Lisa Thal

What A Year!

2020 will be a year we all will remember! The reality started in March. March is supposed to be the month of March Madness Basketball, office pools, extended happy hours, and my favorite time of year. Well, indeed, the end of March is when the madness started. The Impact of Covid began to get my attention when they began canceling March Madness games. Next, our team sat down in a conference room and developed tactics and strategies to work from home for a few weeks, which lasted up to several months, and for many of us still is. This is when things got real, and Covid began to become a reality! 

Here are a few takeaways from 2020 and the things it taught me as a leader.

Great teams Matter! 

I would have to say this is my biggest takeaway from 2020. That the people, our work families are resilient! Together we worked on supporting each other and our clients through this uncertain time. We leaned into the unstable and uncertain times with new ideas and innovation to bring more certainty not only to each other and to our clients searching for solutions. We learned that progress is not a straight line. That progress we faced had zigs and zags. That outstanding leadership shines when you approach difficult situations, uncharted territory, and pressured moments. And you do it with calmness and confidence! We learned, and then we lead!

We Learned to work remotely!

2020 has been the year of the Zoom meeting. I also learned that I sold my Zoom stock too early. That’s for another blog. Gone are the day’s face to face connections with our co-workers. Asking how their families and weekends were. We learned that lighting in front of you is the best way to be seen on a call. You could also have a little fun with virtual backgrounds to hide you from letting others know where you were doing the call. Zoom taught us to dress up; I mean the top part of us. Those sweats, leggings, and comfort shoes became our new business casual.

We learned to appreciate the teaching profession!

Working from home with a spouse or partner at home, and a few kids can make things a lot more challenging. And as leaders, we had to learn how to be flexible and supportive with our employees. We had to adjust our expectations, focus time, and traditional 9-5 schedule to help everyone maintain a work-life balance. Parents learned to be even more efficient with their time. They were managing kid’s schoolwork, distractions, all while trying to do their job. We also learned to appreciate all healthcare workers and the sacrifices they make every day.

We learned to enjoy the great outdoors.

During the pandemic, I remember seeing more people walking together as friends, couples, families with pets. As one of my neighbors described it, it’s a party on the sidewalk. I played more golf than any year before. My soul ( Liv, I am sure) needed a safe place to be outdoors and connect socially. Many people bought bikes to experience the great outdoors, swimming pools were installed, hot tubs delivered, decks built, and conversations around the fire pit grew.

Focus on what matters most!

2020 has taught us to focus on what matters. Our Health, our families, our friendships, our pets, our homes, and creating the time to connect with them even if it was on Zoom calls. Authentic relationships with our customers, supporting our team members. It’s been a challenging year for so many of us, but we will come out the other side stronger and better.

As you reflect on the past year, take these lessons and apply them to your 2021 strategy. Keep your focus on what matters most for your Health, family, business, and those you lead, and stay creative with how you think and do business moving forward.

The most impactful lesson I learned was that We Did Prevail! Yes, hardships happen, that things didn’t work out perfectly, and setbacks happen. After the year we have gone through together, you can remind yourself of all the challenges you faced. The obstacles you overcame, and you will realize that you and your team prevailed! Now that’s something to celebrate!

Thank you for joining me each week along my journey. Thanks for listening and sharing the three-word podcast. You inspire me to be a better leader every day, and that I am grateful for you!

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