New year predictions are not something I’m in the habit of making.
I personally prefer to continuously adjust my outlook, assumptions and observations throughout the year, as real life doesn’t conform to a calendar.
But this is the time of the year that industry analysts and “thought leaders” scramble to publish their New Year predictions of how the world will change over the next twelve months and what you should be doing about it (like buying their services and solutions maybe?).
If you work in a corporate environment, you may well be called upon to make a few predictions, projections or forecasts of your own in the form of sales forecasts, budget projections, revised project plans and so on.
Teams frantically attempt to shake off the post festive season blues to revisit and realign strategy, provide updates and come up with plausible
excuses reasons why things did not go to plan and how they will get them back on track. Plus of course for many, the next artificial 12 month cycle (the fiscal year) kicks off in April and plans (based on predictions and projections) need to be submitted, consolidated and goals and targets agreed before then.
I’d hate to think of how many days / weeks (years??) of my working life I’ve sat in planning / strategy / budget meetings “predicting” the next cycle - maybe you have one planned for the near future?
We all have goals, targets and KPI’s to meet and we have to get things done - that’s the very definition of work - “a task or tasks to be undertaken” according to Google.
But things seldom go to plan, do they?
There are many barriers and obstacles that get in the way of getting things done.
For example - you’re in sales. You have a healthy pipeline that should have enabled you to smash your targets but ……. the customer onboarding process is so complicated that you KNOW that even if your customer signed up today, you’re not going to hit your numbers this period. You know this, your team knows this, none of you will speak about it, you will just revise your forecast.
Maybe you’re in Customer Services and you’ve seen all the hype about Chat GPT over the festive season. You know that this new capability could totally transform the customer experience and have a healthy impact on your KPI's. You heard your competitors are already looking into implementing the technology. But, you believe the board would never sign off on experimenting with new technology as they simply don’t have a mindset that is open to “new fangled ideas”. You know this, your team knows this, none of you will speak about it, you will just revise your forecast.
Or maybe you’re the programme manager for a transformation project. Your project needs to onboard new suppliers but the procurement department has a preferred supplier list and they aren’t on it. Getting the new suppliers onboarded has already soaked up four times the resources originally budgeted and now compliance, legal and security have all come out the woodwork as part of due diligence. The supplier onboarding process should be revised. You know this, your team knows this, none of you will speak about it, you will just revise your forecast.
Perhaps you’ve read a few of the latest New Year predictions from trusted analysts and advisors and you’ve thought of a really innovative new product or service offering that could generate loads of revenue as a result of a new trend or capability. But in your company, the New Product Development department is fiercely territorial and they will dismiss any ideas with a “not invented here” attitude. In fact the last time you put forward a really great idea (that one of your competitors subsequently made a killing with), the head of NPD dismissed your proposition outright with a “seen it before, will never work here” comment. You have a great idea. You know this, your team knows this, none of you will speak about it, you will just revise your forecast.
I could go on (and on and on and on) with anecdotes from people across all levels of organisations that face the above and a whole lot more.
I said at the start that I’m not in the habit of making New Year predictions, but I “predict” that you and your team will NOT spend much (any?) time addressing these barriers and obstacles in your next planning meeting.
I call these attitudes, biases, beliefs and behaviours “Monsters and Myths”.
- Everyone, in every organisation, knows they exist.
- They cause Mayhem.
- They are never spoken about out loud.
- They survive and thrive in the shadows of an organisation causing Mayhem.
I propose that when you are called upon to make your own New Year predictions (in whatever form those might be), you resolve to identify the Monsters and Myths that get in the way of getting things done in YOUR organisation.
Quantify the Mayhem they cause (impact) and seek out the Magic (solution to the problem) required to overcome them.
"You can’t do the same today as you did yesterday and expect tomorrow to be different" (quote source unknown)
You probably already know what needs to be done. Your team (and others) know it too. You CAN conquer them and your New Year predictions will be a whole lot better for it!