The year 2022 started with a bang. After a tough two years behind us, the world was just beginning to lift its head again when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine plunged us into chaos and uncertainty.
Like with the Covid pandemic, some people and organisations are severely affected while others are not so much. But the systemic impact is felt across the world and by all of us in some way.
For example, towards the end of last year we worked with leadership teams, and they stood further from each other than in their previous sessions. The isolation we have been experiencing was being manifested physically. It will be the same as the effects of this war ripple across the world.
Despite what feels like more uncertainty and disorientation than what we can handle, I still feel that 2022 can be a year of growth for you and your organisation. The words “recover” and “restore” have been on my mind for this year. Today I want to add the word “grow” to it.
The image of a plant that is pruned comes to mind. If you only look at the immediate results, pruning seems counterproductive: a big portion of the plant is being cut away. If the plant was a human, it would probably have complained about the pain and done its best to avoid it.
But the end result is a tree that is more resilient, beautiful and productive than one that hasn’t been pruned.
We’re going through a season of pruning. If we take the perspective of a plant, it will be painful and can even seem like a loss that won’t be recovered. But if we choose to look at it like a gardener, we can see new beginnings, opportunities and growth.
It applies to our organisations as well as to all areas of our lives: the physical, intellectual, emotional, relational, and spiritual.
As Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice in Wonderland:
“You know what the issue is with this world? Everyone wants some magical solution to their problem, and everyone refuses to believe in magic.”
I want to encourage you to be the person who believes that some “magic” can happen. Yes, we plan, prepare and work hard. But we should also be open to unexpected turns of events that are ultimately for our good and the good of others. Even when days seem dark like they have been for a while now.
What that means for me is to continue stimulating ideas about leadership that can be even more effective and reach workers on the frontline.
What does expecting some “magic” this year look like for you? What would you like to see recovered and restored? Or what’s some growth you’d like to see because of the pruning the world and many of us are going through?
By Dr. Rean du Plessis
Organisational Psychologist and Executive Coach