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Taking stock, staying true

As the New Year rolls over, I, like many of us, have digested my fill of “goodbye” tributes to the notables and celebs we lost in 2016; read the requisite reports on what technology will bring us next, in both pie-eyed and hand-wringing variations; attempted to make sense of the markets’ Everest-like elevation amidst contrarian cries of a new bubble; and kept myself up nights worrying about world affairs and the “what-ifs” of a new federal policy agenda.

How do we interpret these snippets of intel? Is it good or insidious that artificial intelligence may replace millions of white-collar jobs over the next decade? Are the nationalist movements we’re seeing pop up across the world a passing trend or something more pervasive? Will rising interest rates relegate my grandchildren to Tiny House lifestyles? Could the doomsday-preppers among us, storing dried corn and MRIs, be correct? People do seem pretty worked up about these portents of things to come, and yet so much is simply unknowable.

Here is what I know for sure: The status quo regarding policy, economics, demographics, and technology is changing, and our organizational strategies, as well as the leadership approaches we use to back them up, will have to change accordingly. But what won’t be changing – what we must keep looking to as our ever-present North Star – are our values. Values will always serve as the starting point of every great strategy, and the guiding force of all effective leaders.

That’s why the big question for each of us is not How will things change?, but How will I operate in a changing world while staying true to my values and purpose? A strategy for impact, and for leadership, can only begin by considering what is in your heart – not by assuming the worst (or even the best!) of a changing world.

We often ring in a new year by singing a song about looking back: “Auld Lang Syne,” which translates to “Times gone by.” Though it’s a song named for lament, my favorite part is the final verse, where we gather hope and strength from one another:

And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
For auld lang syne.

GCN looks forward to another year of working with you hand in hand, our trusted partners in good work, to lift up Georgia’s communities and realize a better future for everyone, regardless of what comes our way. Here’s to our values, our hearts, and our continued impact in 2017.

Karen Beavor is president and CEO of GCN. 

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