Forecasts are ours to interpret

Column by Michael Norton

Posted

Is it going to be partly cloudy or mostly sunny? That is one of those types of questions that is similar to, “Is the glass half full or half empty,” right?

Even with the latest and greatest technology and applied scientific facts, at the end of the day the interpretation of the forecast can be influenced by the person sharing the information or even by our own mood or attitude on the day we see or hear the prediction for the weather.

Forecasts are not just about the weather, are they? Analysts and prognosticators forecast the outcomes and productivity of everything from the stock market and individual companies to professional sporting events and even amateur or high school sporting events. Who will win, who will lose, and by how much?

In the business world, CEOs base their operational decisions on the sales forecast provided by the vice president of sales and the chief marketing officer. They anticipate revenues based on information gathered through stringent business tools and processes like Customer Relationship Management applications. Again the latest and greatest technology, however influenced by human input and emotion. You see, if the data input is based on the attitude, mood, or feeling of the person sharing the information, it becomes subjective. And in some cases this places the business at great risk due to inaccurate and confused forecasts.

So whether or not it is you or I searching for the weather forecast on our smart phone, listening for it on the radio, or watching it on television, it is really an opportunity for us to look at the day as mostly sunny, not partly cloudy. And if the business analysts and sportswriters provide us with their outlook on what will be happening with our stocks or favorite teams, it is up to us to determine how that impacts our forecast for the day. Will that news make it a partly cloudy day, or mostly sunny? Or is the forecast for 100 percent rain and a guarantee that a team will lose and a company's stock will crash?

And some of the people we see and hear on television or the radio are very passionate and convincing, wanting us to believe in their opinion or forecast. Maybe it's because “partly cloudy” attracts more attention than “mostly sunny.” When did we become comfortable, even accepting of bad news? Why do we focus on the slightest possibility of the “bad” instead of the enormous opportunity for the “good”?

There are plenty of people whose forecast is within a reasonable rate of accuracy. But who determines what is a reasonable rate of accuracy for our own forecasts and in our own lives? Are we OK with being 10 percent accurate, 50 percent accurate, or do we need the assurance of 100 percent accuracy of how our days and weeks are going to turn out? It's not just about the forecast, it's about how we perceive our personal and professional endeavors and how we prepare ourselves for the outcomes regardless if the results are what we had anticipated and forecasted, or something worse, and maybe even something much better.

What's in your forecast? Is it going to be partly cloudy or mostly sunny? Either way I would love to hear all about it at gotonorton@gmail.com. And yes, I am forecasting a better than good week.

Michael Norton, a resident of Highlands Ranch, is the former president of the Zig Ziglar organization and CEO and founder of www.candogo.com