In a little over 48Hrs, the clocks will once again strike Midnight, people will say a final farewell to 2020 and wish in the New Year.

And whilst 2020 hasn’t been the year anyone of us expected or planned for, and with much of the country re-entering a TIER FOUR lockdown, there is much in the way of uncertainty as to what 2021 may unfold. So I rightfully pose the question:

2021, Have you got what it takes?

I consider myself exceptionally fortunate right now!

You see, back in 1992 I joined the British Army. And after completing Basic Training, and Corps Training, joined my first regiment as a Combat Medical Technician. Over the next 12+ years, I continued to serve my Queen and my Country; assigned to whichever regiment was about to deploy, wherever in the world it was deemed we were required.

From Jungle Warfare to Artic Warfare training, we visited every environment imaginable to practice and prepare for the ‘What if’ scenario. We practiced again and again and again on what to do, how to do, when to do, with whom to do, in order to achieve the mission and all its objectives. The British Army, has a great saying, to which we all have almost ingrained within us from the moment we first join:

Improvise, Adapt, Overcome

And although I’m no longer a soldier, I’ve maintained the same attitude to risk, to uncertainty, to challenge. What we were presented with in Early 2020 was a ‘new set of circumstances’ a new environment on which we have all had to learn how to work and live.

I’m also fortunate enough to be relatively well read. And with a background in Psychology and Sociology, more than familiar with the work of Bruce Tuckman, and his 1965 study into operational effectiveness. Tuckman determined there are 4 ‘stages’ to change, and that each member of a team has to go through these in order, for the team to develop and perform to its optimum.

Form, Storm, Norm, Perform

Form, Norm, Storm, PerformAnd whilst I have witnesses’ times where this theory can be challenged. Where a team HAS to perform instantly after forming, it can also be said and agreed that once the ‘necessity’ has passed, the 4 stages do still occur prior to the team performing as well again!

However, the same can be said for business teams, communities, towns, cities, regions, and countries when faced with a Pandemic!

We have all witnessed first-hand how people have been forced to form a new behaviour (wearing of a face mask etc), and how some have objected to this (Storm), and that eventually the objections subside (Norm) as it becomes ‘normal’ to wear a face shield. Allowing us to once again PERFORM in the new environment.

But it should also be recognised, that whilst this over simplified example is valid, that we have ALL gone through this individually, and that we all go through this at our own pace. We have certainly seen examples within our own workplace where some have ‘moved’ from STORM to NORM whilst others are still within the STORM phase and not yet ready to accept!

And the same can be said of businesses also. Some have quickly moved through the Form, Storm, Norm phases. Adapted quickly to the new environment and traded successfully throughout 2020. Others have not done so well at finding a means to ‘pivot’ or ‘diversify’ and found 2020 exceptionally difficult and challenging to get through.

What does 2021 have in store?

As we ‘welcome’ in 2021. There remains much uncertainty as to the environment we shall be working in? With much trepidation as to a ‘new strain‘ a ‘third wave‘ and the NHS under instruction to ‘make every possible bed available‘ for the anticipated surge in new cases, whilst we desperately wait for the 200,000 vaccinations a week, to rise to the predicted 2,000,000 a week requirements (as per the latest medical Thinktank report).

And whilst we acknowledge Tuckman for his work on behavioural change. There are also 4 main considerations for businesses to consider in 2021:

  1. Mission Changes: Has the pandemic impacted the mission of the business? If so, How? Is it necessary to amend the mission? If so, to what?
  2. Strategic Changes: Has the environment, determined a need to change the way in which we do business? What are the key strategic advantages for doing so?
  3. Operational Changes: Does the company need to amend, upgrade, diversify the way in which they do business?
  4. Technological Changes: Does the technology we have in place still support the Mission, Strategic and Operational requirements? Is there new technology available? What are the advantages/disadvantages of this?

If 2020 has taught us anything, its been to initially to ‘Improvise, Adapt and Overcome’. To find resilience, and a means of survival. And then, to rediscover values, and what is actually important to us both personally and professionally. As we move into 2021, there is going to be a lot of importance placed on the value of who we are, what we do, why we do, how we do.

Have you got what it takes?

Throughout 2020, My TrueNORTH spent an extraordinary amount of time supporting Business Owners to review, revise and amend them and their business. To show them how to Improvise, Adapt and Overcome, and how amending the model doesn’t mean amending the business in order to move quickly from survive to thrive.

In 2021, (and remaining true to my former military survival training) we start the year with a series of BATTLEPLAN workshops, masterclasses and webinars. Sharing with customers old and new how to devise, test and implement a robust ‘battleplan’ for 2021. Ensuring it remains in line with your goals, vision and values, and meets the needs of your clients/customers in these most unprecedented times.

ADDAZERO The Ultimate Guide to Sustainable Business Scale

And, within the first quarter, I’m super excited to announce the launch of our latest book: ADDAZERO – The Ultimate Guide to Sustainable SCALE (Foundations) the first of 2 books we’ve spent well over 4 years researching, to aide Business Owners to Know, Understand and Avoid the pitfalls of so many other businesses we have researched. (Which ultimately leads to SUCCESS!)

On Friday, we welcome in 2021, a new year full of new possibilities. It really doesn’t matter HOW you and your businesses ended your 2020. But the attitude, aptitude and integrity you embrace 2021, the people, systems and processes you have at your disposal and how to best utilise them, and the willingness and ability to adapt, will determine not only if you survive and thrive, but if you have what it takes!

My New Years gift to you…

Start with an advantage over all your competition, simply CLICK HERE to receive your free in-depth, bespoke SCALABILITY report on the current scalability of you and your business (Based on 4+ years of research, and surveying the scalability of more than 115K SME businesses).


I’m Jay Allen, Business Scale Mentor and founder of the #ADDAZERO Business Challenge. We’ve made it our mission to support 1,000,000 Business Owners to #ADDAZERO to their Personal Disposable Income.