Being strong in 2021
One of the benefits of having a totally digital publication is that it’s very easy to look back and see what we were discussing a year ago. My leader for January 2020 was prophetically entitled ‘Time for a change’. I had in mind encouraging people to diversify their businesses to give them strength and breadth in a world that was changing rapidly and was, to a large extend, uncertain. Hmmm!
I claim no great insight. I had no more idea what was going to happen in 2020 than anyone else and, even as late as early March, I was convinced it was all going to be over in a week or two. But what transpired did demonstrate that those companies that had diversified to provide a wide range of activities, were able to weather the storm, that is still raging in much of the world, a little better. I think also that the mindset of those who had taken a broad approach to service provision, accepting change and willing to grasp opportunities and take calculated risks, helped them when they were faced with responding to change more rapidly and radically than ever before.
I was genuinely impressed by some companies’ willingness to embrace new technology: to try things and make them work as best they could. Working from home is a good example, as is the endeavour of associations to continue providing services to their members through online video conferencing, continuing the culture of togetherness and family, despite not being able to meet in person. There is no better example than IAM’s virtual conference. It was a success, despite some predictions, and I am delighted to bring you reports of three more panel discussions in this issue that are both thought-provoking and informative.
This ability to flex when the weather changes is a great strength and a real testimony to the ingenuity and adaptability of our industry. I believe this is largely what will see us through whatever 2021 has in store for us. Make no mistake, although we now have vaccines being deployed widely, which should give us a passport out of this mess, there are no guarantees: viruses are tricky. This year will be difficult, but if we can show the same resolve that we did last year, I am convinced that we will prevail. In 1888 German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said, “Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” Let’s try to prove him right.