Waldi Joubert looks forward to seeing people thrive again in 2021

The Calgro M3 CFO encourages leadership to support those on their journey back to ‘normality’.

Last year was an extremely difficult year on many fronts, but Calgro M3 CFO Waldi Joubert says the adaptability, resourcefulness and tenacity of people during such a difficult time remains absolutely amazing to him.

“2020 was really a year rich in lessons if you managed to slow down and got out of crisis mode for a moment or two so you could observe what was happening around you,” Waldi says.

He explains that one of the two biggest lessons for him was around self-regulation and the ability to compartmentalise certain areas of his life at certain times. “In the transition to working from home full-time, it was easy to fall into the trap where there were no clear lines between work and family life, which included helping to clean the house, entertain the toddlers, prepare meals and exercise. It all just became one big blur of disorganised chaos.”

Waldi says that, for him, it was, and still is, necessary to turn off his computer and phone and spend dedicated, quality time with his family. Likewise, it was also necessary to lock himself in a room and focus purely on attending to work responsibilities. “It was, and is, an extremely delicate dance, but one I found worth spending a lot of effort on to perfect, in order to reap the benefits.”

The second lesson he learnt was how much people crave human interaction and what a profound impact those little chats with colleagues while making a cup of coffee have on people’s wellbeing.

He explains that working remotely for long parts of the year, with all human interactions being reduced to an email, SMS, phone call, WhatsApp or Teams chat, deprived people from having that feeling of personal contact and belonging. “I think this can ultimately, if left unattended, start affecting creativity, problem-solving abilities and performance.”

In the new year, Waldi is looking forward to seeing people get out of this crisis mode and return to a place of creativity and real job satisfaction. “While I believe that most of us are now used to working remotely and handling the challenges and new ways of working that this ‘new normal’ demands every day, I look forward to seeing people not just fighting to keep their head above water, but really starting to thrive again.”

However, he explains that what is of critical importance is that management teams support these individuals in their journey back to normality, whatever that may be.

Waldi’s personal objectives for 2021 are mostly focused on people and their wellbeing. “After observing the profound impact that Covid-19 had on individuals’ wellness, I realise now, more than ever, that it is vitally important for organisations to ensure their employees are emotionally healthy.”

He says that focusing on this aspect of leadership will be a challenge for him personally, as he is naturally a type A personality who expects and demands high performance both from himself and others. “So I am putting myself ‘out there’ with this objective. However, this is something I believe in passionately, and which may also result in other learnings for me.”

Fortunately, Waldi says he has a wonderful wife who is his complete opposite in terms of personality. “I am confident that she will ‘complete me’ in this journey.”

Asked if he has any advice he would like to share with his peers for the new year, Waldi said to “continually remind yourself of what the really important things are in life, and make sure you direct your time and energy toward achieving those goals”.