The year that was! 3 things to Remember, 3 things to Reimagine.

Umang Vohra

December 18, 2020

2020 was a year of reflections and learnings for many of us. For me, this quote from Paul Coelho sums it up beautifully “Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path”. 2020 reminded the world to be thankful, to empathize, to care. It taught us to adapt to challenges and work despite them and brought out the best in all of us.

We changed the way we did business, swiftly implemented technology, deployed solutions to maintain social distancing in our plants, provided equipment needed to keep our workforce safe and maintained an uninterrupted supply of medicines for our patients. We saw communities rally together and provide the services needed to help people with food supplies, protective equipment and other essential items. We saw our homes turned into our new offices, new classrooms, new gymnasiums, and so on. But, through it all, we learnt new things, adjusted through every difficult scenario and most importantly remained hopeful.

As we emerge from 2020, it’s useful to ask if we’ve learned anything this year. The answer to that question may define us. Thought of sharing my takeaways from this extraordinary year, here are some things that stayed with me.

3 Things to Remember

  1. Gratitude: One thing that has stuck by me in this rather challenging year is an indescribable feeling of gratitude. Gratitude for being a part of an industry that is relentlessly working to make a difference in the lives of patients. Gratitude towards my team for their resilience and unwavering commitment to care. Gratitude for the immense love and support I received from family and loved ones.
  2. Power of the collective: The world has been beating the drum on collaborations for a long time now - Pooling knowledge, skillsets and competences often fast-tracks progress and resolves issues in the most optimal manner. While there are many benefits to the power of collective, one of the biggest is a mindset that is empathetic toward others, wherein everyone shares the same goals. This pandemic is a great example of large-scale collaborations. We witnessed Governments, public institutions, healthcare professionals, organisations, pharmaceutical companies and citizens putting their might together to combat the threat to human life. The pharma industry in particular came together in solidarity – from forging global partnerships to launching new drugs that had potency to fight the virus to collaborating across the value chain for ramping up supplies.
  3. Power of moments: In a virtually connected world, engagement will play an even more critical world. It is important to value every small moment and not just wait for milestones or landmarks. Every moment is a defining moment in our lives. We don’t have to wait for it to happen to us. Every moment has the power to become an extraordinary experience. So don’t wait for a birthday to delight someone with your good wishes. Don’t wait for quarter ends to recognize your team.. use every interaction as it was the only moment and elevate it.

“Moments matter, and what an opportunity we miss when we leave them to chance.”
– The Power of Moments

3 Things to Reimagine

  1. Reimagine leadership: Recently on our ‘Connexions’ series I interacted with my dear friend Gautam Kumra from McKinsey and he imparted some great advice on leadership. He said in the new world, leaders need to ‘Manage their energy and not their time’. Another key message is that leaders need to take time and reflect on themselves, focus on their mental and physical wellbeing as that is critical for the wellbeing of the organization. I also believe leaders need to invest time in the people they work with—get to know their stories and their motivations. As a leader you need to be the first one to share your story… to get vulnerable. Employees will appreciate that vulnerability and be more willing to reciprocate. Sharing with each other builds a bond and makes your team stronger.
  2. Reimagine future of work: We all know how our pre-pandemic workplace has now transformed into a digital and virtual avatar. This has shifted the focus on ensuring the importance of company culture and values as the glue that binds employees. Renewed way of looking at work-life relationships, promoting virtual collaborations, aiding employees to grapple the new world of managing work and home and promoting mental health wellbeing are some pivotal areas that will need focus as we march into 2021.
  3. Reimagine a sustainable future: Many scientists are indicating that the virus is a warning sign of placing too many pressures on the natural world. The pandemic is a stark reminder of our dysfunctional relationship with nature. In 2021, businesses need to focus on designing sustainability programs that can be key to preventing future outbreaks, in addition to ensuring the long-term sustainability of livelihoods and business activities. This will require strong leadership, governance and targeted interventions.

There’s always a new horizon to aim for. The only way to get there is to keep moving forward. We wish to embrace 2021 with renewed hope and a positive outlook and to be guided by our purpose of ‘Caring for Life’.