As I reflect upon what an entirely unprecedented year of quarantine, isolation, and unique challenges this pandemic has offered us, I am forced to reflect upon some of the singular opportunities it provided us to stretch and grow both personally and professionally. What occurred to me is that while there were incredible challenges, there were also parts that I hope we carry forward into the second half of the year when we have a quiet moment of reflection. A few of the items that I carry forward are:
- Slowing down -- As a world we very much hit the brakes in 2020, and while it was entirely shocking to have offices and schools shuttered in an almost apocalyptic nature, what it offered was a chance to slow down. To evaluate what really matters, to do more with less, to see and hear the things that perhaps we did not take the time to with our prior pace. I saw this at home and at work, and what I hope for in the future when our pace returns is that we are able to focus and value the things that we have lost sight of.
- Work-life balance -- Do we work at home or is our home now work? As someone who has worked from home for years prior to the pandemic even, I found a sudden collision of work and home. We had a “classroom” erected in our dining room overnight just outside my office and suddenly home and work were entirely muddied. What I walk away from the past year is that this blend is okay. My boys bursting on screen during a meeting to share something entirely urgent to them at that time is normal, and balancing both should require no apology. We saw glimpses of people’s lives throughout 2020 and what I gained from it was a respect and deeper understanding of all those that we work with.
- The importance of candor -- There were tough discussions and decisions to be made in 2020. There were feelings of fear, uncertainty and challenges we had to rapidly respond to just to keep moving in a forward direction. I saw this with employees, with customers, with friends, with family. What I walk away with is that we are able to have honest conversations, real conversations, and from those come solutions, innovation and partnerships at a deeper level than I think we may have allowed otherwise. Some of the things we always thought were hard or even impossible to do we became forced to do. What I saw is that we stood at the edge… and we stepped forward.
As we look forward to what I hope is a less isolated second half of the year, I hope we take some of these lessons forward in work and at home. As a leader of a project management team, I hope we exhibit these with our customers. As leaders of projects, we should speak openly and candidly and help our customers drive to the results they expect and need. I hope we offer grace, an understanding of what the balance is at work for everyone, and that we slow down enough to listen, to hear, and to be a better driver for healthcare solutions and outcomes.