Here’s to a terrific ’23

… and to the year we’ve now wrapped up

Just think of the year we’ve had. Some who’ve enjoyed remote or hybrid work have found expectations shifting again, and will return or already have returned to commuting and spending more time in the office. Extreme weather conditions have impacted people around this globe of ours. Lives have been disrupted and are at stake in Iran, Ukraine and more. We’ve marked the end of our Elizabethan era and bid farewell to others, including Pelé – whom my husband still counts himself fortunate to have briefly met many years ago.

Last year’s equivalent of the Dutch tulip market bubble  Last year was anything but an uneventful time.  Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Omicron weren’t the only COVID variants. XBB 1.5, a new COVID variant that’s informally referred to as the Kraken, began to spread at the tail end of 2022.

What else? 2022’s cryptocurrency boom and collapse may reasonably be compared to the Dutch tulip market bubble of the 1600s. We’ve gone from supply chain challenges to inflation, and many are facing significant cost of living increases amid recession rumblings. Talk of great resignations, reshuffling and quiet quitting has been supplanted to a degree by hiring freezes and job losses, and quiet firing is likely to quietly continue. At the same time, many of you are in healthy labour markets and careers you enjoy. I know readers who’ve recently landed impressive new positions – including leadership roles – and negotiated equally impressive compensation packages.

Change  I believe change will continue to be a fact of life, and I also view change as opportunity. There’s a not so new acronym making the rounds, and it’s VUCA. Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus introduced the term in their book Leaders in the 1980s, with each letter of the acronym representing a leadership challenge. VUCA has traditionally signified volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. As the Harvard Business Review so eloquently put it, VUCA may be seen as “… a catchall for ‘Hey, it’s crazy out there!'”

This is nothing new, and any assistants who’ve been in the career for a while are more than familiar with VUCA – or at least the UCA aspects of ambiguity, complexity and uncertainty. These days, some are suggesting we approach this acronym through a different series of lenses, with VUCA representing vision, understanding, clarity, and agility or adaptability.

Do you find change daunting? While it may at times feel that way, just think of all the changes the people of the (Roaring) Twenties a century ago underwent. Then, people began relying on all sorts of new or newly accessible technology. Moving pictures (movies), radios, electric fridges and stoves represented technological innovations or breakthroughs. Mass production meant cars became attainable to more people. While we weren’t around in those days, I was around in the late 1970s and remember one elderly relative’s reaction to microwaves. She was concerned about radio waves and refused to allow one in her home. Now, few homes in many parts of our planet are without one.

Resistance to change is something I learned about in my early days as a software trainer, and that’s how this intelligent and otherwise open-minded relative felt about using a microwave. That’s the thing. Many office and household tools and resources we take for granted once represented groundbreaking technological advances that more than a few people may have perceived as intimidating or dangerous.

We’ve begun 2023 with another tech advance already on our horizon, and it’s known as ChatGPT.

Familiarise yourself with ChatGPT

 ChatGPT  We’ve come to rely on tech resources more than ever in the last 34 months, and there’s another new kid on the block. This is a form of open source artificial intelligence (AI). Within five days of its release last month, more than a million users had signed up to take advantage of it. You’ll want to be among those paying attention to ChatGPT.  I’ve begun playing with it – and think it helpful to bring curiosity and a sense of fun to our learning – and will continue to do so.

 While it’s early days, with room for increased sophistication, ChatGPT is being touted as a valuable tool for speech and content writing as well as emails, reports and … you can see where this is going. As we embark on 2023, think about how you’re of value to your employer and stakeholders, and the extent to which your positive impacts are known. If you’ve seen me present, you’ve likely heard me talk about not only performing at a high level, but also investing care in your image and exposure (visibility).

What else should we consider in navigating the 2020s and change itself?

Aspirations Start with thinking about your aspirations, for this year and the long term. Working backward from there, forget about resolutions. Instead, identify stepping stones (goals/benchmarks) you’ll establish, and the resources you’ll need to achieve those goals. What steps will you put into action as you work toward those goals, and what metrics or benchmarks will you establish to assess progress and the almost inevitable adjustments you’ll make along the way? How routinely will you assess your progress, and how will you hold yourself accountable?

What are your aspirations? Have you thought about them lately?

Where do you invest your energy and time? As we identify and work toward goals that support our aspirations, it’s more important than ever to prioritize how we deploy our energy.  What attitude do you take to work with you each day, and in your home life? We need to be adept at self management in the best of times, and all the more so when facing challenges. Our ability to communicate effectively, in person and over a variety of mediums, is a factor in our progress and success. Emotional intelligence (EI/EQ) and cultural intelligence (CI/CQ) can be valuable in helping us continue to enhance these skills. When we work on our EQ and CQ, we elevate our capacity to navigate the complexities of today’s workplaces and build meaningful connections with others.

Where do you invest your energy and time? Are you intentional, and making thoughtful choices?

Elevate business insights and core skills while nurturing personal and organisational resilience  We can and should routinely update core skills and competencies. We do this so we’re effective strategically as well as transactionally, and in terms of those human/interpersonal skills labelled as “soft”. We can keep our minds and eyes open to business insights and other factors (think cyber awareness, ESG, governance, risk management, strategic planning and more) impacting organisational resilience, and to perceptions of the extent to which we add value. Given all this, personal resilience is more critical than ever.

Elevate business insights, maintain currency with core skills, and nurture resilience

What I’m doing about this  Beyond continually investing in my own development, I’m keeping an eye on your needs. It’s with all these considerations in mind that I’ve continued to add to my portfolio of presentations. If we’ve worked together before, you already know I take care in customizing presentations for each and every audience. Here’s a sampling of just some of the new sessions I’ve developed and included in my 2023 presentation catalogue.

✅Navigating the Transition from Peer to Leader

✅Q1 in Your New Role: Strategies for Success

✅Future Ready: Confidence Amid Times of Change

✅Communicating With Difficult People, and How to Constructively Disagree

✅Career Boot Camp

✅How to Ditch Defensiveness

✅Navigating the Twenties with Emotional and Cultural Intelligence

✅The Resilient Assistant: Taking Chances on Yourself

✅C-Level Strategies and Acumen Without the MBA

✅How to Become Your Own Career Strategist

✅Mentorships: Collaborations for Mutual Growth

✅Reverse Planning and Other Strategies for Career Success

Would you like to bring me to your workplace or event? I’m of course continuing to offer presentations on core skills and competencies as well as advanced topics. From minutes, business writing, assertiveness, confidence, leadership, personal branding (and more) to cyber awareness, ESG, governance, risk management and strategic planning, I aim to deliver education and inspiration while challenging your thinking. If you’d like to work together this year, please click here to contact me online or click here to send me an email, and we can begin our conversation.

Appreciation and good wishes  This article comes with my appreciation to clients, readers and friends – and many of you land in two or three of these camps. I appreciate and continually strive to earn and maintain your trust and confidence in my ability to positively impact you, your stakeholders, and your career. Let’s be intentional in the attitudes we bring to our new year. Enjoy making the most of these 365 days! I wish you happiness, good health and fun, along with meaningful connections and continued progress.

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