Facing 2021 Unafraid: What the Business World Needs Most This Year


The year 2020 was a kick in the teeth, a punch in the guts. It was a year of non-stop crisis. And it was a wake-up call.

But what did it wake us up to?

Among the best aspects of humanity is our ability to change. It’s an evolutionary advantage, and for the first time in a long time, the entire world gets to test our adaptability as one. In 2020, more people than ever were awakened to the fact that we depend on each other, and we must change together.

When faced with a situation that we cannot change, the next best option is to change ourselves, to paraphrase a quote from Viktor Frankl. At Milepost, we turned to our capacity for flexibility and exploration. We looked for the adventure in adversity, and we learned what the business world needs most in 2021.

1. Optimism. Forward thinking, positive imagining and hope in the future is the incubator for innovation. Believing that things will get better is the first step toward playing an active part in making them get better.

2. Gratitude. Alongside what is so wrong with the world are elements that are so right. The groundswell conviction among the world’s leading companies and governments that climate change is real and must be addressed. The unprecedented global scientific response to a pandemic that resulted in a vaccine in less than a year. The adaptations of people everywhere to stretch themselves and create workarounds for social isolation. Having gratitude for what is still good keeps us grounded in optimism (see #1).

3. Priority on mental health. Some people are deftly sailing through these rough waters – and just as many are sinking. Are we scouting the waves for those who are struggling and throwing them life preservers? Do we have the right tools to even see them? And very importantly: Do we have the strength and courage to ask for help when we ourselves are the ones getting pulled under? 

Most organizations know that they need to adapt but aren’t sure where to begin. For 10 years Milepost has consulted on strategy and engagement to help organizations adapt and thrive in a world challenged by environmental and social change. What is happening to the world now is a rare variety of environmental and social change, but we have the muscle, brains and heart to help companies navigate it.

This isn’t the world’s first pandemic or global catastrophe. We have been here – and much worse places – before, and we have overcome terrible and difficult challenges and emerged on brighter shores. In addition to our face masks, we must don a new mindset about resiliency, thinking positively and actively using our individual and collective talents to improve ourselves, and drive the change we want to see in the world. As Brene Brown says, we are travelers, not mapmakers, and we are going down this path same as and with you. Together.

Samantha Hart
Samantha Hart