December…For most of us, it is synonymous with “crazy month:” Closing the year, finalizing clients’ requests, year-end reviews, you name it, it feels like too much is piling in those 31 days! And history repeats itself every year. This year has a particular flavor, though. Lack of visibility of the New Year, Zoom and screen fatigue, concern for the economic and business outlook, all add to the usual load of the last month of the year and we all look forward to a welcome break, hoping that things will be better a week later…
Yet, things will not be much different on January 2. Our calendars are already full of Zoom meetings which we will be participating in from our homes. As leaders, how do we avoid “Groundhog Day” syndrome?
The first thing is to ensure is that 2020 is complete and can be put to rest. This means having members of your team acknowledge what has been accomplished during 2020 as a team and individually (it can all seem blurry when everything happened with no change of scenery…). Acknowledge what the team has learned, the ground that has been taken. And celebrate what can be celebrated. Why not send a (real!) gift to team members, wherever they are in the world? Also, talk about what the team members had to deal with to continue to be effective at their job. Not to commiserate but to acknowledge the resilience, commitment, and outright creativity that people displayed these past few months!
The second thing is to establish together the conditions needed to operate optimally come January 2: Are our 2021 priorities clear? Our Q1 priorities? Are our team practices adapted to these priorities? What do we need to adjust, for the team and for individuals based on their personal situation? What is our protocol to declare breakdowns so that we leverage the power of the team as soon and as often as needed?
Whether you are a CEO or a Director, these simple steps will go a long way to re-energize you and your team and set you up for a 2021 full of possibility, not just a continuation of 2020. Don’t we all want that?