Part of my planning process is to reflect on the past year by asking some key questions. I’d love it if you did the same. Here are my answers — what are yours?

What was your highlight?

I love Retail and have a particular passion for the role of the Area Leader. Last year, my greatest highlight was working with more than 100 fabulous Area Leaders and State Managers across various retailers. Their appetite for learning and trying new ways of working was incredible. I loved receiving feedback such as, “I feel more organised” and, “My store visits are planned and outcome-driven.”

I loved helping Area Leaders and State Managers navigate lots of people challenges due to lockdowns. I was so proud of how they stayed resilient and solution-focused.

What did you learn?

Being in and out of lockdown played havoc with my calendar and travel plans. I had to be agile and flexible. It also required moving workshops to be delivered live online. This meant redesigning my sessions into shorter, bite-sized lessons that could be easily digested virtually. It was a fantastic learning experience for me and means I can now offer both face-to-face and online learning and help more leaders.

I was also able to do lots of additional one-on-one work with Area Leaders who needed that extra support. In many ways, this was a journey we went on together — learning how crucial psychological safety is for team performance and understanding that being vulnerable and asking for help is a strength, not a weakness. Area Leaders often feel they must shoulder their load alone but working on relationships and communication brought benefits across the board.

What are you most proud of?

During our first lockdown, I spent 13 weeks writing my book, The Essential Guide for Area Leaders in Retail. I am thrilled that it has made its way into the hands of lots of retailers. Feedback has been incredible, and, most of all, receiving messages about how it has changed the way Area Leaders prioritise and structure their time has been heart-warming. I am delighted that it has made a difference to so many Area Leaders and how they work. I always say that being an Area Leader is the best job in the world when done well.

What would you love for yourself in 2022?

I’m not sure if you are a planner, but having yearly, quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals clarifies what the year ahead will look like and helps keep me on track and maintain momentum.

After the year we’ve had, you might be looking for more balance. Maybe it is to have a bulletproof succession plan or know what activities will help you have more impact so you aren’t chasing your tail and putting out fires.

Whatever you wish for this year, you still have time to make it happen. Taking those first few steps now can be the difference between hitting the ground running in 2022 or getting out of the gates late and realising you’re playing catch-up.

As Maya Angelou said “If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going.”

If you’ve decided to make 2022 your year to GROW your Area Leaders and State Managers, then I’d love to help you make that happen. If you’d like to talk about how we can work together, please schedule a call at a time that works for you.