“You’re looking at your calendar, I’m looking at my watch” – why 2022 is time to make that change.

Posted: 4 January 2022

By Luke Upton

Happy New Year! In a week when we are back at our desks (or kitchen tables) and filling in the new diary or calendar, I was thinking again of these words, spoken to his bosses in Washington, by an exasperated Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré ( @ltgrusselhonore ) , who led relief efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It often pops into my head when I see a long deadline put on a social or environmental project, initiative, or law. It seemed for a long time, everything was to be done by 2020, now we see 2030, or even 2050. We believe that 2022 is time to make that change.

Honoré felt, correctly, that what he was getting from President George W. Bush was too little, too slow, and that the challenge he was trying to overcome, and the disastrous consequences if he didn’t, wasn’t being taken seriously.

It’s a neat way of showing how someone on the ground, experiencing the effects of a crisis have a very different perspective than those still removed from it. I watched the Netflix film ‘Don’t Look Up’ over Christmas, and at the heart of this is the intentional ignorance of a major problem. For some of this it is from fear, for others for more selfish, opportunistic reasons. It’s funny too! The film, not the avoidance of problems that is.

The film is something of a parable for our attitudes towards climate change. And few corners of the world will be free of the effects of extreme weather in 2022 and it’s increasingly hard to disagree that we as a planet, and a people, are in trouble.

person holding there is no planet b poster

2030 is too far away for a deadline.

And 2050? Well, that’s not a date, that’s a denial.

This emphasis on urgency, has been a big part of the news cycle these past years. There’s been the rapid roll out (at least in certain parts of the world) of the COVID-19 vaccines and the following booster. The speed of this medical marvel only beaten by the near overnight change to many working practices.

It was the ongoing effects of the, COVID-19, that was the focus of discussion of the most recent edition Future of Work Summit, where the emphasis was on how the rapid change that the pandemic brought can be used to build a new, better, more effective and resilient workplace. Two words, that kept returning to the lips of the speakers, were ‘culture’ and ‘values’. How they were more important than ever and can transcend the boundaries of technology or distance that new ways of working might bring.

As Jacqueline de Rojas, President of techUK, neatly surmised – “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

It was both an inspiring and reaffirming couple of days, with those working on solutions to global challenges urging urgency, and those in HR emphasising values, coming the same week as Impactful was launched. Both these things are at the heart of who we are. We are a brand-new company, but the launch team has extensive experience in charitable giving, CSR, and sustainability. And we are all focussed on helping everyone build the financial resources to collaborate and tackle some of the biggest global problems as well as achieving their own life goals.

The team are committed to democratising how this is done, and by focussing on the workplace as the source of these developments, can see the further opportunity for how it can build team spirit, boost retention, recruitment and much more. A true win-win.

Retention is an important and interesting area. The pandemic has shaken everything and everyone up, and as my colleague Alex wrote at the end of 2021 in Why Almost Half Your Staff Are Thinking of Leaving and How to Stop Them, work is facing a ‘great resignation’ with World Economic Forum survey data stating that 41% of employees plan to leave their current job this year. Whether it’s the state of the world, the job, the commute, the family or one of a dozen other reasons, people’s relationship with work has changed, and work’s relationship with its people needs to change as well.

As editor of Bio Market Insights I wrote every day for over five years about the individuals and companies trying to make a better, greener world. I was often moved to see the genuine commitment people had to making change. And shared their frustration at the lack of attention and resources that they often received. As the co-founder of BMI, I also had a role in the building of the company, the management of successful teams, working alongside fantastic colleagues as well as sometimes making tough decisions.

We were excited to have started in 2021, and there’s lots ahead of us. 2022 is the time to make that change. And we’d love to chat – [email protected]

And remember, be more Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré and less President George W. Bush!