?It ain?t over till it?s over?. Depending on your interests and geography, you might associate this quote either with Lenny Kravits, the famous singer and composer, or Yogi Bera, the famous baseball player and coach. In July 1969, Berra?s Mets trailed the Chicago Cubs by 9½ games in the National League East. The Mets got their act together and won the division title on the final day of the season.
Will we be able to do the same business-wise? What do we need to keep winning?
At DigiQuery, we think these are very good questions for every leader, for every manager and every other team member to ask right now, taking into consideration that most of us have had a tough ride through 2021. There is no easy or unique answer, yet here are some ideas that may bring you closer to the answer.
For the remaining days until the year end
??Focus. Resist the holiday spirit for a few more days (yes, we know this is not easy) and try to keep business focus. As there are for sure some team efforts to be made until the official holiday season start: projects with deadlines in December, deliveries, installations and acceptances to be resolved, clients needing to spend budgets by December 31st. Be present to grab and convert each opportunity.
??Lead. If you are the leader, the best way to capitalize on these final days of the year is to be yourself committed to fight until the end, to reach the last milestone, to get involved or support where your input is needed and to remove blockers for your team. Let them see that you are playing alongside and you have their back. In other words, lead by example.
??Contribute. If you are the employee, no matter what your role is, do whatever you can to contribute to these efforts, do your job as good as you can and keep in mind that your part, as small as it may seem, can change the game and lead to the final win.
??Appreciate. Collectively, you may choose to thank your customers and partners for the journey, for sticking with you along a rough year. It may have not been the ideal collaboration always and maybe some tensions and negotiations have occurred, amplified by the challenging and constantly changing environment. As long as you are still up and breathing, ignore the bruises, be grateful for the opportunities you have created together and be open to explore others. Before that, take a moment to say thank you.
??Celebrate. The same goes for your team. Looking back to 2021 you may have some doubts, maybe you do not look like the old team you were accustomed to. You may have new colleagues with whom you only interacted online, you may miss your old pre-pandemic face to face habits or you may find joy in the new online or hybrid setup. But you adapted and you are moving on. This is a good reason for celebration, whatever form it will take ? online or offline.
Going forward to 2022 and beyond
??Own your past. A ?lessons learned? session is always a good idea. Keep a growth mindset and be honest. Ask your team to do the same and identify without blame or guilt situations where they could have done better, leaders and managers included. You may also get an external facilitator to keep focus and moderate if things get hot. Be sure to get some follow up actions, as concrete as possible, with clear deadlines and owners. Transform them in tasks or even cross company projects if they are more complex and be sure to get corrective actions implemented. This is the safe path to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
??Prepare the future. Once the last order is placed, the last contract and acceptance signed and the last invoice issued, you may find some energy left before holidays to revisit the strategy for early 2022. What are top three actions for January? Who will make them happen? Do they have all they need? Is the team in place and ready to start strong? In many cases how you start the year is a very good indication of how you will end it. That is why it is important to know the prerequisites to have a fast and powerful start.
??Share your vision. Set the stage for success and give your team some insights on the future. This may be tough as well. Given the times we are living we often have more challenges than good news. Even so, open and honest communication is preferable to keeping people in the dark. Science proved that we are wired to fill in the gaps building and believing our own scenarios when information is missing. Experience shows that those scenarios are often much more pessimistic than the truth.
Feel free to choose any combination of the above. There are no perfect answers, there are no recipes. Organizations are different. We are different. But winners stay in the game till the end, because it ain?t over till it?s over.