APEX CEO Thoughts for 2021
Dear friends and colleagues –
As we close out this year and welcome a new one, I know that we will have many memories of what we experienced in 2020. But for this message, I wanted to focus on what comes next. I want to focus on my personal hopes – and on my beliefs – about what is possible in 2021. There is always a ‘silver lining’, we just have to tug at it sometimes..
In one of our APEX surveys, we checked in on how executives felt about 2020, and asked what were their expectations for the year ahead. I was so pleased to find that thread of ‘silver lining’ in their responses, because despite all the challenges and complexity that executives are facing, they are still sending a message that they are optimistic about the future. That is powerful and confirms the layers of great leadership that we have in the public service.
When I look to the future, I see three goals, where that foundation of optimism will be a critical asset for all of us.
The first is to reinforce our resilience. I believe that, as a public service, we have shown a tremendous, collective resilience during the pandemic, but we need to ensure that as individual executives, we also have the support to thrive. One critical lesson of this year has been the importance of maintaining balance in our lives, so that we do not sacrifice our health and home life while we pursue professional excellence. Above all, we need to remember to be kind, not only to others, but also to ourselves.
The second is our capacity to adapt and innovate. The public service has shone through this crisis and shown how fast it can pivot to serve the rapidly-changing needs of Canadians. We should not lose our motivation to modernize and challenge old assumptions of how to deliver our work. We recognize now that the end of this will not be a return to the ‘old normal’. Every executive will play a leadership role in fostering a new post-pandemic work culture that reflects our ingenuity and values.
The third area where our optimism will drive us to success is the achievement of real and meaningful inclusion. I truly believe that we have passed a watershed moment in recognizing that racial discrimination and injustice cannot be accepted or ignored any longer. We have seen unprecedented activism and a growing national dialogue on racism and the exclusion too often felt by Black and Indigenous Canadians, and by many others based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, disability or sexual orientation. On this, all of us can make a difference by embracing inclusion as a core leadership value. We have to live it, walk it, and dare I say love it!
These are easy goals to accept, but not always simple to achieve. I can promise, though, that APEX will be right there with you in 2021, offering public service executives support, inspiration and tools to continue reaching higher, towards your goals.
I wish every one of you a restful and happy holiday season, and a bright and rewarding new year.
The Word Cloud project: views from executives!
APEX asked its network of Organizational Ambassadors, across all Government of Canada departments and agencies, to tell us how public service executives felt about 2020, and what they expected for 2021. Here is what our executive community told us.
In one word, how would you describe your experience in 2020?
What are your expectations for 2021?