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The Intentional Organisation - Issue #15 - 2020: A Retrospective
1. 2020: A Retrospective
We all agree that 2020 has been, collectively, one of the most f#@*$d up years of the last decades! Yet I think that if we go down to our personal experiences, we can find some treasure gifts also in these dark times, in terms of learning and rediscovering parts of us that we had forgotten.
I must admit that it is not Covid the disease that hit my life the hardest this year. Just as Italy was entering its first lockdown, we discovered that Morgana, our five years old beautiful black Labrador, had a bone tumour in her rear left limb. We had to get her amputated. I still recall travelling to the Animal Hospital in Zurich for her first Chemio treatment, in an almost unreal scenario. We probably crossed ten cars at most in the three hours drive from home there.
Against all the odds, she's still with us today, still under treatment, but giving us, personally, an enormous lesson of what resilience truly means. Yes sure, we humans project on animals a lot... but seeing her jumping, swimming this summer at sea, enjoying the autumns' leaves in the woods or running in the snow a few days ago, have all been genuinely refreshing moments.
It also pushed me to appreciate much more every day and every moment spent with her. As such, the lockdown and remote work meant I had spent more time with her in the last nine months, then in the previous four years. It might be selfish, but I'm thankful for this, and the significant learning through the pain of this situation.
This learning has also pushed me back into activism. It took time, but I have been more assertive in the topics I have been writing about, and in the way, I wanted to address specific issues - like that of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, for example, the need to focus more on Organisation Design, the need to reflect on the Meaning of Work. I tried to contribute to projects such as #GoodAfterCovid, and have been active in a small network of Change Leaders that has the vision to have an impact. You'll hear more about this in 2021.
I have focused my curiosity and creativity outward, and am happy on the tutoring assignments that I have been able to pursue this year. Recently, I've also redeveloped ties with my old student's association, AEGEE, a network that has genuinely changed my existence, but that I had left somewhat in the corner of my memories.
The outside world is full of negativity, pain, difficulties, unemployment, poverty. The staggering number of deaths linked to Covid, should not let us forget that this was also a year of conflict, both in war zones as well as in many countries. It will take a decade, at least, to rework the fabric of civil trust that social distancing has eroded.
Yet, if we stop and watch closely, we can also see some of the positive sides of this year. We have seen the largest technology adoption experiment ever done, pointing out that Digital Transformation is a question first and foremost of willingness. With the practice of Remote Work, we might have found a new way of working that can be both more sustainable and more respecting individual lives. Governments have had to pour money in the economy like never before, but not to save banks, but rather the economy itself. This will have profound consequences on how we rethink debt, value and the relationship between supply and demand. We have come to better understand the role of science, not as a deus-ex-machina that has all the answers, but as the testimony of human ingenuity.
Each of us will have a personal view of the balance between the positive and negative aspects of this year. For all those that have lost of a loved one to the Covid, there's no alternative in looking at this year as a gruesome one. But thinking of deleting it as the Times cover suggested, is not just impossible, but would probably be enormously wrong.
Humanity had demonstrated more and more times in its history that is capable of changing exactly when the times were more challenging. We need to find a way to leverage not the resentment to the awfully year, but the hope to a brighter period to come, and work together to make it happen.
2021 will personally start with a new professional challenge for me. I will move from Switzerland back to Italy at the beginning of January and create a new professional endeavour. More to come in terms of details. But it will undoubtedly be the chance for me to use the learnings of this time, and try to check if the planted seeds will be fruitful.
With this, let me wish you, all the best for this festive season, making it a healthy one for you and your loved ones. And thanks again for following me in this discovery journey.
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