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December 22, 2021
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This is the time of year I tend to slow down and reflect. As the current year closes and a new one lies ahead, I’ve spent time reflecting on many things, both personal and professional. Lately I’ve thought a lot about COVID-19 and its ongoing impact on work culture and change. As we close out 2021 I thought I would share some random musings, intentionally as a stream of consciousness. Sometimes getting them on paper is the first step to real change.

  1. I never thought we would still be talking about COVID-19 at the end of 2021.
  2. I always believed we did not need offices for work.
  3. But I didn’t think about the importance of transitions between work and home.
  4. I didn’t think about how the absence of the office may impact individual’s identities.
  5. What role do employers and leaders play in helping us fulfill our dreams of who we are or who we want to become?
  6. Employee values are shifting.
  7. I don’t think meaning and purpose are generational. The generational aspect is the courage to express it.
  8. I do not think we should snap back to what was pre-pandemic, but I’m not sure what’s next.
  9. Admitting what we don’t know and being ok with it may be the hardest part of trying to change.
  10. What I do know is that COVID-19 is accelerating a revolution that is changing the way we live, work, and relate, and I’m excited to think about and participate in that movement.
  11. This chance to change and improve will require humility, courage, and a willingness to challenge what we know—our mental models.
  12. Success will be about building a better tomorrow—not just for ourselves and our business, but for society.
  13. What we have discovered is that it’s not the work but the interaction that people value. It’s the chance to be part of an impactful community.
  14. We do need physical space to gather and connect but not to do tactical work or be observed.
  15. What should the space we once called “the office” become?
  16. I like the idea that it’s not office space anymore. It’s cultural space.
  17. I like the idea of creating a community that connects people to build strong relationships, blending the physical and digital worlds.
  18. The social contract for the employee and employer will change. I’m still not sure how, but I will work to help facilitate that change.
  19. I believe leadership is clearly about change, development, and support—not control and compliance. Or at least I believe that’s great leadership.  
  20. I learned early in my life not to take any days or people for granted. COVID-19 has only reminded me of this.
  21. I know I need to lean in, lead, and make a difference. And if I’m willing to do that, the unknown could mean real opportunity for me and my team.

What are your year-end musings? Writing them down isn’t just a therapeutic to-do list; it’s also a good reminder we aren’t alone, and as a community that shares, we can learn so much from each other. I would love to know what you’re thinking heading into the new year and invite you to share a musing below.

I wish all of you and your loved ones a very happy holiday and New Year. Stay safe and well during these continued uncertain times. Front and Centered will be back in January, sharing a new post each month. We look forward to sharing and learning as a community in 2022!  

Albert Chiaradonna

Executive Vice President, SEI Global Private Banking

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