For a variety of reasons, 2023 was a challenging year both personally and professionally. It also interestingly provided me the most growth – after all, difficult situations can be great teachers if we are paying close attention.
Looking back, I traveled over 400,000 miles and 150 days in 2023. Much of the work I was hired to help introduce has been about vision and transformation. Neither is easy. Each nonetheless become a necessity for any business desiring to maintain relevance today.
Niccolo Machiavelli said it best, “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” Not everyone will agree with you. Some will work against you. However, if you want to build a better company or organization, you can’t have complacency. You can’t have selfishness. They are culture killers.
Reflecting on the process of introducing change, I was reminded how clear and consistent communications play a critical role. Be bold in your thinking but slow down to ensure everyone understands why the future can and should be better than the present. Work extensively and methodically in your messaging. Without it, people can mistakenly jump to false conclusions that could have been avoided early on.
There was also a cautionary reminder for me about the importance of maintaining the right levels of optimism and joy. In any leadership role, people need you at your best. It comes with the job. But trying to be everywhere and all things to all people is a failed strategy. You only have so much emotional energy each day to pursue your dreams, to enjoy your family and friends. Be highly selective in how you spend that time.
Whatever challenges this last year has brought, it was an important affirmation of the power of self-belief. Trusting in your instinct. Knowing that you can in fact make a difference. Equally, how essential a trusted team is to help build and achieve the vision that has been set.
Yes, there will always be naysayers – it is part of the progression. Tough conversations and healthy debate must occur to create the best outcomes. However, in any challenging environment I am also convinced that kindness always wins.
Stay good-hearted. Remain the bright light and keep pushing forward. Amazing things will happen!