It’s been said more times than not, 2020 was a horror year that had considerable collective impact. For most of us in business, the start of 2020 brought some hope of a new year after fires and drought that many regional businesses were hopeful for recovery. But as we all know this was not to be, by March most of us were in triage mode trying to sense-make how to ensure our businesses survived the coming unknown and one year everything changed.

In our businesses, for a period of time we stopped flying, commuting, going to work, even going out. The rules and routines that governed our lives and work changed daily and being prepared, thinking ahead being on the front foot in our businesses was almost impossible. We had to learn to just live in the moment.

So with that in mind and from the lessons we have learnt from 2020 here my thoughts on some things to think about as we step into the new year and the COVID economy?

Embrace the now – be present

There has been lots of things distracting us this year and social media and netflix help us cope with the overwhelming volumes of information around us and distract us from what is going on in the world.

If anything, the concept of being “busy” has been challenged this year and just slowing down and being present, looking at what is going on around you and getting clear about what you can do in the now is going to be important.

Walk the path slowly and mindfully (in hiking we call it nature bathing) be really conscious and aware of the moments of success and beauty that comes into your day.

Focus on Intentions instead of Goals

As humans we need to feel like we create outcomes, its what we were taught in school and our businesses are not successful without it. But somewhere along the line in the process of striving for the “what” and “how” we have forgotten about the “why”.

Goals don’t seem to be working any more because the landscape is changing too much. In Aubrey Daniels book, Oops! 13 Management Practices That Waste Time and Money, he argues that stretch goals are an ineffective practice and only are motivating people when they have received positive rewards and feedback from reaching goals in the past. Whenever we desire things that we don’t have and then don’t get, we set our brain’s limbic system to produce negative emotions. Highly aspirational goals require us to develop new competencies, some of which may be beyond current capabilities or available resources.

Clarity of vision allows us to have this belief this understanding of our reason why we do what we do and learn as we go when we need to learn. Be rest assured that you are generally heading in the right direction and you don’t need to change our mind every 3 seconds based on new information.

Stay the course – make adjustments here and there but focus on the path. Make a commitment to the path and doing the work both on and in your business with clear intention and not being distracted or in doubt by those that criss-cross your path.

Think in terms of weeks instead of years

Whilst a 3 – 5 year strategy is still very important with the constant decision making (and don’t get me started on decision fatigue) many of the clients we are working with that have successfully moved through the COVID economy are now working a 90 day over the hill strategy (which is aligned to a bigger vision strategy). This year has seen many businesses have to totally reassess their ways of working. Strategic planning has gone from being measured in years to months to in some cases weeks.

Hybrid and flexible working will not change

Working 9 – 5, 40 hours a week will be remembered as a that thing we did in history. In 2021, working remotely will increasingly be seen as the norm rather than the exception. For many it will have been well over a year since they stepped foot in an office. Being as productive from home, business leaders will have to come up with credible reasons for a return to the office full-time. Hybrid workplaces will be the norm and leaders and business owners will need to re-think how they maintain culture and connection even more through the interface of technology (if you want to know more about that ask us more about peer to peer learning and mentoring).

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