Business lessons from 2020 which we need to leave behind in 2021

New ideas are overrated, you can find them on every street corner. We’ve been in a holding pattern for a year, where everyone you meet is an expert on COVID and has their own ideas about what should happen. I’m sick of hearing them.


Of course, ideas are important, but execution is more important. This is the year to leave ideas behind and get things done.

It doesn’t matter what you do, just do it well. Aim for excellence, stick to whatever business model you have, do a really good job and the world will be a more rewarding place.

If you’re a plumber, turn up on time. If you’re a builder, do the job on budget and if you’re a doctor, wait more than 20 seconds before interrupting and giving the answer to the question “What seems to be the trouble?”

You don’t need a college degree to understand the power of focus. Every teenager realises that you can set light to a piece of paper with the help of a magnifying glass and a bit of sunshine.

Concentrating on the task in hand and putting in continued effort on a day-to-day basis can help you achieve dizzy heights of success that many of us don’t deserve and aren’t qualified for. Most of us can be successful with a little application and some discipline. If you don’t believe me, look at Donald Trump.

It’s time to stop talking about things and get on and do them.

Zoom calls

Zoom calls are like communicating whilst on tranquillisers.

Being successful in business isn’t about dealing with the big issues that hit us over the head, it’s about listening for the weak signals and dealing with them with a greater degree of sophistication. It’s not possible to do this via a screen in two dimensions.

“I need to feel, real love” as Robbie Williams once said.

In this digital era when anything and everything can be faked, authenticity is the thing that will carry you through. To lead people properly, you need to see the whites of their eyes and look for the truth. It’s more difficult to pick-up delicate emotions like longing, slight discomfort and little white lies via a computer screen.

It’s human nature to want to interact with each other, chat about issues, solve problems, gossip, tell a joke, cheer each other up, celebrate success together. Remember the rosy cheeks and beaming pride that someone feels when they are singled out and praised in public for a great job done. It’s not the same on a computer link.

The truth is that Zoom is brutal tool, which for a temporary amount of time has helped business limp through a very difficult time. Sure, hiring decisions have been made, appraisals have taken place and people have been on-boarded, but to unite people behind a cause, to create that 'pride in the badge' you need to be there in person.

Zoom is like listening to a music track on the radio, whereas an office full of people is like being involved in the live concert.


I wouldn’t normally talk about watching TV in a business capacity, but it’s hypnotised us all to be miserable and we need to snap out of it.

Hide the remote control or better still, bury it in the garden for a month while you reset yourself.

Think of all the time we’ve wasted in 2020 watching either misery or trash on TV.

The worst a person can do when they’re feeling anxious is watch hours and hours of speculative news that has been padded out to make us frightened and convince us that the latest government plan is our path to salvation.

Most people have been watching 24-hour TV footage for far too long now, featuring stories about death, families being torn apart and businesses going bust. We’ve been shown footage of empty city centres, restaurants and pubs without people and empty shopping malls.

It’s not been good for our mental health.

Alternatively, on the non-news channels, few lives have been enriched sitting for hours watching Cash in the Attic, Judge Judy or Naked Attraction.

Spare us please. I could have learned to play the saxophone, been fluent in Arabic or even learned the offside rule if I’d had all those hours back again.

The point I’m making is that 2021 should be the year of hope and the art of what’s possible.  It shouldn’t stifle risk-taking by reminding us of the misery of what’s happened before however terrible it has been.

In 2021, we should be focussing on what’s possible and how we can create a better world for our children.