Reflecting on 2020, by Ryan Hansen
2020. What a year it has been. They called it "challenging," "uncertain," and "unprecedented." No matter your preferred descriptors, 2020 has been a year unlike any other.
2020 certainly changed Alloy in many ways. COVID-19 was a significant challenge for our business, as it was for millions of others. Looking back on it now, with the benefit of hindsight (insert joke about 20/20 vision here), it's refreshing to recall the lessons and successes amidst the obstacles and surprises.
The Things We Figured Out in 2020
Virtual Options are Here to Stay
Looking back, it's kind of funny to remember how many times Jamie and I went back and forth on taking our training to the digital space. In March, we decided to start sharing daily live videos on our Facebook page, to share some tips and insights for our online community - and we actually got pretty comfortable with it by around the time summer rolled around! We followed that up with a virtual leader forum,...
Leaders always get stuck with the hardest decisions. It can be a blessing and a curse, but every conundrum, every dilemma, and every head-scratcher makes its way onto the desk of the person in charge.
We have seen a lot of leaders making hard choices this year, and some leaders have done better than others. For the sake of learning and growing together, I thought it would be beneficial to analyze a recent situation and recognize the leadership lessons we can take from it. I picked out a scenario that has made monumental waves here in Nebraska, but the lessons within are relevant everywhere.
Let's start with some background. As with everything else, COVID-19 threw a major wrench into the plans for anyone hoping to see college football this year. The outbreak in March canceled spring practices across the country, and fans...
For all the disruption 2020 has dealt most of us, this year has been a boon for the podcast industry. The medium was already on the rise, but circumstances have combined to boost its popularity to new heights. A hiatus from movies, sports, tv shows, and most social gatherings make podcasts an easy choice - you can find a podcast on any subject under the sun, and new episodes are never farther away than your smartphone.
Growth-oriented leaders can leverage the availability and portability of podcasts to soak up lessons from the greatest teachers on leadership and professional development. With that in mind, our team put together a list of our favorite podcasts to fuel your fire and make you the leader you want to follow:
The John Maxwell Leadership Podcast
John Maxwell has been called the world's most influential leadership expert by Inc., and we are proud to call him one of our mentors. Maxwell hosts this podcast...
You know those moments where you hear something and it immediately changes the way you think? That wave of clarity crashes over you, and suddenly it all makes sense! I call these instances "lightbulb moments," and they have marked some important realizations throughout my life.
Two years ago, I had a lightbulb moment I'll never forget.
As I was sitting in a hotel conference room in Orlando, Florida, a trainer caught my attention with this line: "Today, I am going to instantly improve your communication skills with just two questions."
Looking back, I think I rolled my eyes. Okay dude, sure you are, I thought. Let's see you impress this room of trainers...
Then the trainer explained the two questions, and my lightbulb went on.
Human Behavior is Predictable.
People are funny. There are billions of us, from hundreds of countries, cultures, races, and religions, and yet, in many ways, we're all the same.
What if I told you that there is a science to creating positive, memorable experiences for your customers and your employees?
Thanks to authors Dan and Chip Heath, there certainly is! Dan and Chip are academic researchers - Dan works with Duke, and Chip is a professor at Stanford - and they also happen to be brothers. You might know them from their books Decisive, Made to Stick, or Switch, and I recently finished reading their latest book, The Power of Moments. This book is all about how and why certain experiences really stick with us and leave a lasting impact, and how we can use what we know to create lasting experiences for others.
As the Heaths explain, experience and memory are tricky concepts to quantify. The thing is, neither one really follows the pattern we would usually expect. However, we know for certain that memorable experiences - which the Heaths call "Defining Moments" - leave a long and significant impact in...
This is Part 2 in our Reading List series. Click Here for Part 1!
Perhaps the best part of being in the business of developing people is that you come across some truly outstanding resources for personal development. Scratch that - the best part is sharing those resources with others and watching their growth.
With that in mind, the Solutions Team has compiled the following list of our favorite books on personal growth and professional development. You can see the list for yourself, and if anything catches your eye, grab a copy for yourself on Amazon (links included below).
The Infinite Game - Simon Sinek
As Simon Sinek explains, most of us approach business goals like a series of finite games: short, defined periods with expressed goals and a clear endpoint. We chase quarterly sales goals and annual quotas. We know the rules and we know who else is playing, and we do anything we need to do to win THIS game. Then...
I am at a loss for words this week.
The last several days have been filled with hurtful words, painful scenes on unfolding in city streets and TV screens, and challenging - but heartfelt and important - conversations with friends and family. I find myself struggling to find the words to support and lead through days like these.
If you are leading people right now, you have probably found yourself in a similar place. Every day brings a new challenge, so how can we know what our people need from us? When they look to us for leadership, will we be prepared to answer? Great leaders are forged in crisis, and we are certainly in the middle of a leadership crisis right now.
The simple truth is this: in a crisis of humanity, the solution is human values. We need to connect with each other as people, more than as coworkers. Many of us have spent careers learning and perfecting every intricacy of the modern workplace...
Two months ago, how many of us knew the best spot in our house for a video call? How many of us knew how to share our screens or choose a virtual background? How many of us had ever attended a "virtual happy hour," or even heard of such a thing?
The last few weeks have been unusual, to say the least, and it appears that we're in the early stages of returning to something that resembles business as usual. So as the homeschooling winds down and video calls begin to dwindle, you might consider: Are there any components of this time that I want to continue?
That question might have sounded crazy in March, when everything was unfamiliar territory. Weeks later, though, some of us have started to find a new routine. We've adopted new schedules, picked up new habits, even tried to learn new skills. Surely some of those are worth keeping, right? Let's take a look at some of the common themes from this period of isolation.
Former U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt said, "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor." After the last few weeks, I suspect we're all starting to feel like Ferdinand Magellan, the Portugese explorer who sailed all the way around the globe in 1519. Perhaps some days you feel more like the famous castaway Robinson Crusoe.
Whether you're feeling like an accomplished mariner or still finding your sea legs, rest easy knowing that you are facing down the same challenges as millions of other leaders around the world. That's really overwhelming, isn't it? Millions of leaders, all trying to solve the same set of problems. I have good news for you: millions of leaders are all trying to solve the same set of problems.
The global scale of our circumstances means that there are global truths in our circumstances. We're all stressed. We're all uncertain. We're all adjusting to new routines. Once again, the good news: when we all face similar problems, we can all...
A Simple Checklist for Well-Being, from Alloy Solutions
Your guide to managing your physical, mental, and emotional health during isolation.
Time marches on, doesn't it? As these unprecedented times continue, our team has been inspired by the community reaction around the globe - millions of people have shared their insights into living under uncommon circumstances. With that in mind, here's a checklist for some basic daily activities to maintain your well-being:
Don't Skip Personal Hygiene
Years from now, we will probably look back and wonder why everyone decided that staying home meant shirking certain practices. Kick-start your daily productivity by sticking to this daily routine. Take a shower, brush your teeth, and face the day with confidence. Your family members will thank you.
Fuel Your Body
We all know that America runs on Dunkin, but your body runs on water. Make a point to get a few glasses of water each day, rather than a steady diet of coffee. The...