I periodically do a review of some global trends that may impact organizations I work with. Here is some of what I am seeing mid-2021.
- Uneven vaccination and recovery – The pandemic has served to accentuate existing inequalities. While some global north countries are going into a ‘recovery phase’ (Australia, New Zealand, parts of Europe, the US), many other countries are still facing extremely challenging circumstances (India) or limited vaccine availability (in Africa, Asia and Latin America). This could last well into 2022-2023, impacting a range of global interactions.
- How much do we really need to fly? – Most estimates don’t have international travel picking up until well into 2022, but even then, might we decide that our pre-pandemic patterns can or should change? With what we have learned by going completely virtually, can we be more strategic about what we need to do in person and what can be done virtually? I wrote some about this last year. And what can we learn from our all virtual experiences of the past year vis a vis strengthening our internal teams? An executive director whose organization has some members in one headquarters location and others working virtually around the world shared that working virtually helped to equalize everyone’s ability to participate in a range of team discussions in a way they hope to keep. Here are some ideas for how other organizations could do that.
- Partnerships – The past year has highlighted the advantages of working in partnerships, with this topic being raised in just about every webinar or virtual workshop or conference I’ve participated in over the past year. If you haven’t already, take the opportunity to intentionally expand your organizations partnerships and networks. Here are some new network examples; with a little research you’ll find others that might align with your organization: World Benchmarking Alliance and Catalyst 2030.
- Using global trends: What global trends will make a difference to your organization? By practicing regular ‘environmental scanning’ you can help “Separate the signal from the noise” says Sarah Castell of IPSOS and find what’s most relevant to your organization. In a recent webinar Sarah outlined some certainties: increasing interconnectivity, remote working, climate emergencies, and inequality; as well as some uncertainties: pandemic and economic recovery; and the political environment. There are many good sources (such as a recent IPSOS report, Shaping 2025 and beyond) to look at to do environmental scanning that can help you plot your organization’s strategic directions. A few years ago I wrote about using the Sustainable Development Goals as a ‘global gateway’ What global connections might best align with your mission? In some cases this may involve stretching your comfort level and taking some chances such as the International Coach Federation taking an organizational stand on climate change. It may feel risky at first but if grounded in your organization’s mission it can help the organization to continue to stay relevant to its members and/or stakeholders.
- The constant of change and what to take forward – If this global pandemic has taught us anything it is about change and disruption being something we need to anticipate going forward. This highlights the importance of increasing your organization’s agility and streamlining your decision making processes. As a senior staff leader, you may want to look for peers to share ideas and your learning on a regular basis.