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New Year Resolutions? HELP!

It’s January 2013, and yet again a large number of us will have made New Year Resolutions.  We optimistically set a goal for the coming 12 months.  However as a 2007 study involving 3,000 people showed, 88% of us are doomed to fail, ouch.

The classic New Year resolution must be I’m going to get fit and lose weight. We’ll join a gym, be seduced by the vision of an ‘improved me’, pay the membership fee and commit to pay a monthly fee for the rest of the year.  In many cases by 31 December 2013 we will have paid in excess of £500 for one swim, a couple of gym visits, or simply several evenings in the coffee shop drinking expensive health drinks.  Value for money indeed!   By the end of the year we’ve ‘invested’ money to try to achieve our goal, but not the most important thing, time and effort.  The result is?  Well, failure to achieve our goal.

Why does this happen?  When we join the gym we are assessed for our general fitness and given a plan of exercises to perform.  But we often see little or no change in that waistline after a week or two of effort and so we reduce our level of effort or we just give up going. 

So what is the answer? Perhaps it’s smaller, more realistic, measurable, achievable goals.  Lose perhaps a pound a week?  A monthly test that can show us clearly in black and white that our cardiovascular fitness has improved by a small percentage? Taking small steps that when added together help us to achieve our goal, that vision of a new ‘improved me’. 

Back to business, can we use this analogy in the migration of a payment system?  We think about it, invest time and money in an RFI, eagerly review the completed documents and then often do nothing.  None of the solutions seem perfect, it all appears too difficult and complex, does our current system really need changing?  After all, it’s doing the job; we’re OK as we are.  It is often easier to spend a little more money for no real gain rather than take the decision to make a significant change and pursue our improvement goal. 

So that first gym assessment; this is the equivalent of testing your current system, seeing what it is capable of doing.  The Goal has to be to improve performance or add new functionality.   If you start by getting an accurate picture of your payment system capabilities with effective testing you are then able to set achievable short term goals.  Once you have the test packs these can be used to measure the success and compatibility of a new system.  Providing these to the vendors to allow them to prove their systems will give you the benefits you are looking for and meet your goals.  In this way you become the instructor clearly telling potential vendors what you expect them to achieve and take back control.

Cycling is my passion, so obviously last year I found the British cycling team an inspiration.  Their success was built on “the aggregation of marginal gains” - how small improvements in a number of different aspects of what we do can have a huge impact to the overall performance.  In order to achieve marginal gains, every aspect has to be tested and re-tested with new goals being set after every success.  So NEVER underestimate the power of testing.

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Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 05 February, 2013, 12:52Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

If you cycled out there in that weather, you have already accomplished your New Year's resolution in my humble opinion ...