What a year it has been! Scratch that, what a couple of years it has been!

I won’t lie, this hasn’t been an easy article to put together. I look back at what I wrote last year, and smirk at the naivety and optimism that I think we all felt. The jubilation of making it to Christmas relatively unscathed, and the smugness of little old New Zealand leading the world to the other side of a global pandemic.

It has become a tradition for me to take a moment to look back and reflect on the year that has been, and to also look forward to what is ahead. For those of you that know Steve and I, you know that we strive to look for the good, find the hope and the inspiration, play only the ball that is in front of us.

So to reflect…
For our Sudburys team, we found a new home down on Port Road. Our move was driven by our desire for a world class team culture and an office that was fit for purpose for the work that we do, all the way from Xero training to innovation and workshops! With this move came some new faces (and bodies), but more importantly a closer-knit team environment, complete with lunch room banter, laughter that rings through the office on the daily and cookie pies to celebrate World Accountants Day.

Thanks to the “C” word, this year also meant some time away from the office due to various lockdowns. And this team culture that we have been striving towards shone through – our weekly Teams meetings were filled with crazy costumes, there were heart felt conversations with those of our team who were struggling (myself included), and of course secret socially distanced chocolate deliveries. Safe to say that we all came back to the office with smiles on our faces!

Every day we are proud of our team. But this year was something different. Not only did they continue to rise to every challenge we set, to strive for innovation, and seek better ways of doing things, but they did this with heart and with grit. They supported each other, they taught each other, they laughed, and most of all they had fun. I In the face of their own individual challenges, on the days where they didn’t think they could, they did. And they did it together.

We have seen this heart and grit reflected, not only in our team, but in our clients too. It is no exaggeration to say that we are privileged to work with an incredible group of businesses, organisations, owners, leaders, managers, teams who have also shown heart and grit as they strive for success and growth. There have been days when they (like us) haven’t felt that they have the energy to take the next step or broach the next tough circumstance. But they have.

While this does run the risk of sounding inspirational, I do want to truly recognise how tough this year has been for many. Mental health has delivered a fresh blow to some, and an unexpected blow to others. There have been days where even I wasn’t sure if I could find the energy to deliver how I needed to. The silver lining is that mental health is being discussed around board room tables, in strategy meetings, and over webinars with complete strangers. It is less taboo to admit that even you are struggling, and this can only be a good thing.

As much as a New Zealand summer is reason to celebrate, I think we know already that the challenges are not behind us. We face continued uncertainty, division, pressure… We are not through the pandemic. We are most certainly not through post pandemic challenges like inflation, rising interest rates, changing employment market and expectations, supply chain, and other creaks and groans that the world economy will eek out at us.

So, some things to leave you with as we advance towards 2022.

Fill those cups!
I’m not talking about your beverage of choice! I’m talking about the things that fill you with joy, make you feel alive, give you energy to tackle the world! Find time, make time. You are going to need to feel that joy, to feel alive and ready to take on the new year. There are amazing things to achieve despite this post pandemic hangover, and our cups need to be full in order to do this. Spend that extra day at the beach, buy the shoes, hug those loved ones. It starts with you. To quote a well overused saying – you can’t pour from an empty cup. Fill it up these holidays.

You know this is one of my favourite words. Despite constantly reacting (and then reacting some more) to everything this pandemic has thrown at us, there have still been some great achievements this year for both us and our clients. My challenge to you now is to start 2022 with a solid plan. There is growth and opportunity to be had if you only have a plan to take advantage of it. This means starting from the ground up – what do you want to achieve, how will you achieve it, what do you need to do it, how will you fund it, who do you need? Those with solid plans next year will have solid results despite the whirlwind going on around them. This is the time to be proactive and to reach out and grab that opportunity. Get your best heads in a room, borrow some of ours if you need to (it’s what we do!), but make time to plan!

Attracting and retaining talent will continue to be a challenge. What will make a difference to your ability to both attract and retain is your ability to lead and to inspire. With great leadership will come great results. Your ability to inspire your team, to share your vision, to bring your team on the journey with you, to celebrate them, to genuinely care about them, to coach, to mentor, to help them succeed – this will be your competitive advantage.

A little bit of grace…
As the various challenges and pressures of the present and post pandemic world continue to come to light, there is something else we should dig deep for. A little bit of grace. In a world (and a country) that is fuelling division, and a feeling of ‘us and them’ – we should aspire to walk in the common ground, to be kind, and to live (and lead) with grace.

Merry Christmas.
With Grit. And with Grace.

Website News Images.png