Cheering You On

2020 has been quite a year, hasn’t it?

Who knew that ‘murder hornets’ wouldn’t make the top 3 concerns for Americans right now? 2020 did.

You might find yourselves asking, why are we talking about murder hornets?

Well, that’s a good question. I bring it up because I think it speaks to how businesses are juggling right now. Think it’s a stretch? Read below to see if you’re right:

Businesses, leaders, and team members are juggling a lot. Everyone has concerns about revenue, sales, and business viability. There are also ongoing questions about what business and work are going to look like after a vaccine is introduced.

None of these touch the civil unrest and protests about systemic racism, rampant unemployment, and the lack of toilet paper (C’mon).

Again, you’re wondering about murder hornets and how this applies, right?

So, let me make the connection.

Everyone regardless of their position within a company or organization created an expectation in their head about what 2020 should look like. I planned to have a wedding (crossing my fingers about this one) and go on a family vacation to New York City to see some Broadway shows and eat some bagels (that definitely didn’t happen).

ICAP’s leadership team set yearly goals at the end of 2019 for the coming year and communicated that vision to the company in January.

It’s June now. Life looks totally different from January 1st. Our goals have gotten altered, changed, or removed. The expectations all of us created at the beginning of the year are likely to not come true. Plans have shrunk from yearly goals to quarterly to monthly to weekly in some cases.

We seem to be getting further away from our expectations and further into the unknown of this year.

As leaders and team members in organizations, we have to understand that our people in and outside of work are dealing with complex events and emotions: anxieties, fear, uncertainty.

Let us also remember that vision and communication inspire hope and action. We cannot fix problems overnight, but we can band together to ensure our people aren’t being beaten down by the vigilance and anxiety pervasive in our culture right now. If murder hornets are low on the list of anxieties, we’re in a state of overload.

How can we adapt, communicate, and create a vision with all of this heaviness swirling around us?

I don’t have a solution. Just a suggestion:

Let’s break up goals that value activity as much as the outcome. Focusing on leading measures versus focusing on lagging measures leads to:

  • Continued focus on the parts of the business you can control
  • Greater morale, when you can focus on the activity and can see movement there rather than become so dependent on the outcome (If you build it, they will come)
  • Packing the pipeline with relevant opportunities that may or may not result right now or later on down the road
  • Clarity around processes leads to greater productivity and down the road optimizes client, user, or customer experiences
  • Cutting expenses like office space or travel expenses doesn’t have to just be a current solution, but an ongoing approach to preserve capital and looking for internal solutions to big problems

I know 2020 has been a rough year for a lot of us around the country, but I also think we’ve been given a tremendous opportunity to overcome adversity and innovate, which is what we all do best.

Savannah Newkirk, Former Client Services Manager

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