I learned so much this year. As much as I desperately want 2020 to be over – and as much as I know that the restrictions of living and working during a pandemic will not miraculously disappear in 2021 – I truly value the new skills, insights, and relationships that I built this year. Capturing some of those here feels like the best use of this treasured space:
Lesson #1 – Even though it’s happening to you at the same time it’s happening to your team, you’re still the leader.
I remember the weekend after our governor declared a stay at home order in late March. While my family wrestled with what stay-at-home would look like and my weekend grocery shopping trip looked like a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie, I realized on Sunday night that my team needed to hear from me first thing Monday morning. I sent an email at 7:20 a.m. that started, “In light of the escalating news about the spread of the coronavirus, I wanted to take a minute at the start of the week to let you know that your health and safety are my first priority…”
Lesson #2 – Let go of perfectionism and pivot through the plot twists.
When my team sat down to discuss our responsibility for helping our clients and readers navigate the late spring and summer of 2020, we decided to provide free content in the form of Zoom leadership webinars and virtual panel discussions. We’d built a reputation for delivering seamless, hiccup-free, in-person content, but shifting to content that depended on technology that we didn’t have 100% control over was a leap into the abyss of vulnerability. We quickly learned that audio will not always line up with video, dogs will bark, and plot twists that we could not plan for would surely happen. We relaxed our pursuit of perfectionism and focused on delivering quality content that mattered – dogs and all.
Lesson #3 – Shift our paradigm from “When will these changes end so that we can go back to normal?” to “How can we stay perpetually curious and innovate to help our clients thrive in the 4th Industrial Revolution?”
Resistance to change runs deep. Our brains are hardwired for predictability and our organizations are designed for efficiency. But, the clients that have reached out to us for help are reckoning with the fact that the best laid plans quickly fade in a world of global pandemics and cyber attacks. The logical systems that they’ve relied on to plan and execute strategy took a gut punch in 2020. Our job now is to help our clients recognize that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is well underway and that their existence depends on not waiting for things to return to normal, but to thrive in a world that requires perpetual curiosity and innovation.
2020 also helped me learn: 1) a LOT of new recipes, 2) that dogs can develop a nasty limp if you take them walking for 30 miles a week; and 3) that I can form strong relationships with entirely new people by being physically distanced, but socially connected.
Driven by the premise that excellence is the result of aligning people, purpose and performance, Center for Executive Excellence facilitates training in leading self, leading teams and leading organizations. To learn more, subscribe to receive CEE News!