Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 28th 2016 Contents JANUARY 28 • 2016 www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | BG13
Whenever the subject
of new year s reso-
lutions comes up,
my mother, Eve,
laughingly loves to
remind people that
as a child I used to talk about my "new year s
revolutions." While my malapropisms are usu-
ally way off base, I have to defend that one
because it turned out to be somewhat prophet-
ic.Let s face it, making a meaningful resolution
and sticking to it for an entire year can require
a minor revolution in the way you think and
act. In fact, by the time you read this, chances
are pretty good that you ve already cheated,
and maybe even forgotten about, your well-
intended resolutions for 2016. But don t worry,
you re not alone.
According to the University of Scranton s
Journal of Clinical Psychology, up to 29 per
cent of people who make resolutions go back
to their bad habits by the second week of Jan-
Unsurprisingly, surveys have found that the
most popular new year s resolutions are to
lose weight and exercise more. My family has
a long-standing tradition of swearing off alco-
hol for the month of January. I m happy to
report that this is one resolution that we man-
age to come through on and often lose a couple
of pounds and feel healthier in the process.
(A friend of mine does the same thing, except
he doesn t drink in February, since the month
is usually three days shorter).
Other popular resolutions include resolving
to spend less money or to get better organised.
Some people prefer resolutions that involve
more complex challenges.
For instance, Facebook s Mark Zuckerberg
resolved in 2011 that he would only eat meat
from animals that he had killed.
This year, he is going to try to run 365 miles
and to build an artificial intelligence system
that can control his home. He said on Facebook
earlier this month that he intended to build
a tool that understands his voice, uses facial
recognition technology to let guests into his
home and allows him to listen in on his baby
daughter, Max, when he s not around. I only
wonder if Zuckerberg fully appreciates how
much that baby is going to change his life
with or without an AI s help.
Businesses age in many of the same ways
people do. When they re young, cute and ener-
getic, they get away with all kinds of things
for which they won t be forgiven later in life.
As teenagers, they get a bit too cocky and
think they know it all.
Later, businesses can get set in their ways,
and the drive to carry on as usual can begin
to take precedence over innovation: laurels
get rested upon, energy levels fall and they
start to spread at the waist (and waste) lines.
This means that the smartest new year s
resolutions business owners can make on
behalf of their teams are similar to the most
popular individual resolutions.
• Get organised: The word "organisation"
implies, well, organisation! Are you making
maximum use of new technology? Are you
also meeting with your workers to get their
feedback, and do you act on their suggestions?
A new year s reality check might be in order.
• Spend less/save more: Challenge your
people to come up with cost efficiencies that
go beyond their budget lines. As my dear Scot-
tish wife loves to remind me: small savings
can quickly add up to large amounts of money.
At companies like Amazon, Costco and Wal-
Mart, this thinking is at the core of every strat-
egy. Make it part of yours.
• Exercise more: This is one that definitely
pays off for the individual as well as the busi-
ness. Everyone functions better when they re
in good physical shape. If you re in a leadership
role, then lead by example and commit to
exercising every day.
Also, look into what the company can do
to encourage employees to take care of their
physical well-being. Interdepartmental team
contests are a good way to make exercise fun
and competitive: total pounds lost, miles
walked or run, whatever works. Just make sure
that the reward is not pizza for everyone!
Even though we re nearing the end of Jan-
uary, and you ve already given up on your per-
sonal resolutions, why not try reapplying them
to your business? After all, it s never too late
to start a revolution.
(Richard Branson is the founder of the
Virgin Group and companies such as Virgin
Atlantic, Virgin America, Virgin Mobile and
Virgin Active. He maintains a blog at
can follow him on Twitter at
twitter.com/richardbranson. To learn more
about the Virgin Group: www.virgin.com.)
(Questions from readers will be answered
in future columns. Please send them to
RichardBranson@nytimes.com. Please include
your name, country, e-mail address and the
name of the Web site or publication where
you read the column.)
New Year's revolution
and your business
Challenges for the New Year
Now that we're a few weeks into 2016,
make sure that you're not only setting up reso-
lutions for yourself, but for your business as
well. When coming up with goals for the new
year, start by asking yourself these questions:
• Are you seeking cost efficiencies in places
where you least expect them?
• Are you using new technologies to their
• Are you getting an adequate amount of
feedback from your workers? Do you act on
• Are you committed to living a healthy life
by exercising and setting an example for your
Links Archive January 27th 2016 January 29th 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page