On the 17th November 2020 major media outlets in Australia are reporting that the government is funding $220 billion per year in mental illness support, across the country. With many individuals and families buckling under the pressure of what 2020 has thrown at them, now more than any time in our history is the opportunity to ensure that teams in a work environment are being supported in every facet: business plan, role training, physical support and support of the mind.

Back in August, I wrote an article which talked to the power of creating habits to achieve personal goals during the challenges of 2020, to leave us feeling positive about ourselves and gain momentum heading towards 2021.

It said at the time:

“People are now looking at 2020 as the year they accomplished very few of the goals that they set out to achieve and for many, this is a sense of failure and disappointment that may be felt for months or years to come. The science tells us that we need success to take us forward.”


Flash forward to the end of November and August feels like last week and in some regards, it feels like time has stood still altogether.

2020 for most has been a gap year away from the office and it will be very different when they return.

During the time away, something has occurred for many professionals and that is the chance to reflect on their life due to the pace now being experienced without commute in peak hour, madness of office and the general speed of being on the hamster wheel, running at full tilt from one day to the next, exhaling for 48 hours over the weekend.

In between the reflection, walks around the block and Zoom drinks, people have achieved a few of their goals and now the excitement is building about getting back to normality and into an office where the enjoyment of what makes us human, the interaction with community and dare I say contact, will take place.

For most, just being around others again is like New years eve: full of excitement, anticipation, fireworks but inevitably…probably…it won’t live up to the hype once the reality kicks in and people start to say:

  • “I miss the freedom of home”
  • “My priorities are a little different now”
  • “Peak hour sucks”
  • “I thought things would be different”

So what will 2021 look like for us here in Australia?

Well let me say, no one knows. Really we have no idea what world health will look like, let alone how that impacts the rest of what civilisation does.

We do know though that when it comes to the workplace, 2021 is a chance to restart, reshape and create building blocks to function in the new world we live in and even fix those little things that had been shuffled around from one WIP to the next. Conversely it will be the time where many companies fail to adapt to the new world that has been created and don’t read the room….leaving them with their own Kodak or Blockbuster moment.

What does that mean? 

It is the opportunity to say “hey, what we were building before all this was great, but we need to shift and adapt to move forward, we understand that life balance is important and we support that but we need to make sure these company objectives are still achieved”.

To make your business a preferred place to work it is also the chance to say “we get your needs, we will support your growth, we fully embrace flexibility.” 

But how many will actually deliver across the board on what matters most?


Make no mistake, the same way of thinking and working pre-COVID will probably not get the job done, because the dynamics and expectations of people are very different now and more diverse than ever before. The world is operating differently and 2021 feels like the year where anything could happen…again. 

No doubt in the coming weeks we will hear much from senior leaders about:

  • Revenue
  • Profit share
  • Maximising opportunity – More with less
  • Brand evolution
  • Benchmarking
  • Data capture 
  • Renewed focus
  • Work/life balance 

But it won’t matter if the best people are not in place and aligned to deliver.

This is not a statement about getting new people, better than your current people… My point is, you won’t be able to achieve all of what is required from a business perspective in 2021 unless your people are the best versions of themselves and are operating with clarity and speed throughout post-COVID-age parameters.


Some of the biggest and most astute brands on the planet will be looking at ways to make dynamic shifts such as Microsoft way back in 2017.

“There are three things as humans we can train,” says Gervais. “We can train our craft, our bodies, and our minds.” This was developed from watching top performing figures in sports, says Gervais: “What we’ve learned from world-class athletes is that they train all three.”

Back then, this was about understanding how to get the most out of the team already in place, because:

  • It wasn’t just about having the right “culture” (whatever that may mean).
  • It wasn’t just about making sure people felt secure, to share and grow.
  • It was about moving from old school thinking that just providing training for them in their current role and thinking it will be fine or send them to the gym to get physically fit and it will be perfect would be sufficient .
  • It was the understanding that the importance of balance and a holistic approach was the way forward, train the craft and the bodies and the minds.


So in this time of searching for more, having purpose, greater good, work-life balance, the statement being made by thought leaders is:

  • How do you NOT just teach teams how to sell better or market better?
  • How do you teach and support them to be better people, to live better?

The thinking behind this is about optimum performance and longevity. 

When people are performing well in ALL parts of their lives it can have a multiplying effect.

Supporting this shows employees that a company is truly looking after individuals’ well being and lives as a whole, not just focused on it from Monday to Friday 9 to 5pm and whatever overtime takes place along the way.

It is also working on the premise that people will not focus as much on remuneration in an organisation if they have a level of fulfilment.


Researchers at the University of Berkley studied what motivates productivity in professionals. When people felt recognised for the work they did, they were 23% more effective and productive. But what’s even more astonishing is that when people felt valued and cared for, their productivity and effectiveness experienced a 43% increase. While recognition is essential, there is an additional 20% jump in performance by showing your people you care for them. 


Understanding that employees need to be valued and cared for to be at peak level performance, then how do you still cultivate an environment and structure to explore big block company related topics such as:

  • What is the journey that the business is on now?
  • What is the mission it must achieve in 2021? 
  • Have the guiding principles changed?
  • What has changed for us as a team?

How do you forge authentic relationships and rules of engagement internally to create the best environment for a specific team, when now 20% to 50% might not actually be in the office?

What will leaders need to do now that they weren’t doing before? How do we find new ones to step up?

How do you create a culture needed to achieve the mission? One of authenticity and bringing it every day, when every day now looks very different to what it did a few months ago.


You will need a crystal clear plan that gets everyone on the same page to start, which will ensure there is purpose, flexibility, clarity, efficiency and engagement.

However going into this we need to know most people are interested to understand peak performance, especially in sports stars and people on social media they enjoy watching but most people sadly don’t want to do the work to get there themselves.

Very few things in business are easy, however it is clear that the ability to have the top performing third of your business to maintain the course of excellence whilst you develop and nurture those that sit in the middle third to become high achievers will be crucial.

You cannot hope to succeed if your middle tier slips into the bottom third because these factors have not been addressed and don’t kid yourself every business has this to face.


Provide your team with momentum, energy and a realisation that they have enough inside them to achieve inspiring results, along with tangible strategies to create powerful habits and plans for purpose.

Create an environment and structure to explore big block company related topics such as; the journey that the business is on, what is the mission it must achieve, the culture needed to achieve the mission and new rules of engagement to create the best environment for a specific team.