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We’ll conquer the new year together

2020. We’ve almost done it! And it’s been… [insert choice word]! The year may not have been pretty. But it caught us off-guard. Which, in turn, offers us the gift of foresight for 2021. We don’t know what the new year will hold. But we do know to prepare for dang-near anything.

As I reflect on year-end conversations I’m having with clients, I’m seeing recurring themes emerge. I “brain dumped” a list of sound bytes, and have boiled them down to 5 essential pieces of advice I’m offering leaders across industries – 5 things we should all do in 2021. And today I’m passing these along to you.

OK. And now. The 5 must-do’s for 2021. Let’s make it a win no matter what it throws our way!

  1. Bang on purpose. Purpose has been buzzy for years. But 2020 pushed it deeply to the forefront. Teams are feeling overwhelmed and disconnected. And purpose is a reconnector. As research by Oliver Wyman states, “sharing a common purpose can create a sense of belonging and help to encourage your employees to adopt a sense of ownership for your company’s future.” So leaders, take every opportunity to help your teams see the connection between their day-to-day, and the impact you’re having on the lives of your customers.
  2. Cut the crap. No disrespect. But with burnout on the rise, we all need to focus on what we can take off people’s plates. In 2021, ask yourself every day – does this really need to be done? Is there a simpler route to the same outcome? Will there be a measurable consequence if we cut out that meeting/report/? If it’s not a heck-yes then make it a no.
  3. Ask so many questions. What’s the best way to ensure your team is doing its best work? I don’t know! And neither can you…unless you continue to ask. We’re all working in ways we didn’t plan for. So as things evolve, as customer needs change, as employees do or don’t return to an office… continue to ask them – how’s it going? What do you need? How can I support you?
  4. Keep Inclusion deeply at the forefront. This isn’t about blame or shame. It’s about moving beyond scorecards and unconscious bias training, and truly leaning into habits and practices that create the experience of Inclusion – not just a checkmark. This Deloitte report includes many I’ve taken to heart.
  5. Cut yourself some slack. Seriously. Because you’re doing your best. And I urge you to honor that. Said beautifully by Rebecca Ruiz, “Giving yourself grace is permission to forgive your mistakes, lapses in judgment, and hurtful behavior because no one is perfect.”

And there you go. What will YOU commit to doing in 2021?