2020 Hindsight Series: Learn Fast

If you have a pulse, you’ll have noticed that things changed fast in 2020. The security of the plans we had, the certainty we had assumed,  all got thrown out of the window, by of all things, a tiny virus.  

One thing I teach my clients, and help their companies embrace, is to learn fast and stay agile. It's front and centre in some of the successes that I've had in my leadership past. Yet 2020 has absolutely galvanised that view as I've seen those locked in their old ways failing to respond. Leaders who learned fast were proactive and reactive. Their solutions were relevant, and they pivoted productively. The organisations that were agile we're just able to move faster. As the environment changed, the needs changed, and the opportunities were seized by those able to learn fast. As leadership guru Tom Peters says, “test fast,...

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2020 Hindsight Series: Stay Connected

One of the most profound lockdown leadership lessons I've learned, with 2020 hindsight, is the importance of staying connected. I've always known this to be true from a leadership perspective. The aloof leader, locked behind doors, not connecting and not engaging, is rarely effective. 20 years as a CEO of six different companies taught me the power and importance of connection. Yet this year it has been profoundly highlighted to me, and the leaders that I serve.   

So, what do I mean by connection? 

I’ll leave that to the venerable Brené Brown, who said “I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” That is a very high bar for any commercial environment, and unfortunately...

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2020 Hindsight Series: Stay Simple

We're continuing our series of 2020 hindsight; a look at lock down leadership lessons, I've learned over the past 12 months. One important factor in successfully navigating a crisis is the need for simplicity. I think there is a lesson for businesses and their leaders to keep it simple.  

There definitely seems to be something innate in us, that compels us to add complexity where it's not necessary. I think underlying this is the wrong assumption that complexity is a sign of competence. When I hear people being complex or giving long answers, it’s often used as a cover for incompetence or self-justification. In the many turnarounds I've been involved with, the solutions have always been very simple, even in the most complex environments. Complexity, bureaucracy and politics, all...

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2020 Hindsight Series: Love First

One of the things that has been a surprising outcome of meeting with groups of leaders during 2020 is a definite change in the usual priorities. Once the urgency of protecting the business and preserving the company was in place, leaders started talking about other things. The often-robust conversations of a purely commercial nature became deeper, and more personal. Forced time away from work, more connexion with family, and a prevaling threat helped us all, to reassess our priorities. My 2020 hindsight, leadership lockdown lesson is the importance of putting love first. Yes this is commercial leadership content and yes I’m talking about love. I’m even going to quote an Italian poet. Please bear with me.  

True love cannot be found where it does not exist, nor can it be denied where it does,” according to Torquato...

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Hindsight Series: Know What Comes First

This is a continuation of a small series I'm doing on 2020 hindsight. These are leadership lessons I've learned from the lockdown. In this session, “Know what comes first”. In a year where there was a lot going on, as you may have noticed, having clarity around priorities has been paramount. “Our life is the sum total of all the decisions we make every day, and those decisions are determined by our priorities.” According to the Bahamian Clergyman, Myles Munroe. Wise words.

If we don't know what comes first, we will be busy, but not necessarily effective. We all have a huge amount of noise in our world. The tendency will be to become reactive rather than proactive . We will randomly respond to what's happening, rather than considering our primary most effective response. If we do have a sense of what should come first, then we have more clarity. If we cut through the clutter and the noise, we tend to make better decisions.

Good is the enemy of great. We can...

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Hindsight Series: Embrace Uncertainty

 Here’s a 2020 hindsight; a lockdown leadership lesson I've learned during this ‘interesting’ year. Embrace uncertainty. Danish Physicist Niels Bohr said, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future.” I do like a physicist with a sense of humour. But it's very true, we do like to think that we are in control, that our futures are certain. We are the most insured, some would argue, over-insured people in history. We try and reduce risk, increase certainty and think that we can control our future's. Once again, there's nothing wrong with those things, but if we do not learn to embrace uncertainty, we can be left disappointed, resentful and cynical. It can also lead to a lack of resilience. Yet if we embrace uncertainty, recognise that the environment and life in general, cannot always be shaped into our desired state, we can be both realistic and resilient. This year taught me that embracing uncertainty is essential to...

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2020 Hindsight Series: Enjoy the Journey

I thought it was a good time to take some of my own advice and review this year with 2020 hindsight. We all know it's been an extraordinary year. We all came into 2020 with 2020 Vision. As with any new year there were expectations of what we would do, what we wouldn't do, and what the year was going to look like. The overused quote from Mike Tyson that everyone has a plan until they get a punch in the face, is so true for 2020. I want to take a look at the “lockdown leadership lessons” that I've learned or at least have had reinforced, with 2020 hindsight.  

The first one for me has been to enjoy the journey. Greg Anderson, the American author, said “Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it. It's such a simple concept, yet worth contemplating if you're like me; very focused on the outcomes, the destination, ...

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