2021 | Nimbleness, Focus And Humility
Without a doubt 2020 revealed that we as business leaders are committed, creative, resilient and flexible.
We’ve proven that we can do anything we put our minds to, are built to last, and willing to rethink plans, pivot strategies, and do whatever it takes to achieve goals and continue serving customers—even in the midst of a pandemic.
The one challenge is this – there’s no crystal ball that can provide any confidence in what tomorrow holds. Regardless of your industry, personal circumstance or geographical location in the world – you can be sure that COVID-19 vaccine roll-outs, politics at large, employment rates and consumer buying trends are, and will be, in continual states of flux. And that these will continue to evolve more rapidly on daily, weekly and monthly timelines – as opposed to our more familiar annual or five-yearly timelines.
So, as we conclude the first quarter of the year, we reflect and refocus our hearts and minds with these reminders:
1. Don’t Lose The Flexibility 2020 Gave You
If you’re thinking of going back to how things were before the pandemic, pause. Why? Because hybrid businesses (those that have both in-person and virtual capabilities) are the future. We should be focused on giving customers options about how they want to be served, and often that’s a mix of in-person and virtual depending on the day or the service. In short, don’t expect things to look like they did before as there’s a new sweet-spot born out of 2020 that’s between the two, and that’s where our businesses should be prepared to play.
2. Know your data
Remember that “your company data is your new oil.” Clive Humby coined this expression in 2006, and it has never been more relevant. Don’t assume you know about your business our your customers’ trends – things like consumer buying behaviour are fluctuating dramatically. Pull new data sets and look closely to see how it might be telling a new story from what you’ve known historically. The world is different, we are different. Your data will tell that story – so best to know what it is in order to make calculated real-time decisions and take advantage of any low-hanging fruit!
3. Build on the Positives
Considering 2020 was a whirlwind of extraordinary circumstances and global unrest, preparing goals for 2021 can be an interesting exercise, and then sticking to them in a everchanging environment even more so. There are always opportunities, even in the middle of a crisis—whether they are to improve your existing business or even to create a new business the point is to keeping look and evolving.
4. Leadership Emotional Intelligence
A critical leadership skill set needed at any time, and certainly now, is being able to read the environment around us (read the room Brenda!), and how best to navigate it. Encourage team leaders to know the difference between quantity versus quality of communication. We all seem to be struggling with communication fatigue, so its critical to ensure that your communication is impactful and has meaning to the receiver – whatever delivery format it is done in.
Finally the last 3 words that we would use to describe what we need for the rest of the year ahead are: Nimbleness, focus and humility.
We will need to be nimble to meet the changes that are still to come. Some changes we see are temporary; others will take hold and stay. We will need to be open to these changes and have an internal culture that addresses and adapts.
Focus has always been important. Your team is most likely putting in long hours and experiencing some level of fatigue. Keep your team focused on the critical initiatives for the next quarter. Work your “Need to Have” list versus your “Nice to Have” list. Focus on those critical tasks and stay diligent.
Humility helps you grow. We need to be comfortable being slightly uncomfortable, and owning the fact that we don’t know with certainty. Conduct your market research and develop your programs with an earnest sense of looking for truth and seeing what works. Manage your teams with that same humility, while balancing honesty with active listening and a positive, but realistic outlook.
Here’s to the quarter ahead!
Much love always,
Taryn and Perri