Why is it so difficult to keep New Year resolutions and what to do to succeed?

New Year is always an optimistic time for setting out fantastic resolutions to be a new person, we commit to great goals to be a fitter, smarter, better person.

Yet so many resolutions whilst easy to make are a whole lot tougher to keep.


If someone you know has decided to go on a diet, start a keep fit programme or other great resolution but is struggling to keep up, they may be interested in some of the latest research from the Stanford Behavioural Lab. Stanford researchers have uncovered the key factors that make the difference between succeeding at behaviour change and failing to do so. You may be surprised to learn the underlying reasons why so many people struggle at changing behaviours and the simple steps you can take to be successful.

You can read their research, watch various videos and download the powerful, yet simple to use tools, from: http://captology.stanford.edu/projects/behaviordesign.html


Best wishes for a very happy and prosperous 2013. Let me know if you enjoyed the Stanford material and put it to work successfully.

Mobile Messaging Innovations

Mobile phones have long been used as a means of communicating with other individuals, first as traditional telephones, and then utilising the overwhelming popular method of text messaging. The drawback of text messaging and even telephone calls today is that these types of communication can quickly increase the user’s total cell phone bill. Many plans have limited minutes and limited text messages. New mobile technology innovation options seek to eliminate this problem while still allowing users to send text messages to one another. There are several applications that can now be used in place of text messages, but which work in essentially the same manner.

Alternatives to SMS messaging services

Meebo is one of the most popular choices for users who are looking for a mobile technology innovation that offers all the functionality of text messaging within an easy-to-use format. Meebo sends push notifications of new messages, stores the user’s chat history, and offers a desktop platform that allows conversations to move seamlessly from a mobile device to the computer. Meebo is compatible with iOS, Android and BlackBerry and is free to use. This innovative program makes it easy to connect with users on other devices as well as those on chat platforms like Windows Live Messenger, Google Talk, and more.


There are several other similar apps that provide the same basic service. Beejive and Trillian also provide platforms that are compatible with multiple smart phones and several web-based chat systems like Yahoo! Messenger. In addition, users can select a chat application with a slightly more limited scope, such as BlackBerry Messenger that offers text messaging with no character limit between users of BlackBerry devices. Google Talk has an app that allows Google users to enjoy the same chat platform on their phone that they can use through Google. Ultimately, most users will gravitate toward whatever mobile technology innovation has claimed the majority of their friends.

 Group Messaging takes Text Messaging to the Next Level

For users who want a mobile technology innovation that takes the idea of text messaging a step further, there are a variety of group messaging apps. These applications allow several members of a group to chat with one another. GroupMe connects iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Phone 7 users. Members of the chat have the option to send their location to a map of all the participants. Google+ offers group messaging as well, with push notifications so you don’t miss a thing. Google Voice allows you to send recorded voice messages or other forms of media. These platforms provide new and exciting ways for mobile users to keep in touch.

Technology Innovation – what works and doesn’t work

There is nothing more natural in business than a desire to get one’s hands on better technology. To bring in technology innovation is largely what Research and Development departments exist for. The Wall Street Journal has commented on this topic. Manufacturing industries benefit from investing in tools that deliver better precision or greater strength. Equally, companies that actually produce successful technology innovative cannot afford to be anything less than cutting-edge.

Small and medium-sized enterprises are under particular pressure to keep abreast of relevant technology innovation and then to hunt down the affordable versions. Before deciding on giving the green light to a technology innovation project in your company, certain factors merit careful scrutiny. Question to ask include:

  • Will the proposed technology innovation bring about tangible improvements to existing products and processes?
  • Can measurable added value be assured?
  • Will the new technology innovation produce a better business model for the company?
  • Is there a direct effect in terms of increase in revenue?

Creating technology innovation for its own sake is a recipe for failure, however. While there are some benefits (once costs like re-training of staff or re-configuring of premises are taken into account), the overall outcome is likely to be an empty advance. The Economist reports on this topic in an article entitled Looking for the Next Infosys.

