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Now What? How to Move Forward in 2021

December 28, 2020
Don

Will it be a happy new year? That’s up to each one of us to decide. We can’t control many things in our life, but we can take charge of our attitude and beliefs.

This is a great week to tune our attitudes and beliefs into the right frequency and start 2021 with a clear head.

To get your mental gears going, here are a few things to consider:

  1. 2021 will not be a linear extension of 2020, nor will it return to what we all knew to be our reality in 2019. 2021 is a year of building new capabilities, seizing new market opportunities and designing a bridge to 2022.
  2. Your planning assumptions for 2021 events and trade shows need to be agreed upon and documented so you can adequately plan for investment spending and success. Since none of us knows exactly what the new year will look like, a few key assumptions will at least get you moving forward. I’ve made several assumptions about 2021 that inform what I’ll be focused on and it’s been very freeing.
  3. Do you have a stated ambition and vision for what success looks like on 12/31/2021? Survival and cost-cutting are what we endured in 2020. Next year must be about growth, forward motion, smart risk-taking and optimism. No organization can save their way to prosperity. There aren’t many costs left to cut.
  4. What are the most pressing problems and opportunities your members and event audiences will have in 2021? Do you know? If not, there’s still time to learn and adapt your offering next year to meet them where they are. Zoom focus groups, in-depth interviews and hypothesis testing are great ways to spend the first few weeks of the new year.
  5. What are the top 3 gaps in your organization's ability to achieve success next year? An honest assessment will liberate you and your team to close these gaps and start the year off with clarity and optimism.

I don’t suggest using 2020 as the lens through with to view the future. I’m reminded of the disclaimer that mutual funds proffer: past performance is not indicative of future results. I believe we more often achieve what we expect, plan for and focus our energy on, than what we don’t. The adage that 'failing to plan is planning to fail' is an adage for a reason.

Close the books on 2020. Start a new chapter. See the possibilities, create your own path and “live out of your imagination, not your history” (Stephen Covey).

Wishing you a new year full of hope, promise and a vision that compels you to live your best life.

Don Neal
Founder & CEO

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