For most of us 2020 couldn’t end fast enough but, that being said, there were some valuable lessons learned during the year that we can build upon in 2021.
1) Stop Using the Pandemic as an Excuse- I certainly understand the devastating impact that COVID 19 has had on many businesses, but I can also cite MANY examples of companies that did very well. In fact, many of them had record sales years amid the chaos. Most of them were not just lucky firms that were in the right place at the right time (Zoom for example) but were companies who were initially hit hard, took a step back, and found a way to pivot. It isn’t easy but it can be done. What paradigms from your past can your firm challenge in 2021 to position you for a record year?
2) Review and Update Your Business Plan More Frequently Than Ever- In the immortal words of Monty Python, “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition”. Never was that old phrase truer than in 2020. When the pandemic hit most of us were forced to course correct in a way that took us far beyond what we had originally planned for. In 2021 we need to write our plans in pencil and make sure we have a good eraser. Revisiting our plans on a monthly basis and being open to course correction will be essential. The man who planned D-Day, Dwight D. Eisenhauer, famously stated “planning is everything, plans are nothing”. Expect to pivot and pivot again in 2021 and you will be on your toes when things you didn’t plan for pop up.
3) Invest in Developing Your People- Almost no one would argue that your people are your greatest asset, but their worlds shifted seismically during the pandemic along with the business landscape within which they operated. Working from home, social distancing, downsizing, and other changes have reshaped how they do their jobs. Have you provided the necessary support and training to help them be successful in what has become the “new normal”? Salespeople in particular have had to learn how to prospect and sell in a new way that includes more phone calls, more emails, social selling, and video conferencing platforms while tried and true approaches like networking, trade shows, and entertainment have all but disappeared. Are they prepared with the skills to prosper in the new landscape of selling?
4) Approach the Year with an Abundance Mindset- There are two distinct mindsets that you can have as you enter the new year, a scarcity mindset or an abundance mindset. An abundance mindset means you believe there is more than enough opportunities for success even in a global pandemic, you just have to find them. A scarcity mindset believes that there are only so many opportunities out there and you need to hold on tightly to every single one because you never know when the next opportunity might come along. You will attract what you expect, and belief is a powerful tool. Your people feed off your energy as a leader so make sure your head is right.
I am sure you can think of many more keys to success this year than the ones I’ve listed so let’s all put a smile on our faces and hit the ground running. Here’s to the best year ever in 2021!