As I begin to reflect on 2020, two important points come to mind. These ideas have been reinforced for both myself and the rest of the Kitchen Table Consultants team through this unprecedented and challenging year. 

Reminder #1: Hope is a renewable resource, and we should refill it daily. 

Let’s face it, we’ve been handed a lot of crap this year. I’ve seen the toll that the pandemic, politics, and social issues take on people. This includes the KTC team, our customers, and the people in our community. They are tired and scared. The heavy weight of these current events can lead to fading hope.

Our responsibility as business leaders during a time like this is to promote hope. We can remind the people we impact that things will change and eventually we will move forward. Hope is what gives us the strength to see and push through the muck and mire thrown our way.

If you’re wondering how to practice this, the answer is simple: Lead with your own emotional vulnerability. 

I spoke directly with the KTC team about hope and shared my belief that these tough times will pass and that things will get better. We have had multiple meetings in which we gave our employees space to exhale, support one another, and spread some love. Remember that sometimes, all your people may need is a safe, supportive space to vent. Every morning when I get out of bed, I make a conscious effort to refill my hope for the future and work diligently to spread that hope to our team, clients, and community.

Reminder #2: People are the most important asset of any organization.

In 1985 during my freshman year in college, I sat in a 400 person business class. Ken Blanchard, the author of The One Minute Manager, was the guest lecturer. I remember him asking one pivotal question:

“What is a business’s most important asset?”

After multiple attempts at answers (remember, we were a bunch of 18-year-olds), Ken finally said, “Your people.” That statement has stuck with me and served me well.

When the COVID-19 pandemic broke, KTC committed to keeping our employees safe and paid on time (even before the PPP money was made available). We also prioritized open, supportive conversations. Our goal was to emphasize the importance of our people and ensure they knew to take care of themselves and their families first. We wanted our team to know that we would be there for them, no matter what.

As we enter a new year, remember that people are what keep your business running. Treat them as your most valuable asset—because that’s exactly what they are. Spread the message to your team that you care about their wellbeing and that of their families. And don’t use just words—actions speak louder. Take the time to ask employees how they are doing, look for ways to support them, and make sure they are able to take care of themselves and their families.

This is a difficult time for many, so operate with an extra healthy dose of patience, forgiveness, and empathy. Be flexible with your employees, customers, and vendors. You never know what people are going through, so above all else, treat those around you with grace.

Closing Out 2020

This reflection is meant to renew some hope and inspiration for you by giving you some food for thought. That said, I’ll leave you with two questions: 

  • How are you renewing hope among your team and those around you? 
  • Are you putting your employees first and showing them that they are valued? 

If you need coaching or advice for managing and developing your team, KTC is here. Contact us to learn how we can help you and your team through these challenging times.

I wish you and your loved ones a strong closeout of 2020, happy holidays, and a Happy New Year.