Focus Rest & Refresh

This will be my final newsletter for the year. And what a year it has been! Covid has dominated our lives for all but a few weeks in 2020. Concurrently we’ve faced major economic and racial justice issues and upheaval in Washington.

Throughout the year, many individuals and organizations were forced to run at an unsustainable pace, reacting to the chaotic external environment. My hope is that during this holiday season and year-end you will take time to focus on your self-care. Leaders are not immune to vulnerability. Rapid ups and downs are tough on everyone. It’s important to take some time off to refresh and recharge.

You have the opportunity to set an example for your staff. Take some time to not think. Then, when you start to gear up for 2021, consider how you can best support the people who work for and who volunteer with your organization.

While leaders should pay attention to the physical safety and health of employees, the ongoing Covid crisis has shown us the importance of focusing also on their mental health. The illustration below is an excellent resource developed by organizational consultant William Bridges. He offers a model of change. Take time to understand where your people are on the curve, and anticipate next stages.

I always found that it’s important to validate employee concerns by talking about the paradoxes we all face —they could see that I understood the tensions and stress that they faced. By painting a path that acknowledges their stress but offers optimism and confidence, you can inspire employees to attack the new reality with energy and enthusiasm.

As you reflect on the past year, I invite you to revisit my 2020 blog insights, summarized here:

As this year draws to a close, whether you work or volunteer in a nonprofit, I’d encourage you to keep three things in mind.

First, let us hold tight and appreciate the many things for which we can be grateful in these tough times: family, friends, community, jobs and the promise of a Covid vaccine. As we move toward virtual year-end celebrations, Hanukkah, Christmas and more, it is, as always, a time to give thanks for what we have.

Next, let’s reflect on what we did achieve in this year of upheaval. The creative program pivots and changes that were successfully implemented. The number of clients helped and served. The outpouring of major philanthropic donations and unrestricting of grants.

And finally let’s look optimistically toward the future. The year 2021 can be a banner year for each of us, for all of us. As the virus is gradually but determinedly defeated let’s unite and collaborate in creating a world full of promise.

Wishing you good health and best wishes for the holiday season,
Jim Morgan