‘Share sparkling as well as challenging moments’: CMI members share lessons from 2020

Wednesday 06 January 2021
Have a clear vision. Go with the flow. Share sparkling moments as well as challenges. The CMI community shares 2020 learnings and 2021 resolutions
Scrabble tiles spelling out 'Happy New Year'

At the tail end of 2020, we asked the CMI community what they had learned from the challenges of the year and what resolutions they were making for 2021. We had a fantastic response from the community – thank you for getting in touch with us – and were very touched and inspired by your words. They were simply too good not to share, and we wanted to enjoy a moment of hope together before continuing on a difficult path into 2021.

A strong theme in our members’ responses was the continued process of adapting to virtual or ‘fusion’ ways of working. Many reflected on what this means for leadership and team spirit, and are aiming to implement training on new technologies in the new year. In general, many managers are prioritising continued professional development (CPD) in 2021. Managers commented about the need for technology skills training, using technology more effectively, and investing more in automation; others talked about the need to provide adequate laptops to more junior staff.

CMI members share their 2020 learnings

CMI member Mike Saunders who works in quality improvement believes that 2020 has taught him to “find a vision and follow it. The road to success is littered with humps and debris that need to be avoided or engineered away if you are to reach your goal.”

In 2021 he is determined to embed the importance of quality in his organisation “[by] developing the culture of my workplace towards self-sustaining; empowering staff at all levels to decide what quality looks like; and self-assess and plan based on the agreed standards. I will simplify the systems used and establish a coaching and mentoring scheme to support this change.”

The importance of team spirit and communication came through in CMI members’ responses. Some managers want to optimise the frequency of video calls and team meetings in the new year; others highlight the need to better integrate their team.

Sebastiano Finocchiaro FCMI, who’s a global procurement manager in the digital marketing and media field, learned a crucial lesson in 2020: don’t underestimate communication. “Have patience and use clear communication with oneself and others. Be empathetic and invest in staying connected to peers, and keep on improving connections with team members.”

Rosa-Maria Cives-Enriquez MCMI, a trainee education mental health practitioner, says that 2020 has helped her realise the importance of peer support. “Sharing ‘sparkling’ as well as challenging moments with team members (as they too may be feeling the same way),” has been helpful, she says. “I have learned the power of being in the moment with a client and being led by their needs; most of all the power of having a client-led reflective space for clients… and myself as a practitioner. Go with the flow… you don’t know where it will take you!”

Flexible working was another strong theme: managers are keen to provide flexible working options to accommodate staff needs and to explore further potential for flexible working in 2021; others plan to explore what greater implementation of flexible working means for productivity – and minimise the danger of “presenteeism”.

There were a range of views about returning to the office in 2021. Some managers are keen to return as soon as possible, citing the need for improved interpersonal communication and a return to more orthodox working structures and a general sense of ‘normality’. Others extolled the continued value of more flexible, virtual ways of working, even when the pandemic subsides. They point to the potential for improved work-life balance, mental health and wellbeing, and reduced travel.

Andzelika Magierski, an operations delivery manager, says the operational impacts of Covid-19 have been significant: “From a business perspective, changing the operating model from office-based (entire back office operations) to home working was challenging.”

His advice? “Be flexible, think strategically, test new things/fail fast and grow. Develop resilience within your teams and business. Invest more time in strategic and impact planning.”

And lessons from inside CMI

And what did CMI’s own CEO, Ann Francke OBE, take away as a key lesson from 2020? “Be prepared to pivot. Things can change very rapidly,” she says. The advice she’s taking into the new year with her is: “Communicate often and honestly with your teams and make sure they know you trust and value them. People and organisations can do amazing things when they  feel trusted, valued and have clarity around their purpose and objectives.”

We’ll be sharing more of the CMI family’s resolutions with you soon. You can share your own 2021 resolutions with us here. Why not log into our member-exclusive platform ManagementDirect to kickstart your professional goals for this year?

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