Here’s what you already know: the last 2 years were flat-out harder than life’s supposed to be. We’ve been disrupted, reinvented, unprecedented, new normaled, hybrided, varianted, boostered, masked, isolated, quarantined, and otherwise generally upheavaled.
Remember when we thought 2021 was the year things were going “back to normal?”
In that context, it feels odd to attempt to look forward to 2022 and give advice or guidance, but my advice here is not about predicting what will happen. Rather, I’d like to suggest three mindsets that we should adopt to help us deal with whatever 2022 is going to throw at us.
Mindset #1: Growth is expected. This has never been more important. The opposite of a growth mindset is a “fixed” mindset, which assumes that your ability to deal with the world is fixed—you can either handle it or you can’t. A growth mindset assumes that you can learn, that you can find the answer, that you can overcome the obstacle with enough learning and growth. When you don’t know what’s coming in 2022, this agile mindset is critical.
Mindset #2: Inclusion is a verb. Congratulations for that strong statement in support of diversity, equity, and inclusion that you released in the summer of 2020. So, what have you done since then? And, more importantly, what are you going to do next? Your mindset towards DEI in 2022 needs to be action oriented; it’s time to DO something. But as you move to implementation, don’t forget that there are cultural underpinnings to successful DEI work, particularly if you’re getting serious about raising awareness or making structural and process changes internally. Not all cultures handle that work well, so make sure that yours will.
Mindset #3: Culture is why they will stay. The great resignation is a thing; many people are re-evaluating their work lives, particularly now that they are being asked to spend more time in the office again. That means almost everyone is looking at your culture as if they were a job candidate, rather than a long-time employee. If employees see holes in your culture, they’ll start looking elsewhere, even if they currently love their job. Find the holes in your culture, and fix them. Your culture is the single-most powerful retention tool you have right now.
I believe we need to go into 2022 with these kinds of proactive mindsets in place. I think the waiting game is over.
Photo by Joshua Earle