If we know one thing about virtual meetings, we know that the level of expectation is greater than it was a year ago. The second thing we know is that organizations have moved into a one-time forbidden land of remote teams, virtual meetings, no travel and maybe even no annual event. Is it good? Nope. Is it forever? No!
Nevertheless, it’s impossible not to be majorly impressed with the transformation of our workforce and our meetings over the past year. Changes we may have never thought possible, or would have been expensive and lengthy transitions, took place in record time. I wouldn’t even say we pivoted, because that feels more like going backwards; I would say that we leaped into the future of work, amidst what many would consider to be the worst year in our industry.
Let’s start with the many silver linings from personal perspectives, including all the bread making, the side hustles and the family time. Here is where I think we pivoted. We took a step back into a place of pause, even if it was beyond our control, and found things that made us happy. We did things that have been on our “rainy day” lists for years. We found happy, rather than thinking about when we’d become happy. “When I go on vacation”... “When I get a day off”... “When I’m not traveling next month”... “When things slow down”.... “I’m going to” ... fill in the blank. THEN, and only then, will I enjoy my family, take time for me, relax, read, paint, cook, sleep! One of my favorite speakers, Phil Hansen, reminds us that “limitation often breeds creativity.” Haven’t we all learned to create this past year, both personally and professionally? What we have done for ourselves personally has also pushed us to grow professionally. We are better at everything we do if we are better to ourselves.
So let’s get back to this new world we live in: 2021, remote teams and virtual meetings, for likely an indefinite period of time. There is certainly more travel and in-person meetings that are taking place after a brief hiatus. We have taken baby steps toward what is sure to be a fierce return of live engagement. For now, our limitations have inarguably bred creativity. Let’s say that 2020 was the year for you as a person, and 2021 is the year for your career. Take another leap, as we did last year, and this time by choice. We as an industry are continuing to build upon virtual meetings even more. The events in Q4 were completely different from those barely recognizable virtual events from last spring. The stakes continue to climb and the game continues to change. The platforms, production teams, live polls, gamification, avatars, big name entertainment in our living rooms, family viewing, live conversation with top thought leaders, and our very own CEOs and executives streaming live to us from their homes. It’s a beautiful world here in 2021 when you take the time to look around. My advice to you is don’t lose sight of everything you learned in 2020 about yourself, about your happiness and about your work-life balance. Pour that into your love for this evolving industry, one of the industries that was hit the hardest and because of that, evolved the most. We have stories to tell, tips to share and lots to chat about at the hotel bar when we get there this year.
Let us leap into the next chapter of where this amazing industry can take us, alongside our colleagues and partners, to a place that we never could have imagined. I wrote this as I imagined a commencement might go down for our industry. For the longest time I thought a commencement was a speech about finishing something or a successful ending. It’s truly your launching-off point, and the start of a very special time in our lives. I thought we all deserved this, now, after what feels like an eternity of final exams. FICP, 2021 is OUR year, go do great things, make time for fun, and don’t forget to Zoom your parents.