Last week we held our quarterly planning meeting. This time last year we met up in London, toured the Globe Theatre and enjoyed a festive dinner overlooking St Pauls Cathedral. How times have changed! As I prepared for the meeting it dawned on me that it has officially been over a year since we all met in person. We’ve since hired 4 people that I haven’t yet met in person!
There’s no doubt that this has been a year like no other. Crisis can cause chaos and uncertainty and whilst there’s a lot I would rather forget about 2020, there is also a lot of lessons I will learn.
For me personally, this year has been a blur. A fuzzy mix of all emotions which, in all honesty, has left me and the team feeling tired and ready for a break. Our tribe was already grounded into remote working practices but even for us, this year has been a challenge.
I’m heading towards the festive holiday period feeling ready to digitally disconnect and spend precious time with my family. But before that, here are my lessons and observations from 2020.
As A Service Provider: More Haste, Less Speed
In other words, you make better progress with a task if you don’t try to rush it. Many organisations rushed their transformation to digital earlier this year. They invested in tools, intensified training and pushed people to adopt new behaviours.
Whilst technology and training will get companies so far, the process of change management takes time. Embedding a new behaviour within the fabric of a sales department or company culture takes carefully orchestrated program of activities. Many organisations are now beginning to recognise that.
As A Business Owner: Navigating The Storm (with a blindfold on)
Leading Tribal Impact has been one of the most exhilarating and slightly terrifying adventures I have experienced in my career (aside from parenting!). 2020 took that experience to a whole new level. I liken it to an experience I had as a teenager on the tall ship Royalist – stuck out on a yardarm in the middle of the night as a storm blew in. Unpredictable.
There’s a lot of responsibility resting on the shoulders of leaders around the world right now – all cautiously taking steps not knowing what may happen around the corner. Do we hire or not? Do we invest or not? Do we cut budgets or not? Every decision causes a spiral of questioning and deliberation. There are a few quotes I’ve come across this year:
Not all storms come to disrupt your life. Some come to clear a path.
If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm.
There are some things you can only learn in a storm.
As A Human Being: Recognise & Monitor Mental Wellbeing
I’ve always been interested in the topic of mental health and wellbeing particularly around digitally disconnecting. This year I have experienced this first-hand. As the pandemic took hold, our tribe got very busy. We lost a couple of team members along the way and we’ve been spinning plates ever since. If there was ever a year to get a grip of my mental wellbeing, 2020 was that year.
According to the NHS, there are 5 things to support wellbeing, all of which I consciously tried to do.
- Connecting with others – we reignited a Norwegian tradition to go walking on Sundays. We’ve discovered several stunning routes so close to our front door!
- Be physically active - I've always gone to the gym but with lockdown I needed an alternative. I've taken up cycling and running local routes taking photos along the way
- Learn new skills – I’ve rediscovered my love of cooking and baking. I’ve often been too busy but I’ve learned the importance of when to eat carbs versus protein!
- Give to others – 2020 has brought the best out in many, offering to support neighbours and communities. I’ve realised the most valuable gift I can offer is my time for others.
- Pay attention to the present moment – I’ve been journaling since January. I bought the journal in 2019, manged two entries and forgot so started over again this year – every day!
The natural demarcation of the days disappeared – no school runs or clubs to guide and compartmentalise my day. Everything blended into one long working day.
Mental wellbeing is still a work-in-progress for me but I’ve certainly felt the impact, as I’m sure many have, and have realised it needs to be taken seriously and managed. You can’t leave it to chance.
As A Parent: See The World Through The Eyes Of Kids
Finally, the biggest lesson I’ve learned this year is from my three girls. Explaining a pandemic to young children isn’t easy. One minute they’re in school, the next they’re not. However, I watched them adapt to lockdown with excitement, not fear. Their resilience was something to be admired.
- They dropped into the home-schooling routine from day one.
- They opened their own Costa Coffee and served us drinks each day.
- They started making dinner for us once a week.
- They figured out how to bake cakes – that’s my job!
- They love PowerPoint (especially the icons and images)
- They took an interest in my work (and even appeared on a LinkedIn Live)
Their curiosity fascinates me and if there’s any reflection to embrace from 2020, it’s to see the world more through the eyes of my kids.