When 2020 began, Hoots and I did as we usually do and chose a Word of the Year. The Word of the Year is our way of focusing our vision and declaring our intentions. We’ve done that for over a decade. I don’t know about you, but at the moment I’m not thinking at all the way I was all the way back in January. In fact, our Word of the Year for 2020 doesn’t even makes sense for this year.
Shoot, in January, if you’d told me I would be wearing a mask in public, I’d have wondered if I had somehow decided to take up bank robbery or cattle rustling as new revenue streams. Right?
I haven’t been on an airplane since March 5. That’s the longest run of non-travel for me in at least a couple of decades.
Yet. I’ve adapted. I won’t say this feels normal but it doesn’t feel as weird as it did. Right? Have you noticed how you’ve acclimatized to this new normal?
As you lead, are you still thinking about what you were thinking about when the year started? I bet not.
Here’s my new Word of the Year for 2020: “flexible,” and I’m suggesting you consider it.
All of our plans for the rest of 2020 should be wildly flexible. Any plan made previous to April 2020 should be reevaluated for flexibility.
Take a minute and question your assumptions. If you have any doubts or concerns hovering at the back of your mind, get them out where you can examine them. Where do you need to think more flexibly?
Ask “what if” questions about everything you are depending on and pursue the answers.
Pursue flexibility and challenge your fundamental assumptions.
What if your office arrangement never goes back to the way it used to be?
What if your primary funding source was severely disrupted?
What if the economy gets fundamentally worse?
What if the economy gets wonderfully better?
What opportunities has COVID presented that you didn’t think about previously?
What is your team dealing with because of COVID?
What if your key team member, that one person you don’t know how to replace, gets COVID?
What if you get COVID?
What supply chain disruptions could you not survive?
What could you stockpile to weather a disruption?
What if the Post Office becomes less dependable?
Plan now for what else might happen between here and January 1, 2021.
Leading in 2020 demands flexibility.
As I talk to CEOs and leaders, I’ve been impressed with how many of them are asking themselves these kinds of “what if” questions. You know I’m not advocating living in fear or paranoia, but I believe that there’s extraordinary power in being flexible and prepared.
That’s how you can sleep soundly and weather whatever comes your way as you lead.
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