New Year, New Hopes

There’s something magical — if completely illogical — about the transformation that overcomes us as the clock ticks from one year to the next. In one mere, fleeting second the previous year is suddenly gone and an entire new year awaits. Aside from the date, though, nothing has changed. Reality — with all of its joys, travails and fears — remains intact.Even so, hope springs eternal. Optimism abounds. Possibilities seem endless and, importantly, attainable, ours for the taking.

Maybe this will be the year we lose that weight, exercise regularly, stop smoking, get that job, read, spend more time with family and friends, take work more in stride, play music, learn a new language, become involved. Maybe this will be the year we, at long last, get it right.

Here’s what getting it right might look like:

At work

  • Invest in your employees, for they are your lifeblood. Contrary to popular corporate opinion, people are not expendable nor interchangeable. They are experts, providing critical value to your operation and should be treated with the appropriate dignity and respect. Career planning, skills training, coaching/mentoring (as opposed to the dreaded and motivation-sucking ‘performance feedback’), and compensation are essential to retaining and growing great talent. May 2020 be the year you up your game and make it crystal clear to your employees that they hold the key to your organization’s success.
  • Build leaders, for they drive growth. Don’t buy the fallacy that leadership is something reserved exclusively for executives, nor that it’s optional, a luxury. It’s a requirement. Every successful organization is filled with leaders, from front-line units to the C-suite. Leadership produces superior results consistently. Don’t go without it. May 2020 be the year you commit to building more great leaders — and strengthening the ones you have.


  • Listen closely to youth, for their pain is real. The young have been trying to tell us that the planet is in enormous trouble and that guns are dangerous. Why are we not paying better attention? May 2020 be the year we accept their important point of view, respect their courage, and act to protect them. That’s what compassionate, responsible adults would do.
  • Seek facts relentlessly. In our polarized society, viable data may be our only hope for reducing the chasm that separates us. In 2020, may we honor those who uncover facts, present them to us in a cogent manner, and help us understand their implications. This is the essence of research, the press, and science. When, for example, hundreds of climatologists came together and agreed that the health of the planet is severely threated, it would behoove us to accept their findings and believe them — and to take action to reduce the threat they have proven to exist. If their data doesn’t move you, maybe the thousands of stories of those in the Amazon, Australia and California fires will.
  • Advocate tolerance loudly. Jews are under attack. Immigrants are under attack. People of color remain under attack. The homeless are under attack. Civility is under attack. One could argue that our very way of life is under attack. This is not a political issue; this is a societal issue. Who do we want to be? How do we want to live? Our country is based on open, healthy debate. It is not based on hostility and violence toward those who are different. When one of us is vilified, we are all vilified. Silence is tacit agreement of those who would take us down. May 2020 be the year we come to the immediate aid and support of those who are attacked, whether it be someone we know next door or a stranger across the globe. Loudly.

It’s 2020. Possibilities are endless. Let’s begin the year with a focus on getting it right, both at work and elsewhere. I’m optimistic. In these turbulent times, that’s what a good pair of rose-colored glasses will do. Or a decent rosé. Happy New Year.




Alan is a consulting psychologist with a long and storied history of helping organizations of all sizes become more enriching, empowering places to work.

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Alan Schnur

Alan Schnur

Alan is a consulting psychologist with a long and storied history of helping organizations of all sizes become more enriching, empowering places to work.

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