I came across creative evangelist Debbie Millman’s “Love letters to what we hold dear” a few weeks ago and immediately had the thought to write this piece. I then went on to second guess myself, wondering is “love letter” too much? But I’m going with my gut because, no – I don’t think it is. First, I do love this community. I never thought I’d say that when I entered into it in 2008 not knowing what field service even was. But nearly thirteen years later it’s become something I, indeed, hold very dear.
Second, you deserve the love. This year has been intense and as I’ve talked with service leaders about how they’re doing, strategies for navigating the complexity, lessons learned, and everything in between, I’ve been in awe of the fortitude demonstrated in conversation after conversation. Here are some of the amazing characteristics that have stood out to me from those conversations this year:
- Resilience – You’ve likely had days this year where you felt like you just couldn’t anymore; where you felt like running away. I have too. But you’ve shown up anyway. Day after day, challenge after challenge. You’ve stood up to the seemingly impossible tasks and fought through one step at a time.
- Selflessness – A very common theme among the conversations this year is how you’ve put people first. Customers, but even more importantly, employees. You’ve taken great care to take great care of your people – to prioritize their safety above all else, to check in with them on a personal level, and to make sure they feel seen and supported.
- Grit – Unfortunately, there were many hard conversations to be had this year. Conversations around pay cuts, layoffs, job reductions and even harder ones around illness and loss. You’ve faced these conversations with grit and bravery and it’s something to be admired.
- Creativity – I don’t think there’s such a thing as a comfort zone after 2020! But rather than fight the fact, you’ve let comfort zones go and have embraced your need and ability to get creative. Whether in how you serve customers, how you lead a team virtually, or how you use digital tools, seeing creativity brought to life this year was a really cool thing.
- Vulnerability – I’ve seen you all open up, as individuals and as a community. Having the courage to be vulnerable with your teams and your peers and to share when you’re struggling and ask for help when you need it. And calling on the community with the realization that there’s power in numbers and peace in knowing we’re all in this together.
A few of my favorite conversations of the year that touch on these characteristics, and more, are:
- Linda Tucci, Global Sr. Director of the Technical Solutions Center at Ortho Clinical Diagnostics on Making Mental Health a Focus in Service Leadership
- Reeve Bunn, President of DSL, on how COVID Has Accelerated the Pace of Change
- Reihaneh Irani-Famili, VP of Business Readiness, National Grid on how National Grid is Preparing for COVID-19 Recovery
- Nicola Buckley, EVP of Services at Park Place Technologies on How Park Place Technologies Excelled During The Pandemic
- Sasha Ilyukhin, VP Services and Industry 4.0 at Tetra Pak on How Tetra Pak is Preparing for The New Normal
- Gyner Ozgul, Sr. Vice President of Operations at Smart Care Equipment Solutions on The 3 Key Pivots of COVID
I do love this community, and I love how Future of Field Service has been able to serve as a platform for sharing and connecting in a year where those things have been so very critical. Thank you to each and every one of you that opened up to me this year, whether on record for an article or podcast or just because. I have deep respect for the work you’ve had to do this year – as people and as leaders – and immense gratitude to you for trusting me with your stories. Here’s to hoping that 2021 brings ample opportunity to share stories of how you’ve turned this year’s trials into triumphs.