Happy Holidays! 

​It is unbelievable to think that in less than a month ​it will be the new year! As we wrap up 2021, I cannot help but reflect on all that I am grateful for.  As an organization, my team and I are inspired to continue thriving in this ever-changing world.

One thing ​rings true…each ​and every year is filled with challenges and opportunities. As a result, this gives leaders the chance to rise to the occasion by developing innovative solutions to address complex issues.  We all witnessed this first-hand with the creation and roll out of ​several COVID-19 vaccines and other important, innovative therapies developed or adapted to stem the pandemic. Going forward there are many unmet medical needs where pharma will be instrumental.  ​We look forward to their continuing evolution in solving the many healthcare delivery challenges that remain. 

As I reflect on 2021, we ​would like to share a few key learnings that we believe will help your organization, teams, and individuals thrive. 

  1. Being agile remains an essential skill in this continuously evolving environment.  I want to thank my team and my clients for remaining agile. We all worked differently during the pandemic and continue to adapt to the new realities of hybrid workplaces and hybrid customer interactions.  
  2. We learned that empathetic leadership and empathetic customer engagement are critical to understanding and acknowledging the unique challenges individuals and organizations face post-pandemic. Rushing to solutions without acknowledging others’ unique situations does not honor their humanity, nor will it lead to effectively uncovering their real needs and concerns. Simply asking questions and carefully listening opens more doors to partnership and co-creation of effective solutions.
  3. As people reflect more deeply on their personal needs, we are seeing what some call, the Great Resignation, with many employees actively looking for new jobs. This presents a major challenge to ​the talent retention efforts ​of many organizations and threatens to further impact employee engagement.  Many of the factors outlined in our for Retention™ offering still hold true today ​(after nearly two decades).  Understanding employees’ decisions to leave an organization enables more direct and productive ​discussions with ​your employees.  As you reflect on the past year, take the time to check in with all employees to see how you and your organization are meeting their needs, especially your high performing talent. 

These reflections are just a few reasons we look to the New Year with renewed optimism and excitement!  Below is a friendly reminder of WLH’s REFLECT framework. Take time to REFLECT and plan more effectively. Ask yourself, “What do I need to stop, start, and continue in 2022?” “What support will I need?” Capture these answers and discuss them with your manager during year-end performance discussions.

Review the appropriate business analytics and reports to evaluate performance and identify trends using a data driven, evidence-based approach.  As a result of COVID-19 what changed? Where ​might there ​be new ​or other opportunities?  

Evaluate if you accomplished what you set out to do in your plans. If you met or exceeded goals, determine what efforts led to your success? Acknowledge how the team and individuals overcame roadblocks, despite the many unforeseen challenges; especially working virtually. How can lessons ​learned be applied going forward?

Focus on the critical few priorities. What unforeseen changes in your priorities resulted from the pandemic? How will changes in the environment affect your priorities in the coming year?

Learn from your experiences. Determine what worked, identify where you fell short, and leverage these learnings going forward.  What did you learn about your marketplace and about specific customers?  What did you learn about your team, their resiliency, and your ability to support each other?  What did you learn about your ability to adapt and be agile?

Embrace the fact that things are changing quickly in the healthcare marketplace and will likely continue to evolve.  Acknowledge that your organization has or will shift strategic priorities to deal with the new business environment. Think about where you or your team’s agility can result in quicker and more effective responses. Where could more proactive scenario planning and strategic thinking lead to better results?

Commit to conducting regular reviews and recalibrate plans as needed.  The challenges from the last 21 months are not likely to go away any time soon.  As a result, many organizations are revisiting broader strategies and adjusting rollout plans accordingly. It is equally important to agree when and how strategic plans will be reviewed.  How do you review progress against your plans?  Who do you need to involve in the discussions?  What processes are in place to update your manager and others on plan successes and necessary mid-course corrections?

Thank all the people who stepped up during this difficult year to maintain business continuity and achieve goals.  

The suggested R.E.F.L.E.C.T. ​framework can help you plan and continue to Change and Thrive in 2022.  Please feel free to contact us for more information on our practice expertise in strategic execution and consider deploying our 2021 Year-End Reflection Guide with your team. ​

And finally, wishing you and yours a happy and peaceful holiday season and a productive New Year!

Wendy Heckelman, Ph.D.


WLH helps organizations, teams, and individuals think, plan, and execute with excellence. Schedule an Exploratory Call to learn more!

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We are change, leadership, and L&D experts focused on companies in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry.

LeadershipAgilityRetentionOrganizational CultureTalent DevelopmentBusiness PlanningWendy L. HeckelmanWLH Consulting Inc.