Four Words to Guide You in 2021

If there was ever a year to shake us out of our complacency, this was it. Continued, straight-line growth? Ha! Sustainable competitive advantage? Ha! Predictable and efficient supply chains? Ha!

The world changes, often in discontinuous and unpredictable ways. It reminds us that success today is no guarantee of success tomorrow.

With this in mind, here are four words to guide you and your organization in 2021:

1. Anticipate

You’ll be forced to react to the future if you don’t anticipate it. That doesn’t mean you have to perfectly predict the future, but it does mean you should keep a close watch on what’s happening in your industry and in society, develop contingency plans for the most likely scenarios, and then identify the triggers that would cause you to enact those plans.

2. Engage

As a leader, you don’t have to have all the answers. Engage your team. Let them know they’re critical to your success in these volatile times. Get their input, their perspectives, to help shape your ideas. Then get their feedback to test your ideas. Communicate more often than you think you should. And remember to connect with them at a human level and demonstrate that you value them, that you care.

3. Execute

Planning isn’t enough. And inching along isn’t going to get it done. In unsettled times, the spoils go to those who can execute quickly and effectively. Emphasize, resource, and reinforce execution.

4. Recalibrate

If what you’re doing isn’t working, if reality has changed, or if your assumptions no longer hold true, then recalibrate. Feel no remorse about changing course if that’s what’s needed. Don’t continue investing time, money, and effort simply to justify a previous decision. Reserve the right to do what makes sense.

What will 2021 bring? More change. Anticipate and plan for the most likely scenarios. Engage your team. Vigorously execute. Recalibrate. Give your organization a fighting chance to succeed.

Make it happen.


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