things different, and go it alone rather than seek the appropriate help.
So how can we increase the likelihood of success?
Recognised aids include setting small measurable goals with rewards at each milestone. Some find that making their goals public and getting support from friends helps. It is also important to focus on the benefits of success – a quantifiable benefit is a far greater incentive than the mere satisfaction of a whim.
With defined, visible improvements it is also easier to measure success as one works toward the ultimate target. Finally it is important to view occasional lapses in the plan as temporary setbacks rather than failure.
It is clear that there are strong analogies with planning the development, growth and change within business. Almost all the same rules apply.
Many organisations will either have just started their new financial year or be using the next few months to prepare budgets and, in the world of ICT, the subject of outsourcing will often rear its head.
Clearly there are a lot more things to consider when outsourcing than which days to avoid a drink. To name but a few: Whether to work with one provider or several? How much to outsource? How to manage the service provider relationship? And, how to measure outsourcing as a tangible benefit?
To prevent one’s outsourcing contract going the same way as 80% of New Year resolutions, some simple guidelines apply:
• Define the reason for outsourcing at an elemental level - which parts are best retained?
• What benefits will outsourcing bring?
• What are the risks?
• How will its success be measured?
Outsourcing should rarely be viewed as a single entity (outsourcing everything is a huge and complex job), and is far more likely to succeed if tackled in manageable chunks. Don’t make the decision to use multiple vendors lightly - it is likely to increase the risks and internal management work load significantly.
Most importantly, build a relationship with a trusted partner and get the appropriate help.
Philip Gunstone, Solutions Specialist