The countdown is on. With just one month left in 2020, we are all breathing a sigh of relief this tough year is coming to an end. We are also trying to find some silver linings.
Over the next few weeks, EBI is sharing the biggest business lessons our leaders have learned in 2020. Some of these lessons might sound familiar, others may offer you a novel approach to emulate in 2021.
Let’s get started.
Don Darrah, Vice President of Alliances at EBI, is a relationship guru. His role is to cultivate and maintain partnerships with the largest ecosystem of talent acquisition providers in the screening industry.
Darrah has an unparalleled knack for delivering exceptional customer service and developing long-lasting partnerships – most of which he does in person. So, when 2020 threw a work-from-home wrench into his annual plans, Darrah and his team pitched a new strategic blueprint.
What has been the BIGGEST challenge you have faced in 2020? How did you (or are you) working through it?
In the alliances role, you typically spend a tremendous amount of time in face-to-face meetings and conferences, which in 2020 were essentially non-existent. Managing and engaging in productive video meetings was challenging in the beginning of the pandemic, and as the year progressed you could see video fatigue coming into play. Of course, the concern to ensure your colleagues, family, and friends remained safe throughout 2020 was always top of mind. So, just making sure you were there to listen was priority #1.
What has been the BIGGEST challenge your team has faced in 2020 and how did you guide them through it (or are continuing to guide them through it)?
Most, if not all, our partner companies had some level of layoffs, furloughs, etc. in 2020. As these continued, the time to get new integrations completed and customers deployed became more and more challenging over the course of the year, whether due to resource constraints on the partner side or our own. So, you just have to prioritize objectives, be transparent with your team, partners, and customers. Until resources are reinstated, I suspect this challenge will continue.
What has surprised you the most in 2020 from a leadership / people management perspective?
My team has been fantastic in dealing with the challenges experienced in 2020 and our mantra has been “one day at a time”. With any “crisis” comes the true personality of the people around you and how they deal with that crisis. There certainly have been some surprises in how people have managed and dealt with the pandemic of 2020 and strategically how they intend to deal with it going into 2021.
What are the leadership skills and people management strategies you leaned into the most during 2020?
Caring, transparency, empathy, understanding, patience, and perseverance.
What do you expect 2021 to bring? How are you trying to approach the new year?
I don’t see things changing much as we head into 2021 relative to the pandemic. Certainly, I think we’re all a little better prepared from the learnings gained in 2020. It is important for us all to take from those learnings, make necessary adjustments, and continue to evaluate and adjust as we head into and go through 2021.
For more insight from Darrah, check out these additional posts:
Our primary responsibility at EBI is to help you reach your business goals. For 26 years, enterprise-caliber organizations have relied on EBI’s award-winning background screening solutions. Pandemic or not, our team members strive to deliver best-in-class service to our clients. Part of that service is sharing our industry knowledge so you can face challenges with confidence. As always, we’ll be by your side.
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Writer. Digital marketer. Storyteller. An award-winning writer and editor, Tricia O'Connor is the Marketing Content Manager at EBI. Tricia worked as a broadcast and print journalist for nearly two decades writing and producing programming for high-profile networks like ESPN Radio, History Channel, and Hallmark Channel, as well as contributing editorial work to publications nationwide. Tricia joined the EBI marketing team in 2019 and is responsible for content strategy, development, and engagement. Tricia earned a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is a proud undergraduate alumna of Wheaton College in Massachusetts.