This is the Year of Accountability

This is the Year of Accountability - Wayne BersonLast month in my newsletter, I reflected on the year that had elapsed since the world was upended by a global pandemic and the lessons we learned from the disruption that followed. While the crisis isn’t over, we are beginning to see the light at the end of that dark and long tunnel.

Many businesses have moved beyond persevering through the pandemic-induced economic crisis and are beginning to see renewed demand for products and services. Some are on track to make a full recovery; others are already thriving. Following the passage of a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, and as inoculation rates grow and economies reopen, businesses and their consumers have found more stable footing. As a brighter future starts to take shape, it may be tempting to ease back into familiar ways of working. Even if “normalcy” feels within reach, I challenge you to think of this moment differently. Leaders now have a significant opportunity to create even stronger, more responsive businesses. We can build on what has been working, reinvent what hasn’t, and demonstrate that we will learn from the many hard lessons of the past year, including the pandemic and the heightened awareness and urgency we face as a nation on issues of social change.

If last year was the year of disruption, this year will be the year of accountability. It will be the year leaders decide if the lessons of the past are worth minding in the future, and how best to seize this moment to make the future better for our businesses, for our people and for our stakeholders. I’m committed to leading BDO in taking action across several dimensions that are relevant to all middle market businesses:
  • Reimagine the workplace, and how we support our people. We can further strengthen our culture by defining a shared purpose and creating spaces where each person feels heard, valued and empowered and where leaders listen and act, learning from and adapting to the needs of their people.
  • Refresh business strategy. Plans for growth must evolve to ensure they account for the full range of lasting changes that were brought on by the events of the past year. Whether accelerating plans for digital transformation or acting on opportunity in ESG, leaders should reassess strategy and consider aligning with rapidly evolving market needs and preferences.
  • Improve agility. Rather than trying to predict and prepare for exactly what the next disruption will look like, we can strengthen the foundations for better decision-making in the face of change in all its forms.
  • Invest in growth. The past year required a hard look at where leaders allocated capital and why. We must leverage opportunities to make strategic investments that fortify operations and position the business for growth, while continuing to pare back in areas that no longer make sense in the new environment.
The world eagerly awaits a return, not to business as usual, but to business that is far better than the past. As business leaders, we hold the power to help make that hope a reality by continuing to strive towards a higher bar. By minding the lessons of the past, we can reach our full potential to help all our stakeholders – our people, communities and our clients – to truly thrive.