It’s a fact that 2020 was a year filled with unbelievable levels of unpredictability. If you are hesitant to set business goals for the new year, you are not alone.
When I recently asked clients what their business plans were for 2021, the majority were waiting until after Q1 to make a commitment. The sentiment seemed to be, “We will know more in the spring.”
If you fall into this group…I urge you to read on and consider this next question:
“What are you going to do if you don’t have more information after Q1?”
Perhaps you’ll respond with…
“I’ll just have to wait and see…”
Or, “I’ll wait until after Q2…”
Or, “I’m waiting for the vaccine…”
If any of those is a response you considered, I want you to take a long, hard sip from your favorite coffee mug, and ask yourself:
“What am I really waiting for?”
If you are a business owner waiting to get back to a sense of normalcy, certainty, or security you believed existed pre-pandemic, you may never get that again, at least not in the foreseeable future. In fact, I would argue that those previous elements were a bit of an illusion (even though we might have believed them to be certain in the past).
One thing that is for certain is that leaders who are adaptable, resilient, and creative will always move forward and get ahead. Those that are willing to pause, reflect, begin again, and continue to lean-in to what they envision as being possible, will succeed.
2020 taught many of us how to use our tools differently. We learned how to shift our comfort levels and cope with the uncertainty that led to so many new possibilities, innovations, and inventions; and I believe many of us are not simply better leaders as a result, we’re better human beings.
Those business owners and company leaders who adapted are already on a fast track and will be ahead of the game just by continuing to set goals, revisiting their playbook, and reworking the plan as they navigate through new and ever-present changes – whatever they may be.
While I cannot deny that the pandemic did reset certain work trends, I believe we simply need to rethink our strategies for planning, management, and performance goals rather than putting them off in hopes of a sign from above or the promise of greener grass in the future.
As early as the summer of 2020, when talking about what changes businesses will need to make in a post-pandemic world, HR giant Gartner’s Vice President Brian Kropp wrote:
“Leaders who respond effectively can ensure their organizations stand out from competitors.”
One of the nine trends he felt will be evident post-COVID includes the expanded role of employers in their employees’ lives. An employees’ financial, physical, and mental health “safety net” will now be a part of corporate responsibility like never before. Personal factors will take precedence over external factors in what matters most for both the organization and the employee. Measures to promote physical health and emotional well-being will not only be appreciated but necessary. That article was written over 6 months ago…so why are you still waiting to implement a plan?
The article, 9 Future of Work Trends Post-COVID-19, in Smarter with Gartner goes on to say, “To build the workforce you’ll need post-pandemic, focus less on roles — which group unrelated skills — and more on the skills needed to drive the organization’s competitive advantage and the workflows that fuel that advantage. Encourage employees to develop critical skills that potentially open multiple opportunities for their career development, rather than preparing for a specific next role. Offer greater career development support to employees in critical roles who lack critical skills.”
As always, great leaders are mindful of the employee experience. They focus their energy on addressing inequities; guiding and directing our workforce with courage and authenticity; and embracing and developing a culture of inclusiveness. COVID-19 did not change any of that.
One thing that you can plan on RIGHT NOW for 2021…organizations must change their focus from efficiency to resilience. This points specifically to the experience you are creating for your employees. The sooner you’re able to shift, the better — and stronger — your company will be in the future.