Every year I write a Thanksgiving message to my teams. I want to share that message with all of you as well.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. I love it because it combines two of my favorite things: gratitude and food!!
I look forward to writing this message every year. My family deeply reflects on everything that has happened and the choices we have made over the last year. I'm going to start by being very honest and vulnerable with you. This was not easy to do this year. A lot happened - and a lot of it wasn't very good.
But a lot it was! And that's the power of reflection!
We've had incredible people join our team in the last year! We've gotten so much better at living in a "virtual" world. So many people have shared the most inspirational stories of achievement and even miracles!! My Dad beat cancer, and, maybe most importantly, Dune was finally released!!
Our reflection, though, really highlighted what the challenges this year (these past few years) have really made us thankful for. And that is having everything I believe in, everything I take at face value; take for granted challenged.
In our society and culture, we have fostered and developed this "default mode" of operating that I've learned just isn't healthy. It's not good. That default mode has informed what I believe and what I take for granted.
This "default mode" should sound familiar to you. It's the drive to always be perfect; it's the belief that everything is critical and urgent; it's a fear of open conflict; it's prioritizing the me over the we; it's believing feelings and emotions have no value in the workplace; it's believing there is only one right way, and a lot of wrong ways, to do something.
Leaders in our communities and circles are forcing us to look at this "default mode" and question it. Honestly, all of you have compelled me to look at it and question it! I mean, how often have you been told that there is a critical deadline, but there doesn't seem to be any problem moving it if you just ask? Or, maybe even closer to home for us, how often have we been outside of our Service Level Agreements and, really, everything has been ok? If the "default mode" was correct and true, our deadlines would be make-or-break, missing our SLAs would have dire consequences. But, if we're being honest, that's just not the case. Right?
I am so thankful that my beliefs have been challenged. While close examination has helped me, and many others, see that the "default mode" is, at best not a good thing, and at worst, toxic and hurtful, it has also validated other beliefs. It has validated for me that the most important thing in the entire world are people. Without people, most businesses are just a building and a bunch of equipment. It's people that make things special.
The "default mode" prioritizes work, production and perfection. It rewards power hoarding and defensiveness. It tells us that our feelings belong behind closed, private doors. The "new mode" that is emerging, very much because of the crises and hardships we have endured, prioritizes people. It rewards community-focused action. It tells us that our feelings and emotions are part of our whole selves, and that we're better when we can be our whole selves, both at work and at home.
Yes, these last few years have been hard. They've been exhausting. I can't wait for a summer that I'm not afraid of my house burning down, a winter where I'm not afraid of losing power for a week or weeks! For a newspaper that isn't filled with the names of people lost to a disease.
But from these dark and terrible times, we can emerge better. We are emerging better! I am so thankful for all of you. You have challenged my beliefs and assumptions and validated that the "new mode" is so very much better than the "default mode."
Please take some time to enjoy and celebrate the people in your life that are important to you. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with you. But know that you and your family are so much more important than work. Enjoy them.
Be well, and Happy Thanksgiving!