3 Strategies to Drive Results in 2021

By Jennifer Eggers, Andersen Alumnus and Founder and President of LeaderShift Insights®,

It is with a sigh of relief, a bit of trepidation and a great deal of hope that we usher in 2021. In a sense, everything has changed and, in another sense,, not much has changed at all. We hope this will be the year brings and end to the pandemic that can feel like it has a strangle-hold on our organizations, but the reality is that we are a long way from the confidence to say we are all fine. Whether we like it or not, we return to work in the same environment we left, but hopefully, with a bit more rest, a lot more hope and more preparation.

So the question is, what do leaders and organizations need right now to launch into 2021 and set our organizations up for success this year? We learned a lot last year working with hundreds of senior clients and what we’ve discovered is that there are 3 things that are absolutely required…and a couple action steps to take immediately. 2021 will likely continue with a high degree of disruption. We know that adapting to disruption and driving growth in a landscape of rapid disruptive change require organizations to have 3 things:

  1. Clear alignment on strategy. Most leaders say they are aligned, but are they really? Research tells us that a full third of senior managers cannot select their organization’s strategy from a list. If you asked you team, even in their own words, would every one of them be able to clearly articulate where you’re going this year and a clear set of priorities that drive it? If they can come close, it might be OK, but what happens when disruption hits and in the heat of the moment decisions need to be made? Do they look to you or are they able to respond as one? Putting in the time to align around strategy, clearly articulate it, and ensure every team member knows where they fit in ensures that the right decisions are made, investment priorities are clear and eliminates the infighting, hidden agendas, silos and jockeying for resources that can waste time and derail an organization facing disruption.
  2. Intentional leadership excellence. This may sound like a cliché, but if 2020 taught us anything, it was that the leaders who were intentional about providing excellent leadership won the long game. As the world switched to working virtually, it was easy to disconnect and provide less leadership. Leaders who were strategic in finding ways to engage their teams have teams that are closer and more collaborative today than they were before the pandemic. Those who did not, in many cases, have struggled to maintain productivity and dealt with greater burnout and disengagement. A new year provides a chance to reset around leadership strategies that keep teams engaged and collaborating even though they might not be in the office for a while. These may include daily check-ins, weekly one on ones, team building lunches or whatever it takes to remind people that they are a part of something beyond their couch and laptop.
  3. Organizational resilience. We are rapidly approaching another year of disruption. A few weeks ago every client I had was lamenting the level of burnout and fatigue. As we reengage leaders going into 2021 after a brief break and before things go full speed ahead, we have a chance to focus on building the resilience we will need to drive growth and prosper in the new year. This is the time to start talking about what it would take to become more resilient individuals, teams, and organizations. Our book, Resilience: It’s Not About Bouncing Back (How leaders and their organizations can build resilience before disruption hits) presents a clear framework you can use to do this. Building resilience is about our (or our team’s) mindset and the choices we make. Mindset is about being authentic and choosing our attitude and choices are about getting clear on our purpose and how we define success. Underlying all that are our core beliefs. Working through the framework as a group creates alignment and will build the resilience you need to ensure that people have some extra ‘margin’ and are on the same page when disruption hits.

We work with leaders and organizations facing disruption to improve their capacity to adapt so they can emerge and grow more effectively faster. If you want to make progress in this area right now, this January, check out our Leadership Reengagement Plan at [insert link]. There is a lot you can do yourself, but if you would like some help thinking it through, call us. It’s what we do.

Jennifer Eggers is an organizational resilience expert who works with leaders and teams facing disruption who want to increase their capacity to adapt. Known for facilitating high-stakes meetings with disparate stakeholders, helping new executives demonstrate visible leadership fast, and creating organizational alignment, Jennifer is a consultant and senior executive coach. She is the creator of RapidOD, a revolutionary approach to organizational restructuring and groundbreaking workshops on resilience and adaptive leadership that ‘turn everything you know about corporate training upside- down’.

Jennifer is a former Partner at Cambridge Leadership Group and has held senior roles at Bank of America, AutoZone, AlliedSignal and Coca-Cola Enterprises. She is a strategic partner with University of GA Executive Education and an Advance Practitioner in Adaptive Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School. Her book, Resilience: It’s Not About Bouncing Back is an international best-seller. Find Jennifer online at www.leadershiftinsights.com or jeggers@leadershiftinsights.com.