As we approach the end of 2021, like many, we are reflecting on the journey that has brought us to the fifth anniversary of the founding of agilityIRL. This year brought significant change, even as we continued remote coaching and training.
The Big Change
In summer of 2021, we celebrated the retirement of Jim Ruprecht, who co-founded agilityIRL with Mike in 2016. The impact that Jim has had on agilityIRL as a company, as well as on us as individuals cannot be overstated.
Jim and Mike founded agilityIRL with the idea that it should be a company that they would choose to work for. Jim often states that a company is not just beholden to its stakeholders, but that it has a responsibility to serve five groups: customers, employees, vendors, communities, and stockholders/owners. We believe that understanding the full reach of a company’s stakeholders is part of an Agile mindset. We strive to live that philosophy with our daily actions as well as coach our clients in the benefits of this approach. With his no-nonsense, colorful and straight-talking approach, Jim has rightly been called “the voice of agilityIRL”.
He continues to be a mentor, trusted advisor, and friend for us both. In typical JR fashion, his retirement doesn’t mean that he stopped working, and we will continue to collaborate with him on engagements that are a good fit for his expertise and interests. We also expect that he’ll be annoyed with all the nice things we’re saying about him in this letter, but anticipate that he’ll get over it and will continue to work with us.
More of the Same
2021 has been a year of adjusting to a new normal of disconnected work. When we started this in 2020, many of us thought it was a brief period to get through. 2021 taught us that remote work is productive, fits many people well and that some version of it will continue for the foreseeable future. We continued to inspect and adapt our training classes. We improved our home offices. We modified the ways we collaborate and communicate to work in a distributed setting.
The flexibility of remote work has many benefits, but it can be isolating. We are seeing our clients putting an increased focus on mental health and providing resources to help their employees cope with the continued uncertainty, anxiety and ambiguity that are hallmarks of this new world. This brings us to our holiday custom of giving back to organizations that support the needs of the time.
Rather than ply our clients, colleagues, and friends with gifts they don’t really need, we are again extending a bit of help to an organization working to make this world a little better place. This year we are donating on behalf of all of our clients, contacts, partners, family and friends to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). NAMI’s mission is to provide “advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives.” In order to achieve our mission of “eliminating human suffering in the workplace” we have to allow people to bring their full selves to that workplace. Funding NAMI’s mission will move us a little closer to that goal while achieving a goal we can all get behind – building a better world.
So, from Our Homes to Yours…
We wish you and yours the very best of the holiday season— and for anyone struggling with this new normal, remember the words of one of our favorite philosophers, Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once and awhile, you could miss it”.