Paul Hargreaves: What have we learned in 2020?
It’s been quite a year, tragic for those who have lost loved ones to Covid, some unavoidably and some unnecessarily due to the UK not locking down quickly enough. Not discounting the loss of life though, I do think that we are as nation, as a business community and as a planet may have had seeds sown that will benefit many in the years to come. So, what have we learned in 2020?
- Many have learned resilience, being pushed to extremities by difficult circumstances and to our surprise we have come through. This will be worth much in the years to come.
- Many have learned to be adaptable and flexible as they have changed their business model and their modus operandi, whether that has been to change from a B2B model to B2C or vice versa or the realisation that our people do work effectively from home after all.
- I think many of us have learned the value of community whether that was getting to know neighbours during the clap for carers on Thursday night or whether we have been a vital part of the community action of providing food boxes for our vulnerable members. Maggie Thatcher was wrong, there is such thing as society, and we have all learned some of what that is in 2020.
- Caring for our people is something many leaders have learned over the year. Some have introduced wellness sessions and others have been checking in on those who work for them with care not seen before. Let’s hope this continues well into 2021 and beyond.
- Many have learned to enjoy the earth in which we live. We enjoyed the clean air, the quiet roads and being able to hear the birds sing. With the gym shut we exercised outdoors, and some saw where they live properly for the first time and it was good. Others were not so privileged being stuck in cramped living conditions in cities.
- We learned the value of our key workers: the delivery drivers, the care home workers, the supermarket shelf-stackers and the nurses and we realised how wrong the world is when directors of some businesses are paid more in a day than these vital workers earn in a year.
- Many came to a fresh realisation of the racial injustice still present in our countries, especially those who, like the UK, performed a key role in the slave trade. I hope many of us remember this and work hard to eliminate bias from our companies and communities in 2021.
- Some learned of our interdependence with all humanity and indeed all living beings on the earth. After all, if an incident in a fish market in China can impact the whole world how are we not inter-connected? Some saw Covid as nature’s warning to the world that we must treat our planet with more respect.
What have you learned in 2020 and how are you going to behave differently in 2021?
Whatever that is, have a great Christmas and let’s all live life to the full in 2021.