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December 30, 2009
New Year’s Resolution

 
 


The new year is a chance to start all over again.  You can leave the woes and sins of the past year behind and get a fresh start. 

The new year also means that the successes of the previous year are soon forgotten and thoughts of "what have you done for me lately?" begin to arise.

Budgets and projections are created in order to help organizations to make plans for the upcoming year. 

The sales department will evaluate each customer to determine what the potential revenue will be from each account.  The people on the operations side of the business will calculate all of the costs.  Management folks will set minimum performance and profitability standards and accounting will continue to massage the numbers until a happy medium is found and the right budget numbers miraculously appear as if though you were watching a Polaroid picture develop.

The amazing thing to me is that this entire process... with perhaps the exception of some fixed costs and long-term contracts...is really no more than an "educated guess" in the best of cases and outright fabrications in most other situations...and these carefully selected numbers are all wrong by the time February 1st arrives...

So why do organizations feel the need to create these annual budgets? 

I believe the reason lies in the innate sense that they are in total control of their own destiny whereas most times this is simply not the truth...at most companies...their future lies solely in the hands of outside forces...such as their customers buying habits or commodity prices...

Does sales really know who is going to buy their products by type, quantities, price?...Does manufacturing really know what their raw material costs and transportation costs going to be over the next 12 months?...Does management really know for sure what the productivity level will be for their staff in the coming year?...the answer to all these questions is "no"...

About the only thing posible that a company can try to effectively control are their own expenditures (and even then there are some real variances that can occur)...because they are in control of what they buy...

Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense for companies to reduce the budget time frame from a year to perhaps a quarter or better yet...three rolling months?...but this would take more time and energy perhaps...but it is rarely done in this manner...and annualize budgets are the norm in most organizations...

I believe that the same type of faulty thinking comes into play when setting personal resolutions for the new year...

Each year we make promises to ourselves about changing certain habits that we have...sometimes we write these goals down (actually a very powerful tool for setting accomplishing goals)...but alas...soon these resolutions turn into failed promises...

In my own personal experience...the first week of the new year, my local gym is filled to capacity with people trying to lose weight or get into shape... causes me to search endlessly for a parking space...but by the third week...I have no problem finding a parking whenever I need as the gym has emptied out of those who have already forsaken their year-long goal...

Perhaps if the goal wasn’t an annualized goal but rather a rolling four-week goal...then more people could stay on target...if they missed one week...no problem...a new week will start again on Monday...every week is a new start...

Another thing about setting resolutions for the new year is that a goal for an entire year seems like such a big undertaking...

Each year I tell myself that I’ll read at least 12 books in the upcoming year (not just listen to books on CD...which I do several times a month)...of course invariably...June rolls around and I find myself behind
by 4 books and then I drop the idea altogether (well...until the following January that is)...I am starting to believe that my goal should be instead to read one book a month...and each month I’ll get a fresh chance to start (and complete) my goal...

I think in a way...that Alcoholics Anonymous (or any group like AA) really understands this principle...their motto is simply "one day at a time"...and in some cases...it’s one hour at a time...  

I truly hope that all of my readers achieve all their goals for 2010...and if not...please try to  remember...there’s a new day starting in only a few hours...

Thank you very much for your continued support supporting of OptiFuse as we try to get a little better...one day at a time...


Jim Kalb
President
OptiFuse
jimk@optifuse.com

 
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