Two Years in One

December 16, 2020

December is a traditional time in business to look back over the past year, review progress, think about lessons learned, let go of things that no longer serve us and set our sights on what’s to come.

This year the review is a little more complicated. We actually have two years to look back on.

No, I’m not crazy, and we’re not in a time warp. But the year 2020 really is two distinct years – the year we started out with and the year since March 13th

In case you missed it, March 13 is the day that everything changed. The day that the U.S. declared COVID-19 a public health emergency. The day we joined the world in recognizing the pandemic.

You might have a standard review and reflection process that you go through at the end of each year. Most of us do.

This year there are a few additional questions we might want to think about as we move into 2021…some lessons and reflections on the year that none of us expected.

  • What was the most important thing you wanted to accomplish in your business in 2020? Did that goal change once the COVID crisis began?
  • How “change-ready” was your business when the pandemic began? Did you have a change management strategy or process in place? Were you quickly able to pivot or did you sit paralyzed for a bit, hoping for a quick return to “normal?”
  • Has your sense of what is essential to your business success changed from what it was before the pandemic? What have you released since March and how has that release affected your business?
  • If you adjusted your business goal to accommodate the pandemic reality, will your 2021 business goal look more like your initial 2020 goal or like your adjusted goal? What factors contribute to that decision?
  • Have your criteria for making key business decisions changed as a result of the pandemic? What factors are more important now than they were previously? What factors are less significant?
  • If you could describe what the pandemic taught you about yourself and your business in one or two sentences, what would that be?

Our summary: The core principle of our business: “customers are the answer to everything,” is even more true in tough times. When we use this belief as our center, we can pivot successfully in new directions, knowing we’ll be on firm footing.

Back in March, we all thought we might be experiencing a bump in the road. A detour that would last a few weeks or months at the most. But here we are, looking back at two years – the one we thought we’d have and the one we created in pandemic times.

As you plan for 2021, take the best of both years and build a future that will hold you in normal times, in difficult times and in the times between. That’s a sure recipe for success.

Go forth and do great things,


Martha & Chris