2011 Was About Changing Your Mind

Girl looking at shoes and trying to decide2011 was about changing your mind. Radical decisions were made… and then changed.  Big decisions don’t just affect you, they affect everyone around you.  In the past these decisions were kept quiet until you were “sure.”

But not last year…

Why the change? What happened that caused this change?  Is it because:

  1. Companies are itching to “make something happen” in a down economy?
  2. Do we have management that’s lost its ability to make a decision?
  3. Are we getting to a point in business where we’re being transparent with our customers, and as a result we see what’s normally been discussed behind closed doors?

Here are a few examples to think about:

Netflix example:

In 2011 we saw Netflix change their mind.  First Netflix was going to split the business.  An announcement went out that saying they were going to take the “mail in DVD” and separate it from the “instant streaming to your device” business.  They planned on charging separately and having totally different websites to go to and charge your credit card twice.  http://blog.netflix.com/2011/09/explanation-and-some-reflections.html

This caused a huge uproar, including 5,000 comments on their blog.  One classic comment said something to the effect that, “you shouldn’t separate bread from a peanut butter and jelly sandwich because it’s a separate product… the whole is worth more than the sum of its parts.”  Netflix was smart enough to rethink the decision and they changed their minds and kept the business together.

http://blog.netflix.com/2011/10/dvds-will-be-staying-at-netflixcom.html

HP example:

HP announced it would not sell its computer business.  The new CEO had to make a decision quickly.  After looking at “the numbers” and other research, the computer business looked profitable.  So a decision was made.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/hp-were-keeping-the-pc-unit/62081?tag=nl.e539

Then HP changed its mind. The computer business was for sale.  Whether this was good decision or not, time will tell.  What is amazing is the quick change of mind, especially with all the impact a kind of decision like this would have.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203687504577002144041676680.html

Conclusion:

Part of the reason things changed and then changed back is that we’re seeing everyone respond faster to new information.  In the past updates / polls / customer feedback took longer to get and analyze.  Now it can happen with a surveymonkey.com survey sent to Facebook.

Think of how quickly you can change a reporting to management. It’s a quick modification to a spreadsheet and an e-mail saying, “things have changed.”  Or if you’re thinking ahead a little more you’re doing things like:

  • Sending hyper links to the report, allowing you to change the report without sending an update
  • Sending people to a webpage that has the changes or disclaimers of the report

Now that I think about it, maybe 2011 wasn’t about changing your mind. It was about responding to information faster.

Do you have more examples?  Think there was a different reason?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo Credit: inafrenzy

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