“Success most likely comes from having a clear long-term positive strategy which puts people first.”

Without doubt 2020 has been a challenge. Little has gone to plan at home, at work or in the wider world. Despite this I have seen many people thrive. Let me share what I think is the secret of their success through some of my musings.

My thoughts began with myself – how have I managed to survive lockdown with a smile? I now realise I decided early on that staying positive was the key. I concentrated on the things I could do and let go things I had no control over. Maintaining focus on these simple messages has been key.

However, a few weeks into lockdown it became obvious that many of my colleagues and friends were struggling. Motivation for work tasks, housework, and home-schooling was low. However, in the midst of a global pandemic were these things important? For me, it was clear that mental well-being took priority. We can now identify good companies who had the vision to put their people first when times were hard in order to have long term success.

As the pandemic story continued, we have all watched the global effects. There is little doubt that one of the success stories has been New Zealand. The Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, had a very simple message that ‘everyone should act like they had Coronavirus’ giving everyone responsibility for themselves and others around them. Her empathetic and people focused style has proven that leadership matters.

“…success most likely comes from having a clear long-term positive strategy which puts people first.”

Looking forward, whether we like it or not, there are difficult times ahead. We continue to live with the threat of COVID on our health and the resulting recession on our economy. Even worse few people disagree we have yet to experience the full effect of global warming.

So, what has this got to do those of us who live, work and play in and around The Tees? Everything. We need to learn from success and failures, our own and those of others. We should all look backwards in order to look forward.

During my reflections I have learned that success most likely comes from having a clear long-term positive strategy which puts people first. People who demonstrate strategic thinking with leadership qualities will likely be resilient, adaptable and successful. These people tend to consider obstacles as mere bumps in the road of life’s journey and help others get motivated. People who are not in themselves this way inclined should look for support from strategic leaders.

So my call to action for you is to help lead The Tees to thrive. If you have a positive long-term vision of a sustainable Tees region to benefit all layers of our society then share it. If not, you can strive to have one – remember every dog, even old ones, can learn new tricks! However, if you prefer to let other take the lead then select someone to get behind who can help you be part of a better future.

Either way, stay positive and be kind to yourself and others to make everyone in The Tees that bit happier.

By Paula McMahon, Chartered Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and Chartered Management Institute