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2020 on a purple background

2020 - What A Year

Tim Cox
December 21, 2020

Individuals, teams and organisations have been tested in ways none of us expected. In our final learning lab of the year we shared 9 key trends the MF team have seen during 2020. These were highlighted through direct experience, conversations with clients and our own research. Below we offer a few headline thoughts for each...

Wellbeing – has been high on the agenda particularly as the year progressed, virtual calls mounted up and energies waned. In one conversation, that sticks with me, the appetite for ‘Resilience Training’ was questioned. I paraphrase here and…’here’s an idea - how about leaders stop asking people to do so much instead!?

Asynchronous – Broadly speaking ‘back to back’ Zoom calls won’t cut it. The importance of Asynchronous platforms we can use to communicate and work through is now amplified.

Autonomy – Necessarily individuals have had more autonomy. Some people have embraced this, others have struggled. Close monitoring of work or ‘micro-management’ has been more difficult. Empowering individuals and teams a must. As one senior member of the HR community remarked “The virtual world has opened up a gap between mediocre managers and those who are exceptional”. Another person reflected ‘there is no longer and hiding place for those can’t lead’.

Adaptability – The need for people to adapt and adjust; again and again and again! In the words of one of the world’s leading Football Managers, Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp… “We deal with it. We recover. We plan. We go again”.

Innovation – Organisations are recognising that in order to be adaptable they need to innovate. Their leaders need to have the skills, tools and techniques to enable that; in themselves and in others.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (D, E & I) – to the fore following the murder of George Floyd in late May, it feels like there has been a genuine shift in the public consciousness. There’s a long way to go. There is also renewed energy and commitment to ensure we get there.

Inclusive Leadership – allied to D, E & I this is about equipping leaders to embrace the diversity that exists within their teams. To ensure difference becomes a driver of performance and everyone is able to contribute.

Teaming – This concept advocated by Amy Edmondson goes from strength to strength. Organisations are aspiring to become ‘Networked Organisations’ where stable teams exist alongside ‘pick up’ teams where all individuals need to become comfortable joining and functioning effectively within teams on a short term, temporary basis.

Coaching – There’s been a resurgence in demand for coaching in 2020. Always a relevant support for leaders it’s been a vital source of solace, reflection and inspiration this year.

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