Here we come 2021

BirchGrove log with snow falling and a Santa Hat.

Image: Clayton Birch

We’re almost there. Only eleven sleeps to go until this beastly year is over. To front line workers everywhere who have given of themselves like never before, thank-you. To government leaders who continue to make crucial decisions to safeguard our health, keep going. To leaders who have made difficult decisions to keep their organizations running, don’t stop. To creative performers, keep singing, keep dancing, keep practicing your art. To kids who are having such a tough time understanding why all of this happening, keep learning. To senior citizens who are doing their best to protect themselves, we all love you.

Experiment with your experience

Leading ourselves out of the pandemic will be be 2021’s toughest work. In 2021 we will have to dig deeper than we ever have before. I get the sense there’s a feeling that once everyone is inoculated the worst will be over. It won’t be. Unfortunately, even the most powerful vaccine will not cure systemic racism, mend a broken economy, or protect our vulnerable environment. The word resilience will take on new meaning in 2021; it will become synonymous with tireless trail and error. Leaders will need to move away from solely relying on their experience and embrace experimentation. It will be more ok to fail, so long as we’re chalking it up to lessons learned.

Once we go back to watching the Raptors’ together in big groups, visiting our favourite restaurants and galleries, we will be conflicted. We’ll feel we deserve a break after all of the sacrifices we’ve made. And we will. But we can’t put our feet up for very long. Some of the hardest but most meaningful work awaits us. Are you ready for it? We will need to be more innovative with less resources, and more entrepreneurial meeting sharper timelines. Sure we’ve been well tested, and now as we head into 2021 we need to be well rested. We need to take a moment now to pause and step back from the craziness of this year. Assessing where we went right, where we could have done better will be vital to taking those first careful steps into the new year.

Pausing to know better

On December 18th at 9:00 a.m. I finally finished the first draft of my new book, Hit Pause…Know Better. What started out as a book on relational leadership twisted and turned with each phase of the pandemic. I was fortunate that leaders who were on the front lines of change found time to share stories of resolve, pain and…hope. What became clear with each conversation is that a new kind of leadership will be needed if we are to successfully emerge out of this pandemic into a world that is as equitable as it is extraordinary.

My holiday gift to you has been designed to help you kick-start the new year off with a bang. I’ve framed seven questions you can ask yourself to prepare for this new experimental leadership. If you’d like a copy, sign up here. I look forward to continuing the conversation of resilience, experimentation and new forms of leadership as we head into January’s welcoming arms. 

Enjoy the peace of the season. You’ve earned it.

Green and red holiday card with a season's greeting in the centre