At the end of 2020, we can look back on a subtle year marked by the unforeseen, worries and frustrations, but also plenty of bright spots caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that hit the world at the beginning of the year. Right now, Denmark is back in a nationwide lockdown together with many countries in Europe. From a pandemic perspective, we are almost back at the start of 2020. However, with one important exception – we as individuals and leaders have learned from the first wave of the pandemic; we have become smarter and more insightful.
Living with the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences has almost turned into a New Normal, where more insight and experience has kicked in and provided leaders with a more secure ground to stand on.
From Execution Uncertainty to Execution Overview
Managers were affected by execution uncertainty at the beginning of the pandemic. There were challenges in planning daily tasks, virtual working, home workplaces, customer and supplier meetings, and handling COVID-19 restrictions. The uncertainty about when and how COVID-19 restrictions will arise and unfold is still there, but now managers have gained both the experience and preparedness to do the right things and take the right actions in due time.
Our new way of living has become a New Normal for every manager.
From Tunnel View to External View
At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a tendency to isolate oneself and focus on one's daily life within our organizations. Customer activity, organizational and strategy development, customer and vendor meetings were all shut down. Basically, you were closest only to yourself. Reason being, of course, the consequences of the pandemic itself. At the same time, there was also a great deal of uncertainty about the market situation. Over the summer, we all learned that we could cultivate business relationships virtually. Customers and vendors were set to meet in a virtual environment, virtual workshops and online teaching were accepted as a tolerable form of settlement – even virtual fairs became part of the interaction. We learned that it is possible to have a balance between internal and external challenges.
From Daily Operations to Strategic Leadership
Even if the world is shut down, the marketplace doesn't stand still. All crises change the rules of the game and new threats and opportunities emerge. We live in a time where the marketplace changes on many different fronts. Therefore, all managers are challenged to work with "Integrative Thinking"; meaning the strategic direction is always a matter of “both/and” and never “either/or.” As a forward-looking leader, you must therefore have a long-term focus based on a very agile daily life.
Brighter times are ahead for all of us who appreciate relationship building through socializing – both in our immediate environment and globally. The COVID-19 vaccines will be ongoing, together with the upcoming spring and summer. As a leader, you should always have faith in a better world and believe that there are great opportunities right around the corner.