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Annual reflections on 2021 – the year of growth

By Nicola Winn
March 9, 2022

To me growth is about opportunity and choice.

I reckon this means that an opportunity needs to exist, or you need to create it. And you have to have choice too – as to whether or how you pursue or progress the opportunity.

With that as a backdrop, here’s my reflections on growth in 2021 and what I’m looking forward to in 2022.

What went well?

1. Working in partnership and collaboration

Getting shortlisted for the prestigious UK Housing Awards as Partner of the Year was definitely a highlight this year.

What really struck me was just how willing clients were to talk about how we’d helped them and the insightful feedback they gave. This was our real win.

Being a good partner is about aligned values, listening and responding to needs and issues, experimenting together to have impact. Applying for this award really helped me understand what clients value – and it was good to know where we’d got it right this year.

Reflection one: As with any relationship, partnerships grow and deepen when you invest time and respect each other. Both parties have to choose to invest. It’s never a one-way street.

2. Creating products with purpose

I love creating and growing our portfolio of services and one of my favourite products to work on this year has been supporting other leaders with their profiles.

Sometimes you need the reflection of others to understand yourself and it’s been a privilege to be able to provide this space for people. We’ve found this work helps people reconnect to their own purpose.

In turn, this also help them to refresh and reconnect to their own organisation’s purpose, and that of others in their leadership team too.

Reflection two: The best personal growth is purpose-driven and you have even more impact when your own development is really connected to that of your organisation.   

3. Strengthening the Creative Bridge collective

It’s been really good to see growth in the individuals that make up our Creative Bridge team across 2021.

I’ve enjoyed sharing the journey with people as they’ve made choices about how they want to develop themselves, balance their worlds and integrate more of who they are in their life and work.

Reflection three: People create their own opportunities and make choices about growth when you give them more space to shape their world.

4. Family growth

And finally, a personal area of growth for me has been related to the growth of our family. And the joy of welcoming twins into the world. As my older grandchildren have been learning to communicate, I’ve also experienced growing into my new identity. Nana Nicky is real and present in the world these days!

Reflection four: People grow and flourish when they feel safe and loved. Personal identities are so important.

What were the challenges?

As someone who loves to find inspiration and development from places, one of the biggest challenges for me has been the physical restrictions on travel.

That said we did manage to get away to Portugal for our 25th wedding anniversary back in August – grab those opportunities when you can!

What am I looking forward to in 2022?

So with that as a backdrop, what am I looking forward to in 2022?

Well, in no particular order, here’s my list:

  • Cementing and making more of what has worked across the last year – more listening, experimenting, learning and shaping new things out of issues and challenges
  • Working with people I love and respect
  • Travelling to (fingers crossed) new places and to those that make me come alive

And of course…people, people, people, especially the new little ones in my life.

Happy Christmas to you. Wishing you and yours safety, health, peace and joy – and growth in 2022!