There is no question 2020 has been a game-changer.

Business models have been rocked, while at the same time innovation and digitization have soared. In this “remote everything” world, we have never been physically farther from our teams, yet for many, team connectedness and collaboration has never been greater. We run on fumes one day, then kick into over-drive inspiration the next. We are leading, creating, transforming and disrupting during truly extraordinary times and for that, there is much we should be proud of as we turn the page on 2020.

Though the end of the year may feel different — less celebratory, perhaps heavier — we can still lean into the symbolism and intent of the New Year. Set auspicious goals. Challenge old assumptions. Dream of growth and impact. Inspire new levels of greatness in ourselves and our teams.

Here are 3 questions that may be helpful to start discussing with your team as we look forward:


How Does Your Business Model Need to Shift?

2020 demonstrated just how swiftly and powerfully businesses can be disrupted yet learn how to shift on a dime. We have witnessed warp-speed drug commercialization, AI-as-a-Service, remote-fueled collaboration tools… the list goes on. In many ways, how our businesses looked at the start of 2020 is very different than how they look now. Accenture recently put out a staggering report in which 76% of CEOs and board members shared that they expect their current business model to be unrecognizable in five years.

As you start to build your strategy for 2021 — paying particular attention to how technology will fuel initiatives — consider how your business model may need to shift. Also, examine whether your organization and culture are enabled to elevate and inspire innovative ideas. Our Chief People Officer Jennifer “JT” Taylor recently shared a great blog on how to craft a culture that supports vulnerability (click here).

We all know that we will never go back to what was; rather, we need to be in a state of continuous evolution and openness. Those that are actively disrupting and iterating to next will build businesses to thrive in the years to come.


How Can You Become Truly Data-driven?

There’s a fine line between collecting data and using actionable analytics to measure, reform and move forward. To what degree is your organization crafting a true data-driven culture? The companies that are there — those leading from a place of intelligence — make it look easy. But we know the path to becoming more data driven can be a bit harder.

It involves strengthening the way we harness, capture and leverage data. Asking the hard questions like, do we have a single pane of truth to see where we are with all our transformation efforts? Are we drowning in spreadsheets? Are we using intelligence to make business decisions or leaning too much on gut instinct?

Data has a direct impact on our revenue and organizational health; just consider that data-smart businesses are 162% more likely to have significantly surpassed their revenue goals when compared to “laggard” counterparts. 2021 can be a pivotal year for elevating the role of data in all our organizations.


You may also be interested in: Emerging Tech: Why We’re Talking About It

Are You Using the Right Language When Talking about Digital Transformation?

Sometimes misconception exists about what it means to digitally transform. Digital transformation is about leveraging technology to enable the business strategy; it’s not about IT.

Companies can get roadblocked when it comes to transformation when they become singularly focused on trying to spin up new technology and solutions, without a more macro view of the role the technology has in moving the business forward. We see it happen far too often where companies spend hundreds of thousands – sometimes millions – on new rollouts and initiatives, only to have the technology fail to meet the needs of the end users. Or, due to technological complexities, organizational energy is exhausted in an attempt to “go live” and claim victory only to realize that numerous innovation opportunities were missed or overlooked along the way. Fog of war?

Digital transformation is about business strategy; the role of technology is to provide new capability to reach those business goals. What’s more, digital transformation is about people and successful change management. It’s about inspiring your team around a shared vision of how technology can accelerate business outcomes.


As the horizon of 2021 approaches, there is great hope for a better next chapter. As leaders, we need to keep our teams focused on possibility, innovation and positive disruption, encouraging them to see beyond what is to what can be.

From our SQA Group family to yours, we wish you a very happy and safe holiday season. We look forward to connecting with each of you in the New Year!