Societies around the world have long viewed the start of a New Year as a time for transformation. A time to reflect on what is and what could be, and intentionally start living the latter. Unfortunately, statistics don’t paint a pretty picture for the success of these endeavours as a staggering 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail*.
While research suggests that this rate of failure is attributable to many factors, from setting unrealistic goals to having unrealistic expectations, one of the main issues I’ve seen with this practice is prioritization (or lack thereof). As someone who has been an avid Gym-goer for decades, I inevitably see the influx of new members every year in January, only to see these numbers dwindle to a select few by the time spring hits. And the biggest reason for this, based on the many conversations I’ve had, is time management.
More specifically, most new members under-estimate the time commitment required to exercise frequently and simply tried to fit it into their existing schedules without giving anything up. And there’s the crux of the matter. Trying to do more without committing to less.
As agri-marketers, we fall into this trap all the time. Especially as new technologies, techniques and innovations permeate our world and demand time and budget that may already be spread too thin. Like the New Year’s resolutionists, we simply tack on more without taking a hard look at what we should be doing less.
While I’ve long since forgotten the book and author that the statement came from, I have always loved the concept of “for every new thing you do, try doing two less”. This extreme commitment to prioritization has shaped my efforts in both expected and unexpected ways and could do the same for you.
Firstly, by forcing yourself to commit to abandoning certain efforts every time you bring on a new one, you will become much more selective in determining which “new things” you can and should try. This will help force you out of the habit of trying things without proper due diligence on their feasibility and desired/expected impact.
Secondly, by having to commit to abandoning existing efforts when you want to bring on new ones, you will become much more diligent in the discipline of performance measurement. For example, if you do commit to stopping two existing efforts for every one new one you bring on, you’ll want to know which existing efforts are and aren’t performing as desired so that you don’t abandon something that’s working and/or keep something that isn’t.
And lastly, given both of the above, you may find as I have that you will become much better at saying no in general. That by taking a more critical and intentional approach to prioritizing your efforts, you will more naturally avoid unnecessary commitments and give up less of your time than you once did. As Steve Jobs once said “I’m actually as proud of the things I haven’t done as the things I have done. Focusing is about saying no.”.
So, as you start a New Year of agri-marketing endeavours, I wish you the greatest success, and more importantly, hope that it comes through less time and less effort than it did last year.
Partner/Group Account Director, Think Shift