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23, December 2020

What We Learned in 2020

This was a year unlike any other. Strange and sometimes awful occurrences seemed to pop up like weeds. And yet, here we are. We survived. And in some cases, thrived against all odds. As a business consultant, I get to work with multiple organizations across many industries. Through our strategic planning and executive coaching work, I’m able to see it all. So, let’s review what we learned in 2020. Of course, it holds true for businesses in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kentucky, Jacksonville, Florida and all over America.

Prepare for the unexpected

We use the word “contingencies” a lot in strategic planning. By now, it should be abundantly clear why.

Most of my clients had fantastic years, at least from a financial perspective. It was hard work and they had to react and respond to all the changes. But they did. Because they were ready.

A key part of their readiness stems from having strong leaders with strong teams. In many cases they used our assessments to hire and develop their employees. As a result, they had people who were able to identify changes and then adapt to them. They successfully used the turmoil to gain a competitive advantage over the unprepared.

It isn’t just about the money

Sure, every for-profit company would like to grow sales and profits. And while those are clearly important, they aren’t everything.

2020 was the deadliest year in US history. The pandemic has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. We experienced more hurricanes than in any year in memory. Devastating wildfires ravaged the west.

Real people have been negatively impacted by these and other challenges. And some of those real people are your employees. Displaying empathy and caring for your team goes farther than you might imagine. Don’t be afraid to show it.

Vision, mission & values matter

When teams and businesses are tested by adversity, people lean on more than their personal support structure. That’s why the organization’s underpinnings of vision, mission and values are so important.

The most successful companies have a clear vision and mission that they continuously reinforce. When times are tough, people turn to aspirations and purpose to get them through. That’s why I always ask questions about the organization’s vision and mission—and the values they stand for—during strategic planning and executive coaching.

There really is fake news

If all we ate were cheeseburgers, fries and milkshakes, we shouldn’t be surprised if we eventually experienced negative physical consequences. It’s the same with the information we consume.

Today there are many “news” sources. Some have a political ax to grind. Others choose content based on what’s most sensational, not what’s most factual. It’s up to each of us to seek the truth, not be swayed by what we may want to hear. Business leaders live in the real world, not the fake one.

We are resilient and brilliant

It’s impossible not to recognize the resilience of the American people. They’ve been masked and distanced and had their lives turned upside-down. And yet they forged on.

Then there is the ingenuity of our medicine makers. Against all odds—and in record time—multiple vaccines are now being distributed. We will win the race against the virus. Just make sure you and your team get to the finish line.

The workplace has changed

Many of us are working remotely. And we’ve discovered it works pretty well. Sure, it isn’t perfect. But the work gets done and it helps reduce the spread.

Zoom calls aren’t going away. Expect some level of remote workforce well into the future.

Krissi Barr of Barr Corporate Success

What we learned in 2020 is we can never stop adapting. The world is in constant flux. And change is hard. Heck, so is adversity. If you are interested in executive coaching, strategic planning or assessments to hire and develop your people, please give me a call. I’ll help you and your team become better prepared for the changes ahead and become better leaders. And now that we all have Zoom, it works just as well in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kentucky, Jacksonville, Florida or anywhere in America.

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