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Courage, Crisis and Change in 2021!

It was easy to become distracted and disconnected in 2020 as Covid-19 disrupted every aspect of our personal and professional lives. While we continue to follow safety protocols and await vaccine distribution, many challenges remain to our companies and clients requiring urgent attention. The way we worked changed in 2020. Some changes were trends already happening and accelerated with the pandemic. While change can be challenging, it may also provide new opportunities and business models for you and your clients. I have observed a greater degree of flexibility, innovation, and collaborative creativity in our chosen work communities. Here are a few considerations for making 2021 a great year for you and your clients!

360 Degrees of Meaningful Communication

How we engage with our internal and external clients has changed forever. Trade shows and business travel will remain virtual for much of 2021. Even when travel is permitted, many may realize that much can be accomplished remotely. It was reported that 97% of company leaders allowed some degree of remote or flex work in 2020. The use of online meetings, virtual conferences and video calls skyrocketed in 2020 and are now the norm. Online learning and webinars have allowed people to expand their knowledge and potentially offer more services to clients.

Establish marketing budgets in 2021 to reflect your online presence and services. Develop and manage relevant content on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook to keep clients informed. Your website should be refreshed once a year incorporating video to demonstrate your know-how and expertise. Invest in a social presence and adhere to best practices when representing your clients. If digital marketing is not your strength, work with a reputable marketing firm to assist in building a presence that communicates your value to clients 24/7.

Be on the Creative Side of the Equation

Creation is the driving force behind innovation. The ability to create a strategy or growth path for your clients is critical when one is not readily visible. Focus on creation not differentiation. Open yourself to new thinking and collaborations that were once unthinkable may provide a competitive advantage. There is a skill in identifying and creating demand in our clients target markets, strengthen their competitive advantage, to improve business outcomes, and grow regardless of economic conditions. You need to know exactly what your client must do and where they need to go. Make 2021 a strong year for you and your clients. Be on the creative side.

Acknowledge Change

A crisis exposes what is broken! This phrase resonates with me when I think of the turmoil of 2020. A crisis accelerates and magnifies problems that existed prior to the crisis. In hindsight, a crisis demonstrates how we are unprepared. Whether you are concerned with healthcare, environment, diversity, politics, technology, and/or inequality of any kind, 2020 exposed what is broken. Decline occurs when we fail to recognize and acknowledge change. The good news is we have a choice. Acknowledging change is necessary as a first step. During the pandemic it is reported that 69% of companies restructured in some form in response to the pandemic. We can help our clients navigate change to be more impactful and in the process fix what is broken.

Embrace a Leadership Position

Leadership is a well-researched and written about skill. Google the topic and you will be greeted with books, companies and individuals who proclaim to have the secrets of leadership. Leadership encompasses various dimensions and definitions. Leadership may be authoritative, democratic, laissez-faire, or transactional to name a few. Crisis challenges strong leadership and exposes poor leadership. I believe strongly that leadership is defined at the personal level and is an individual choice

My definition for leadership centers around courage. The English etymology of courage is derived from the Latin root "Cor" meaning heart and from the old French "corage." The heart holds the root of our feelings. It is easy to debate facts, however feelings are yours and cannot be challenged. The courage to follow your heart, to do the right thing for yourself and for others - even when you know the path may be difficult - this is leadership. I encourage you to embrace your own leadership in 2021. Have the courage to believe is something bigger than yourself and you will succeed!

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