So, another year is ahead and we are all feeling refreshed and full of good intent with new year’s resolutions a-plenty. Ok, hands up any of you who have already broken their New Year’s resolutions? The record goes to a good friend of mine who, in under 11 hours, broke theirs by drinking a latte and smashing down a greasy burger on New Year’s day having previously committed to a dairy-free, low fat eating plan for 2016. Due to anonymity clauses in our friendship, names have been withheld on this occasion.
The issue with resolutions (or New Year’s Revolutions as stated by my 9-year-old) could probably be better served with us focusing on the concept known as stimulus–gap–response. This process is all about allowing time for the impact of the stimulus to subside before responding. I mean, let’s be honest, who hasn’t gestured at a bad driver cutting you off, or sent an irate text to someone. With the wonders of technology and the immediacy we operate within, it is hardly surprising the number of faux-pas that are made when emailing or texting. Let’s consider poor Minister Peter Dutton who unfortunately wrote an expletive text about a particular journalist only to send it to the journalist herself!
We have become all too accustomed as a society of not having to wait for anything. I even find myself rolling my eyes when my PC takes longer than intended to start in the morning. On reflection, if I got started half as fast as my PC did, I would be a very productive person… Coffee is my electricity!
Sadly these issues are migrating more and more to the workplace. Instead of an outburst between two people confined to just that event, we now have the good fortune of posting on social media or sending a text to multiple persons. The instantaneous access to a wider audience comes at a price and our own inability to stop, breath and – god forbid – think, is all it can take between a great response and a public relations nightmare… poor Peter! This is the concept of the stimulus–gap–response. The wider the gap, the less emotive the response. My golden rule is any email that incites a response in me that perhaps would not be so warming to the intended recipient, then I leave responding until later. The greater the emotive response the greater the gap.
My advice fellow resolution makers, is don’t focus the beginning of this year on the typical losing weight or becoming more fit (although admittedly these are all good) but rather check your stimulus versus response. And for all my UK friends and colleagues (said in the best/worst English accent): “Mind the gap, please”!!!