Insights / organizational change, future, ways of working

New Ways of working for 2021 and Beyond

What did 2020 reveal about what is possible?

2020 was hard. We struggled to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of people fought for racial justice – in the streets, in governments, in local communities, and in our workplaces. And while we may be exhausted, the difficulties and challenges we faced also showed us what might be possible – if we are willing (or forced) to let go of some deeply held expectations and assumptions about how we work.

“I’d say that 2020 was a trainwreck and a shitshow, but that would be offensive to trains and shit.” 

– Leslie Jones, comedian

As we look ahead, eager to get to the other side of this period of crisis, we should take a moment to appreciate what 2020 revealed about how adaptable we can be, how we can support our teammates, and how resilient our organizations can be if we are willing to embrace change.

Our team at August has been inspired by how our clients responded to the challenges of the past year. Having led change with many different organizations over many years, it was incredible to see what leaders and teams were capable of. 

We saw senior leaders trusting their teams, and committing to new decision-making processes that pushed authority toward the edges of the organization. We saw teams become more nimble by quickly adjusting priorities, limiting work in progress, and letting go of the need for overly detailed long-term plans. We saw individuals demonstrate vulnerability, bravery, and empathy for each other as they did their best to support each other through incredible personal and professional adversity.

This is a way of showing up at work that we have been advocating for and trying to help organizations develop for years. 2020 turned out to be a looking glass, revealing that this shift was more urgent and more possible than ever before.

Here are 5 specific mindset and behavior shifts that we believe can be a foundational playbook for a new way of working.

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Over the next few weeks we will be sharing more about each of these shifts, how our clients responded, and how you can get started.



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