As 2016 draws to a close, I’ve been spending the past few weeks mapping out my plans for the 2017 period.
2016 has (mostly!) been an enjoyable blast. It has been a privilege and pleasure to have been able to serve JCI as a 2016 Vice President for Europe, and also as a member of the 2016 Board of Directors. I still find it engaging (and amazing!) to be involved in such a diverse yet impactful organisation, represented by 200,000+ members in over 100 countries.
On a personal front, 2016 has been a pivotal year for me. Despite appearances to the contrary (and really – you’d definitely think otherwise if you ever saw any of my Facebook photos!) I’m a pretty introvert person by nature and the number of people I trust and confide in is tiny-tiny (easily counted on one hand). Well, 2016 has been a year where I added one additional count to that tiny-tiny circle. Probably a “meh” to anyone and everyone else, but certainly a big life moment for me. So, happy days…!
Less happy (but not necessarily unhappy) is the business and professional front. Aberdeen as a whole has had a tough time this year, in large part due to the drop in oil prices and downturn in the industry. On top of that, I don’t think my company has had the time, attention and love that it perhaps needed over the past 12 months. We’ve made it through, though – and 2017 promises to start well, business-wise…
…and onwards to 2017
I spent an entire weekend scribbling out a mind-map of my plans/goals for 2017, and many more days fleshing out specific milestones and goals. Obviously, I’m not inclined to share this – but I do recommend this particular navel-gazing exercise as it’s great to be able to review your year past, and plan for your next year, at a very broad level.
Speaking (writing?) in very general terms, I have three key focuses for 2017.
Business: I said earlier that the company needs some time, attention and love. Well, I’m certainly going to ensure that it gets that from me. Much as I quite dislike “running” a company, I very much love what our company *does*. So, 2017 will be a year of focussing more on what I/we enjoy (getting to grips with great new technologies, and making them useful to our clients) and less stressing about the back-end admin stuff… We’re reviewing our company and its performance with a fairly critical eye at the moment, and should see a broad set of changes in 2017 which will put us (and hopefully our clients!) in a much better place…
Politics: Yeah, this is going to be my next big challenge – one I’m both nervous and excited about… The past few years have been fascinating to watch in terms of both national and global politics – we’ve had some divisive referendums, and certainly some surprising political campaigns and results! I love that there appears to be greater engagement in politics and government today – surely a great sign of a healthy democracy. Having said that, I’m far less enamoured with the outright dishonesty in some segments of politics, as well as the polarisation of debate and the tendency for political discourse to take place within non-productive echo chambers. I’ve spent many years lamenting about these latter issues – but isn’t it easy to snipe from the sidelines as a passive spectator? So, I’ve taken the decision to roll up my sleeves (figuratively) and to “muck in” and get more politically engaged. Partially because I want to do my part to steer politics – and political discourse – into a more open, communicative and collaborative party-agnostic effort. And partially because engaging in politics at a hands-on level really provides a direct avenue to engage with the local community, and with the larger society. And thus, onto…
Community: This goes very much hand-in-hand with my focus on Politics above. I see being engaged in politics as the mechanism by which I can best contribute to the local and national community. In a way, this is an extension of what I’ve been doing in JCI – except I’m now taking a more direct route to getting engaged with the community. My big drive – my focus – is on engaging in youth development and creating more opportunities for young people in society today. I’m acutely aware that I’ve been extremely fortunate – and privileged – to have had the upbringing and education that I’ve had. I’m also extremely aware that there are many in our community and society who have not had the best starts in life. I absolutely believe that within every person is a potential volunteer/employee/entrepreneur/artist/contributor – a person who can add to society, given the right support and opportunity. It’s my desire, and goal, to engage in this area and to help grow the support and opportunities for self-development of people in our community.
A Quick Summary, then…
On the business front, I don’t doubt there will be big, sweeping changes. Which is quite healthy for us, as complacency and stagnation are easy death-traps for any technology-driven company to fall into.
On the politics and community front, it’ll be small, baby steps. I’m very new to the field of politics (as a participant; not as a spectator) so I’m starting small and in my local area. On the community, I still intend to contribute via JCI, but hopefully amplified with my newer engagement in local and national politics. It’ll be a steep learning curve, I’m sure – but the end goals and the learning process in the interim will make it more than worthwhile…!
So, uh, wish me luck‽