Most of us are revisiting our strategy and financial plans for 2021 or to reflect the opportunities and shifts of 2020; all of us need to drive our vision and results next year with renewed vigor, urgency, and efficiency.
Whether you think you will have a strong or weak year, your team’s resilience and energy are key to the equation. If they’re worn out at the starting bell, it will be hard to achieve your full potential next year. 2020 has been an exhausting year in both grand and subtle ways: Psychic wear and tear has been continuous from the pandemic, social justice issues, protests, fires, extreme weather events, and election drama combined with restrictions on our ability to be with loved ones.
Whether you think you will have a strong or weak year, your team’s resilience and energy are key to the equation.
People’s home situation has a big role in their exhaustion, but our situation as leaders is universally and often significantly more comfortable than team members’. Different parts of country had varying degrees and durations of isolation (for Silicon Valley, it’s a solid 7 months of shelter in place). Families with young kids learning at home face new complexities and those whose kids went to college face new uncertainties. People’s physical space and even marriage stability now play into their day to day job, energy, and resilience.
As leaders, we need to push for a strong finish to the 2020 marathon and energize people for the urgency and creativity to achieve our best possible 2021 results. Tackle these three zones now to set the stage for success next year:
From conversations with a number of senior execs and my own experience, I see the wear and tear showing up in our energy level and how we respond. We have to feel optimistic and energetic to authentically lead that way. What signal are you giving in the way you show up?
One of my biggest shifts was moving beyond the mental model that this working situation is temporary and embracing it as long term – which triggered a dramatic shift in how I organized my space, my personal routine, and my operating rhythm. I’d been hacking it and reacting to it rather than owning it.
Leading at our level is championship play, and leading in 2020 is an epic challenge. Champions work hard for sure, but they also eat well, sleep well, take care of the whole athlete, and know when to take rest days because these things are crucial to playing their best game.
We need our teams to drive better results this quarter and bounce into next year ready to succeed, but it’s hard to ask for more from people who don’t feel they have much left to give. Consider these structural changes to create more capacity for contribution and renew energy:
For many of us, the rhythm of work was tuned to a different time. Because we’ve been reacting to the pandemic, it's a good time to actively optimize for what's true. We’ve tuned our rhythm in a few ways:
As a fast-growth company (we tripled sales last year and will double this year), 2020 has been one of both abundance and scarcity – I don’t recall simultaneously experiencing this kind of adversity and prosperity ever. For many of our customers in the tech, healthcare and other sectors, the same duality is true: My team is succeeding, has been amazingly resilient and creative... but it’s fatigued in ways we couldn’t imagine. I’ve tried to lead this year with an entrepreneur’s optimism, urgency, and with compassion; if you’re interested my internal blog post from September is here (shortly before an excellent, energizing road trip to Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah).
I hope you create(d) the time to regenerate energy and increase capacity to achieve your best results next year!
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