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What do Hugh Jackman, 2020 and potentially your organisation’s HR/People Leaders have in common?

For decades, many quality People/HR leaders have been, in my opinion – “ahead of their time” – running important initiatives inside organisations, including:

  • Respect and inclusion in the workplace & awareness of unconscious bias
  • Playing to your strengths
  • High Performance teams being diverse in their makeup & thinking

Incidentally, many of those forward-thinking HR leaders have also been making the case for flexible working policies (such as more working from home) for 20 years. Our global pandemic has thrust this policy/practice into the mainstream.

HR Leader

Moving from “ahead of their time” to “it’s about time!”

I LOVE listening to the soundtrack for “The Greatest Showman” & watching the film with my youngest daughter Sophie, who is 12. She and I also enjoyed James Bond, “Live and Let Die” over Xmas…. although I was shocked/saddened at the racist and sexist language & stereotypes in the classic 1973 film – the year after I was born.

Of course, The Greatest Showman could be an inspiring film called The Greatest Showoman. But it isn’t! The Greatest Showman is an example of a film, (just like Black Panther), which was “it’s about time!” in my view – showing how it’s good to be whoever you are, in fact…. it’s GREAT to be whoever you are. Hugh Jackman’s character vs Bond is an interesting comparison for me…. you?

So, was 2020 “ahead of its time” or “it’s about time!”?

2020, the year that:

  • BLM: Enabled the world (not just the people affected by systemic racism) to wake up to race inequality. Where I once thought of myself as not racist, I’d now consider myself anti-racist. During Lockdown 1, after watching this brilliant Verna Myers TED talk, I had a (poorly handled if I’m honest) very challenging conversation with someone whom I care about regarding their use of what I now consider to be racist language.
  • BLM & Sport: Sport is a passion of mine. Sport has continued/started to lead society in shining a light on BLM in 2020 and now 2021. Sport is helping accelerate/normalise a debate and tangible actions/change. This will rightly lead to progression/promotion of BAME (and female) talent to senior positions in all organisations, sporting and other. Kamala Harris is a role model for many millions of young girls. I have more to learn and more listening to do. We all have much more to do, especially the technology platforms.
  • Covid & BLM: Without Covid (& Trump) I do not think the strength of frustration/anger would have led America/us to put a spotlight on, and make such progress in, the movement towards race equality. For generations, young BAME men have been killed by police in the US and other countries. In my white privileged world and upbringing, I was deeply unaware. Of course, many people have suffered as a result of Covid this last year. Many people globally have suffered for generations whilst aspiring for all different kinds of equality.
“An awakening – 2020 created a fast forward in time.”
  • Climate Crisis: I believe 2020 also gave us an accelerated climate crisis focus. What’s important, how the planet/nature is a finite resource and is in severe danger. Nature is more powerful than man and womankind – the Covid virus may just have reminded us of this.
  • Working from home: 2020 demonstrated how flexible working arrangements and working from home can work and is better at times for many (not all) professionals. Dads in particular may have benefitted from seeing more of their families than ever before. Employee wellbeing has gone up the agenda too, along with the normalization of talk about our mental health. Many have struggled to hold down a full-time job, homeschool their children, or suffer isolation who live alone….
  • My business: I evolved my personal philosophy/mindset running my solopreneur business. I felt conflicted with the pleasure/pride plus some guilt when Sept 2020 was the most successful ever revenue month for my business. I have also now evolved my mindset to be: “Enjoy the Journey* + Be Kind & Make Progress” – with “Be Kind” (to myself, my kids and others) and “Make Progress” specifically added because of the pandemic challenges we have all faced. *I’m in interesting company as “Enjoy yourself” features in Elon Musk’s 6 secrets to business success.
  • UK Leaders inspiring me: Marcus Rashford, Sir Tom Moore, Joe Wicks, David Attenborough, Jurgen Klopp and Sir Patrick Valance (+ millions of key workers) have been inspiring for me on the days where no end seemed in sight. No UK or US politicians make this list – it’s really time for politicians of all parties to answer questions honestly, tell the truth & treat us like adults.

3 pictures of 2020:

Hard work


To finish – back to my current UK Lockdown 3 TV viewing habits with my youngest daughter & family: I take (strange) pride in me being at least 9 months “behind time” popular culture and trends (middle age eh!) and as family we have now started to watch the Queens Gambit on Netflix. “It’s about time!”

If you’re keen to be “ahead of the game” why not also ask your People/HR Leader what they believe is going to be important in the workplace in the coming 2-3 years – it’s possible that they’re already thinking and talking about it – I think leaders of all organisations could benefit from listening more. Couldn’t we all listen a little more in 2021….?

PS Wonder Woman 1984 is next for me and Sophie. (What are you watching?) It looks silly…but epic. Stay well friends (I only post to my LinkedIn connections). x

Queens Gambit
Wonder woman


I blog for 2 reasons:

  1. To share my perspective and ask questions, contributing to our world
  2. As an extrovert, writing down/speaking helps me make sense of topics

+ it helps keep me connected to my network.