Reflections, Gratitude and Hope (2020)

Oriane Kets de Vries

Reflections, Gratitude and Hope

2020 has been a year of challenges.


All of us have experienced a wide range of challenges and emotions, changing over time. We may have questioned our purpose, fought for reflective space, struggled under the burden of relentless uncertainty and information overload, and we have developed new ways to work as a team. The boundaries between work and life have been blurred and tested. We have juggled teaching children with full time jobs and we have been challenged to find ways to renew our levels of energy. In dark moments, we may have been overcome by a sense of isolation and fear of the future. We are learning to be more empathetic and cognisant of those whose challenges differ from our own. Many of us have been scrambling to harness new opportunities that have arisen and to ride the wave of a fast approaching future of work. 


What is making the difference between surviving and thriving? 


At KDVI, our job is to support the development of human, healthy workplaces, these days with a special focus on mental wellbeing, resilience, and psychological safety. We believe it is a time to renew clarity of purpose and sense of meaning through work and life, asking the questions “What are we ambitious for? What do we hope for now? What impact do we want to have?” We believe that trust, the willingness to be vulnerable and the deepening of relationships are the fuel for team effectiveness. Transparent communication, regular feedback, courageous conversations and the celebration of successes have become ever more important. A sense of community takes time and consistency to establish but is a stabilising force in a chaotic, global, virtual world and helps us feel connected, happy and able to accomplish more than we would alone. Carving out precious reflection time to take stock of what has happened and what is still changing, envisaging the future and the implication of expected changes on our work, on leadership and organisational cultures, will help us continue to adapt. 


2020 has been a year for learning – and fast! 2020 has been a year of creativity.


At KDVI, we have experimented with new ways to support leaders – emphasizing our agile, modular approach with fast turnaround times. We are listening more attentively to our clients and learning to proactively expand our reach. We are experimenting with ways to bring high-touch human interaction into online formats. The work we do is contextual - we start where people are - we draw them into conversations about what they need now. We stay curious. We aim to provide leaders and organisations with relevant, timely insights that can help them address immediate challenges. 


Organisations have also been willing to experiment with new, less traditional approaches to learning and development – working with them has allowed us to trial new facilitated content conversation formats, place coaching at the heart of learning– seeing it embedded and applied in day to day work, raise the visibility and value of thematic analyses from work at scale. 


Teamwork, gratitude and hope


The innovation of the KDVI team, the sense of meaning that I derive from our work, and the community that have pulled together during hard times have all sustained me through moments of doubt, loss and confusion. I did not know how we would weather this storm and I am immensely proud of our work this year – KDVI is stronger than I realised, and I take pride in the knowledge that our work is valued. 


Thank you for believing in the KDVI project, for supporting it and your team members in the ways that you have and can, and for the sacrifices made that have allowed us to continue on this journey and survive. Thank you for your curiosity and willingness to learn and adapt and create. Thank youfor all the fantastic work that has made a difference to leaders and their teams as they go through the turbulence that has affected so many. What we do makes a difference, small or large, even more so now. I am curious to see what we can achieve together next year.


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