In an article which originally appeared on LinkedIn, Positive Psychology and Leadership Consultant Charlotte Wiseman looks back on 2021 and discusses the ‘wins and learnings’ her organisation has enjoyed and how the continuing effects of the pandemic have seen so many organisations change their approach to mental health and wellbeing.
As we come to the end of the year, it is important that we take time to think back, to learn from our challenges and celebrate our successes. Having worked through this process over the last week, I have consolidated our ‘wins and learnings’ to three key points.
1. Embracing e-learning
In March 2020, I was sceptical about the potential for online learning. It was of course something that I had to adapt to very quickly, in the light of the sudden changes that were thrust upon us, but my starting point was certainly not overly optimistic.
Since then, I have learnt a lot about how to make learning remotely engaging. I have not only seen how effective it can be but also have seen that it can often bring additional benefits to individuals and teams in organisations. These include connecting teams who are dispersed around the world and may never meet in person, offering greater psychological safety for those who want to ask questions anonymously or feel more comfortable engaging through polls rather than vocally, and by enabling those who benefit from more time to reflect to learn at a pace that suits them.
Building on the success of the leadership and all-team webinars as well as the MHFA England Mental Health First Aid online courses we have been running so successfully for the last two years, this year has seen the addition of our four-module e-learning platform as well as creating recorded content for the International Positive Psychology Association. When I reflect on how far we have come, this is certainly a moment to celebrate.
2. Inspired by in-person events
While offering more online and e-learning content has been a highlight of the year, so has been getting back to face-to-face training and meetings. This year, they have been few and far between, so they feel like particularly special moments. Thank you to Marketing Academy and Norland Nannies for inviting me to speak at your leadership retreats and away days, Sea Containers for the opportunity to train your leaders, Colliers and Soho house for your hospitality as we delivered training across your UK sites. I am looking forward to building on this in the new year with [hopefully] more courses outside the UK, across Europe and the US.
3. Flexibility is fundamental
I imagine that most of the people reading this have had to embrace flexibility in some guise this year - there has really been no option. While I always understood and actively practised cognitive flexibility and practical flexibility, it is not always something that has come easily to me. In the face of sudden change, if we are not prepared for change, it can be easy for most of us to take the quick wins, put off the long-term thinking or priorities and deal with the ‘urgent’ stuff. This year, more than ever, I have seen how this ‘rabbit in the headlights’ thinking impacts leaders, teams and organisations, causing more issues and problems for the future.
The team and I have always been committed to factoring in flexibility while remaining strategic in our thinking - it has been a cornerstone of everything we do. This year, we have really seen just why this is so important and, as we come to the end of year, we are enthused to see how many companies are starting to do the same in the context of their wellbeing strategy. Wellbeing is not just about a couple of webinars and an EAP, it is about embedding a culture of positive mental health and peak performance, where individuals flourish and businesses thrive.
If there has been one big ‘win’ for 2021, on a global scale, it has been that the pandemic has acted as a catalyst for organisations to change their approach to mental health, considering this as part of their business strategy and taking a proactive approach to optimising mental fitness to support the performance and resilience of their organisation. Healthy people create healthier businesses, and when organisations see that potential, the future of 2022 certainly looks brighter for us all.
Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash