New year, new biz: 7 resolutions to get your 2021 in shape

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Here we are – the end of the year. The time when businesses start to wind down, holidays are planned, and gifts are purchased. The end of the year is also a time when people tend to reflect and make plans or resolutions for the upcoming 365 days. How many times have you heard or maybe even said the ole “I’m going to put my health first next year! My New Year’s resolution will be to join a gym, get fit and lose a few extra kgs”.

After the year we have just had, those types of resolutions don’t seem to carry as much importance as they used to, do they?

As much as we would like to forget that 2020 ever happened, it has taught us a lot of valuable lessons that we can take into the future. Like Richard Branson once said, “Every success story is a tale of constant adaptation, revision and change”.

Whether you’re one to make ‘resolutions’ or not, the end of the year just seems to be the perfect time to reflect on our experiences and achievements, set goals and determine a course of action. Not just for individuals, but for organisations too. We’ve been doing our own reflection and have come up with 7 New Year’s resolutions – or focus areas that every business should consider before diving head-first into the new (hopefully better) year.



1. Get your purpose, strategy and culture into alignment

Purpose, strategy and culture – three very important business elements. Most businesses already have one of these elements. Let’s face it, if they didn’t, it would be a wonder that they were still operating.

What a lot of these organisations don’t understand however, is that these three elements are only really effective if they all work together.

You see, a clearly articulated purpose establishes direction and it shapes an organisation’s strategy. The strategy then drives an organisation towards its desired future state. But how do you demonstrate your purpose and execute upon your strategy without the right culture pushing it along? You can’t.

So, although each one of these elements – purpose, strategy and culture – are pivotal to an organisation’s success, it is impossible for them to be effective in isolation. Each one feeds the success of the next.

Just like the stars, only good things will happen in 2021 when your organisation’s purpose, strategy and culture come into alignment.


3 people with coffee clinking the cups together

We’ll cheers to that! | Photo from Unsplash



2. Make sure your values actually have value

First things first. Most organisations have values – it’s common practice. But tell me something, are your organisational values the type that are printed on posters around the place, ones that people walk past every day but couldn’t actually tell you what they were? If so, I hate to break it to you, but those kinds of values aren’t really worth the paper they’re written on.

Organisational values have so many benefits. They describe the organisation’s core principles, they inform organisational culture, they help with the attraction and retention of top talent and they also guide decision making. It’s true, they can do all of these things, but they can’t do it simply by existing. They need people to know them, understand them and allow their behaviour at work to be underpinned by them.

Organisational values also need to carry meaning for an organisation. Anyone can say they value ‘integrity’, but is that really going to help to guide an organisation? I mean, who wants someone working for them that lies and is deceitful? Seems a bit obvious doesn’t it.

So, for the year ahead, make auditing your values one of your resolutions. Are they useful to your business? Do you live by them and integrate them into the daily working life? If you nail them down correctly, your new year is going to be on an upward trajectory.



3. Take wellbeing from fad to forever

There’s no other way to put it, we’ve all experienced a degree of trauma during this time. Our lives were turned upside down and shaken around with absolutely no warning. Then there was the added fear stemming from the significant, imminent health concern.

To help ease the mental burden of this time, most organisation’s increased their focus on employee mental health and wellbeing and implemented some new initiatives to assist in this area. But what will happen when we truly wave goodbye to this nasty virus and things return back to their (relatively) normal state? Will these initiatives cease to exist?

For 2021, we challenge you to continue on with your initiatives. Employee mental health and wellbeing should be of the utmost importance to your organisation, regardless of whether there is a raging crisis looming over our heads or not.

Be an organisation that promotes and enables wellbeing all the time, not just when we’ve crashed and burned into rock bottom territory.


Person with red shoes running up blue metal stairs

Photo from Unsplash


4. New ways of working are here to stay, so embrace them

Now that we’ve done it for months on end, we have proven that flexibility can and does work. Moving into the coming year, we’ve got to accept that our new ways of working are here to stay and that there is an option to suit everyone.

If you find a great new candidate, but they live in regional Australia and can’t get into the office, hire them anyway! They can work from home. If you’ve got a parent that needs to work flexible hours to be available for their children, let them!

We’ve just gone through an extended period of time where we were forced to be ultra-flexible. We’ve proved we can do it, so why stop now? With a little adjustment, you can really make it work for you and your team, opening up incredible opportunities and outcomes.



5. Get the gift of the gab

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it has taught us the importance of communication. No longer can we just incidentally run into someone in the kitchen or spin around in our office chairs and chat to our team members about whatever it is that’s going on – work or otherwise. We had to switch things up and get ultra-intentional when we decided to reach out to people.

We’ve also come to expect more communication from the top. With all of the uncertainty surrounding operating models and business plans, organisations saw the dire need to communicate quickly and transparently. The people needed answers!

Some organisations sent out weekly business updates to all staff, while others did a weekly 10-minute, live video broadcast with the CEO to give everyone the lowdown. Teams scheduled check-ins at the start of the day and end of the day.

Heading into 2021, people are still going to bear the scars of the year gone by. Instead of leaving your newly found communication skills and frequency in the past – keep it going. You’ll find that your workforce will find comfort in the transparency. After all, this experience has brought us all a little closer anyway.


Neon sign with 'hello' written inside a speech bubble, hanging on concrete wall

Photo from Unsplash



6. Become a socialite

Since the pandemic completely eliminated all chances of us having incidental chats with our workmates, we’ve had to put a little more effort into this area. As the need for human interaction grew, so did our inclination to reach out to one another, whether that was via phone, slack, email or video call. We’ve even seen the introduction of some new social initiatives such as ‘Friday afternoon drinks’ and ‘coffee roulette’- we’ve had a wonderful time (well as wonderful as it could possibly have been during lockdown).

Though, as we begin to return to the office, we seem to have a shared understanding that these regular activities and interactions will stop. Why is it that we are thinking of these initiatives as temporary, pandemic-only activities? It’s been great getting to know each other outside of the surface-level elevator encounters. Let’s not say goodbye to our new social initiatives as soon as we ring in the new year.



7. Let the personal persona’s merge with the professional persona’s

Let’s face it, we all put on a bit of a different persona depending on whether we are at work or at home. But the pandemic did a great job of blurring those lines, didn’t it?

We know so much more about each of our colleagues. We got a peek into their homes, we’ve met their partners, we’ve seen their pets and we’ve witnessed their kids have tantrums in the midst of a meeting.

COVID-19 has allowed us to appreciate the deeper nature of each other’s lives. But what do we do with this information? Do we just forget that we sat in each other’s homes? Do we have to go back to our strictly professional personas, pretending that life doesn’t exist outside of work?

Well, I would hope not. This pandemic has taught us that we can actually bring our whole selves to work and the world doesn’t stop spinning. There are no storms made up of fire and brimstone. We still get the job done, all while being our authentic selves.

This could actually be one of your biggest assets for 2021 if you encourage it to continue. The more authentic we are, the stronger our relationships become within our teams. We all know the benefits of a strong, close-knit team, don’t we? So, do it! Let the personal persona creep into the work one. You won’t regret it.



So, before you wind down for the year, take some time to envision your business in a post-pandemic world. Have you got all of your ducks in a row to ensure a better 2021? Add these 7 resolutions to your list and you’ll certainly be on your way.



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