There has been lots thought about and said over the past two extraordinary years. I won’t repeat any of that here and now. We have all had to take urgent and unexpected actions as well. But I wonder have you taken the time to reflect upon all of that in measured terms?
And by that I mean, have you sat down with your CV and looked at it again, to make sure you have included all the experiences and learning points that have emerged from leading and managing through a global pandemic? What should you be celebrating and acknowledging, and what should you be telling yourself, your employer, or potential employers, about what you now bring to the table?
There will be many things we share in common, and some stark differences. Here’s my reflection on the things I would like to squeeze into my CV.
First comes the live implementation of contingency planning. We have had plans for years, but fortunately we have never had to use them. The past two years has given hugely useful practical experience, not only involving pressing the ‘go’ button, but including regular reviews, changes and improvements.
A major part of this contingency was of course having to design and deliver all sorts of communications to the team to lead them through uncertain times, and to identify what people needed and wanted. Leading change through a lens of worst-case scenario is not great, but there was some satisfaction in being found to be right on occasion – when the unthinkable did indeed occur.
The more stressful element was implementing a necessary but open and inclusive business review process. This inevitably resulted in managing a redundancy programme. My third as it happens. It was probably the one that went best. We all had a unifying common enemy in COVID-19 – which went along way to smoothing out some of the more traumatic effects.
Keeping a weather eye on the external environment is a core leadership skill. And in this case, it was the daily task of appraising, interpreting, and second-guessing the ever-changing government guidance and funding offers. Sharing it in summary and reassuring form to support colleagues and clients alike through verbal and written briefings.
It can be tempting to plough all one’s energy into helping and supporting others to the expense of self-care, especially when you are in the care sector. But adopting and settling into new routines, environments and ways of working is an obvious process many have navigated. Being deliberate and conscious and determined with self-care has helped enormously, and helping others to do the same.
That has included adapting to and embracing new technologies in the form of Zoom, Teams, Eventbrite and the like and developing and honing onscreen delivery of everything. One thing we are particularly proud of has been the way in which we have regularly brought all our clients and contacts together using such technology for their and our benefit. It has meant the world to us (and them) in personal, business, and professional terms.
We also designed many new products and services to be delivered in new ways. I have noticed a marked improvement in tender (or bid or proposal) design and writing skills over the period and evidence by a remarkable success rate. Some of that happened at just the crucial moment. This has undoubtedly been helped by more desk time, and less rushing around appearing busy, and taking the long train or car journeys. Indeed, this has resulted in the business surviving a rocky 2020, and bouncing back through an unpredictable 2021, and breaking the records we have set in over 20 years of business in the process.
For my revised CV, there are key themes around: planning, leading, communication, adapting, technology, self-care, product development, sales and marketing, client relationships, external environment, finance, and improvements. I wonder what yours could look like?