The roller coaster of 2020 is nearly over, and things are looking more and more positive for the start of 2021. Vaccines are already being delivered to frontline health workers and high-risk populations, election season has concluded, and businesses are starting to think about how they can get back to normal. 

Amidst that optimism is some fear, however. The last year has shaken everyone’s trust, and fundamental changes in the way we work, connect, and socialize have made it very difficult to feel like planning for the future is even possible. 

But with every great challenge comes an opportunity to learn something and improve. For many leaders, the last year has been their most challenging ever. With that in mind, we’re taking a hard look at the lessons we’ve learned from 2020 that are going to allow us to plan for the future, no matter what it brings, because leaders who exemplify the ability to learn, adapt, and changeset an exceptional example for their team members. 

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3 Key Lessons from 2020

Organizations that weathered the pandemic the best were those that we’re able to maintain flexibility at all times. They adapted to overcome quick and unexpected shifts in their industries. As we look to 2021, flexibility will continue to be a key driver of success. But, that doesn’t mean planning should be thrown out the window. 

There are ways to plan and stay nimble at the same time. Stick to the three principles below as you consider your strategies for the upcoming year. 

 Cultural Fundamentals Are Critical

We talk about it all the time, but success as an organization truly boils down to a few keystone objectives. When leaders and their teams create systems that serve, build the capacity of others, and focus on positive relationships, anything is possible. 

Those fundamentals drive exceptional work culture that ensures organizations are creative enough, productive enough, and nimble enough to work around any obstacles. 

Fire Number 2The Quality of the Result Matters

When things go wrong, it’s natural to look for the quickest solution, to get things back on track immediately. But quick results don’t always equate to the best results. 

In tough moments, leaders and their teams must think about the long-term effects of the decisions they make. For example, at the beginning of COVID lockdowns, many businesses laid off staff immediately without truly considering the possibilities for remote work. Others thought creatively about how they could adapt to a new environment. 

It’s Good to Challenge Paradigms

During the pandemic, we were allowed to question things that seemed unquestionable. Do we really need a big office space? Can our teams really work virtually without a drop in productivity? 

We’ve challenged a lot of big paradigms in the last 12 months and come away with some incredible findings. Take that spirit of innovation with you into 2021 and beyond as you think about what’s truly important and what’s really possible. 

Reset for 2021


“After having listened to everyone, saying ‘This is what we decided,’ is a fundamentally different place to be than, ‘Let me tell you.’ ” — Tim Yeomans, FiredUp! Executive Vice President

A big reset is rarely an option because big change often makes people nervous. But the last year has toughened us against the fear of change. We’re used to it and more ready than ever for new opportunities, new directions, and new futures. 

Use this unique moment to really listen to your team members and open up the future for discussion. What else might be possible that you never considered questioning before? Challenge paradigms and take creative steps forward but do so as a result of engaging with your team members. 

When your reset comes as a result of cooperation, intentionality, and trust, you tap into the power of shared ownership and accountability. Find out what else you can do to manage major challenges in 2021 and beyond. Check out our post: A Comprehensive Guide to Leading Through Difficult Times.