2020. What Was the Point?

 In Insights, Leadership Teams, Realizer Blog

Last week I gathered a group of 30 leaders to squeeze some learnings out of 2020.

I want to share the 3 questions we discussed. You may find them useful in your world.

First, I ran a quick poll, “How much do you think we can learn from 2020 compared to a ‘normal’ year? Less, the same or more?”

100% of them said “more”.

Does that ring true for you? If so, make sure you set aside some time with your team to talk about and learn 2020, before you head off on holidays.

Second, I asked them to think about and share their “high points, low points and turning points of 2020”.

This exercise is huge right now in my workshops, creating game changing moments when people focus in on some key moments from 2020.

They share them, listen to others and realize how much they achieved, how important their team culture is – and how there is great variety in people’s experience of 2020.

In one workshop, we heard from Alexandra. As she explored the high points, low points and turning points, she realized that right now is a low point as work starts to return to slow-paced, flabby normality. She had been exhilarated by the mid-year fire-fighting and crisis-handling.

Gina, another leader, mentioned how she can see signs of anxiety in her team as they head into an uncertain 2021. Gina resolved to run the high-points-low-points exercise with her wider team to allow them to reflect on 2020, and close the door on it, before starting up the engines again in 2021.

And when we got 30 leaders together last week, I finally asked them to answer the question, ‘what was the point of 2020?’ – what was one learning you’d share with other leaders, in the form of a catchy phrase. And here’s what they came up with.

Which of the 18 resonates most with you?

And what do you need to do to squeeze all the leadership learnings out of the year, and then close the door on 2020.

NB. Names have been changed.

I asked 18 leaders,  what was the point of 2020? What did they learn that they’d share with other leaders? 

1. It’s not business, it’s personal.
2. It’s just a moment in time. It will pass.
3. Understanding & empathy.
4. Double down on communication.
5. Empathy and Understanding is key!
6. We need to recognise that there is more to the lives of our team than work – especially in 2020.
7. Nothing Ever Lasts Forever.
8. Productivity – it’s not the time spent doing, it’s the outcomes that are achieved.
9. Communicate constantly, even if not great news – leadership trust is essential in a crisis.
10. Honesty begets honesty.
11. Culture eats strategies for breakfast and behaviour eats it for lunch. 
12. Our people shouldn’t have to earn our trust – they deserve it and should be gifted it. 
13. Being human to our teams is more important than ever.
14. Shit happens stay nimble.
15. COVID was like a bushfire – some things burned down, but some great re-growth has been stimulated.
16. It’s not about the money until it’s all about the money.
17. Have you been a leader worth following in 2020?
18. Develop our people, culture and behaviours, the outcomes will take care of themselves.

Written by Rob Pyne