The Gap

Higher Resolution


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Maybe you’re not a New Year’s Resolution kind of person. Or, maybe you just need to think about the word “resolution” in a different light.

Instead of approaching a resolution the same way you did last year and the year before that, and failing just like 90% of us do with our annual resolutions, try redefining the word.

We tend to think of a resolution in traditional terms–it’s a firm decision or vow to change our behavior in order to achieve a desired outcome. Usually it involves weight or money or love. And the resolution depends on following a stringent set of guidelines. No carbs. Small portions. Tight budgets. Higher standards.

Instead of making a traditional New Year’s Resolution, why not smash the matrix? Don’t just try making a resolution. Aim for HIGH RESOLUTION. You know, like the TVs and smart phones and computer screens and video games. Bring all the important details of your life into sharper focus, so they all have greater detail.

When you really SEE the details, it makes it much easier to illuminate (or eliminate) them.

OK, so how exactly do you sharpen the details in your life and focus on what’s most important? Take a cue from some successful businesses and products from the past decade or so.

Past Blue Ribbon was born in 1844 and nearly died in the 1990s. The beer company made its own high resolution comeback by sharpening its image. In part, by placing a greater emphasis on branding just the initials PBR (as opposed to its lengthy full name), the Milwaukee brewer captured the love of abbreviation in this day and age. In 2015, PBR ranked 8th in domestic beer sales, ahead of such brands as Coors!

A few years ago, clothing retailer J. Crew was getting lost in a sea of louder Abercrombies and Hollisters and American Eagles taking over malls across America. To reboot, the company reconsidered its leadership structure and hired the recently-fired CEO of The Gap. Then…HE discovered a creative designer already working at J. Crew and turned HER loose. In their first five years together, J. Crew’s new leaders increased revenues 107%.

Marvel Comics revived its brand by taking a close look at what was killing it: paper and ink. By focusing on movie-making instead of comic-book publishing, the company was resurrected and now soars. Sometimes you have to be willing to “kill off” what’s killing you. But you have to see it clearly, then take a good hard look, before you decide to get rid of it.

The folks who run Starbucks took a close look at THEIR business. In 2008, when progress had stalled, the leaders of the coffee giant closed all 7,100 of their stores for three hours one day. They used that time to re-train their employees and make their company’s image friendlier and less corporate. They still can’t come close to matching the personal touch offered by local outfits like Utica Roasting and Daylight Donuts, but they’re trying.

Converse has had ups and downs since it dominated basketball courts in the 50s and 60s with its Chuck Taylor All-Stars model sneakers. Soon after it filed for bankruptcy in 2001, the shoe company was bought by Nike, retooled with style in mind, and has since flourished. Based on a tip I saw online, I bought personalized Cons (pictured above) for our wedding day earlier this year.

My marriage itself was a fantastic result of higher resolution for me. And note whose sneaker is on top in the picture!

So, whether it’s redesigning your body, streamlining your expenses, changing the leadership structure in your house or business, or working on your image, the first step isn’t really MAKING a resolution, as much as it is bringing HIGH RESOLUTION and focus to the areas of your life you’d like to change. When you take a close look, it becomes pretty obvious what has to change.

Dave Coombs is the morning host for “The Talk of the Town” on 100.7 FM WUTQ in Utica, New York.

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