It is that time of year again when we step back, review the happenings from the past year and set our resolutions for the new year. As you take your personal inventory, it is time to do a professional inventory as well. This will be the first of a series of discussions where we take a read at the pulse of the business and set up New Year’s resolutions.

As many as 45 percent of people admitted to creating New Year’s resolutions, with only 8 percent successfully implementing their plans. As you take stock, we want you to be part of the 8 percent that are successful. Taking an objective and realistic plan for the new year is critical to ensuring success.

Origin of New Year’s Resolutions

The ancient Babylonians are credited with being the first people to make New Year's resolutions more than 4,000 years ago. Further, they are the first to hold recorded celebrations in honor of the new year, which at that time began in mid-March when the crops were planted.

During this initial celebration, the Babylonians promised to pay their debts and return any objects they had borrowed. When followed, these promises were believed to bring good favor to them in the new year. The Romans evolved this practice to include a reflection of things to change and to set a new plan for the upcoming year, which they began on January 1.

Competing in 2020

In the resulting sequence of discussions, we will cover the fundamental topics one must consider when setting up a competitive position proposition. As you prepare to outline your position, we suggest you think through your answers to the following questions:

  1. What is your brand? Who is your customer?
  2. What is the best use of working capital?
  3. How do we deliver a high level of customer service?
  4. How do we optimize profit opportunities?
  5. How do we maintain our operations at the lowest cost?

As you take stock of your business, it is imperative to make sure the definition of success is clear, the measures of success are defined and the roadmap for success is clearly laid out for the team. Leaving this critical thinking to the team at large will result in functional optimization at the expense of the entire team. Competing in today’s world requires a tightly coordinated interaction of all functions to deliver on the increasing demands of consumers.


As you sit back this New Year’s and enjoy the college bowl season, it may be time to reflect on the old football adage that if you don’t have a single quarterback, then you have no quarterback. This is used in reference to coaches who will unite multiple people to play the role of quarterback. This adage holds true in business, where a plan cannot be driven to success when there is no single vision, voice and/or perspective to lead the team.

It is time for the coach to set the game plan, align the players and start to run the plays to ensure success. As we cross into the new year, does your business have a comprehensive plan? Are you ready for what your competitors will throw at you? Have you created a robust game plan to ensure success?

Don’t let another year go by where you repeat what you did the previous year. Take a few minutes to step back, look at the marketplace and make sure your plan will set your team up for success. Recognize the changes the game has experienced in the last few years and make sure to adjust your game plan so your business is ready to win in 2020.

About the Author
Tompkins International Staff
Tompkins International Staff