Conversely, when products incorporating technology innovation are launched in conjunction with an improved business model, a far more fruitful outcome is achieved. This was the case when Apple made great strides in digital music listening by marrying its market-leading product the iPod with the iTunes store. Customers needed little persuasion when presented with a chance to revolutionise their own listening experience.

Similarly, companies that put price performance at the heart of their technology innovation can win over consumers, as was the case with Amazon’s Kindle.

In other words, when technology innovation is combined with offerings that get customers foaming at the mouth, it can take a company forward spectacularly.


3 guaranteed ways to fail at persuasion

At the heart of all effective organisations are employees at every level who are convinced about what they are doing and why. The challenge you face as a managers is enthusing those who work for while still letting them think for themselves. The biggest problem with persuasion as a concept is the imposition of ideas on others.



Rule One : Subtlety rather than a Sledgehammer

Never in history has the need for subtlety been greater where persuasion is concerned. Today’s individual is sophisticated enough to know when he or she is being cajoled, sold a pup or generally being taken for a mug. Particularly when dealing with peers and colleagues of equivalent rank, it is important not to initiate things by gushing over-exuberantly or using brash slogans and gaudy visuals when presenting a concept. This can put people’s backs up and can feed them material for opposing you.


Rule Two : Flexibility, not a Fixed View

Not always justly, those in leadership roles find themselves accused of a lack of sensitivity. It can be hard to spot when putting forward a proposal that you are presenting it as already writ in stone. But ownership is the very thing that you have to let go of. Just because you conceived of the plan in a certain way does not that it has the stamp of authenticity for those who are listening to you. Take the route of floating ideas, accepting other’s opinions and their alternative approaches, and you are far more likely to have cracked the persuasion nut.

Rule Three : Role suggestions out Slowly, rather than Rushing them not a Fixed View

Persuasion in Speech

Persuasion in Speech

While there are times when getting the message across instantly is important (war being an example, and Winston Churchill a great exponent of persuasion), rarely is our objective as time-critical as all that. To succeed, you need to give proposals time to gestate so that others find they are embracing and, ultimately, championing the ideas themselves.



Some Useful Additional Articles on the Topic of Persuasion

Here are some interesting articles you may enjoy and find useful:

Harvard Business Review: The Language of Persuasion


The Economist Intelligent Life: Speech, Speech by Tim de Lisle


When does a business transformation programme become necessary?

business transformation

business transformation

Going ahead with a business transformation programme isn’t always a matter choice, arrived at coolly as a result of calm reflection. More often than not, organisations are jolted into action by the pressure from altering circumstances. These may be happy ones, typical examples being the company’s launch of a significant innovation, such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire; or it may be that an upturn in price performance leads to a surge in sales volumes as happened with budget airline Easyjet.

Alternatively, a business sector, whether it be the residential property market or car manufacturing by long-established car corporations such as Ford and General Motors, undergoing a downturn can be faced with no choice. To address the collapse in business volume, they simply have to implement a full-scale business transformation.

Business Transformation Performance

Business Transformation Performance

The issue comes down to survival, that terrifying-sounding but utterly fundamental necessity.

It isn’t easy to foresee when the time to put change in train will occur.  The arrival on the scene of new competition, a big drop in market share, a shift in the public’s buying habits, among other factors, can provoke a re-think.  Another way of gauging when to institute a business transformation is when you have two thirds or more of the company’s senior managers backing change. Resistance at that point may be life threatening.
Even household names risk extinction if they remain in the old groove. A case in point is McDonalds. Its sector of the market has seen a significant collapse of late, yet the company has succeeded in reversing what seemed a terminal decline. With a newly revamped customer proposition both in terms of menu and the interior fittings of their premises, the monolithic chain is managing to generate growth against the trend. A large-scale business transformation, unwieldy as it may seem, is sometimes vital.



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