Reflections on 2021

Looking back, I can say 2021 was an excellent year. Business boomed, health was great, family was peaceful and prospering.

Didn’t expect that reflection, did you?

At Teal Unicorn, we know how lucky we are to be coping well and in fact growing our business, thanks to the talents of the remarkable Dr Vu. We know that’s not the universal experience, and we are truly grateful. We share our insights as widely as we can, so that others can share some of the goodness. Better work makes better lives.

  • We produced a lot:
  • Our Open Management book is published! Just made it into 2021.
  • Two books in Vietnamese (Cherry is showing me up)
    • Nhà quản lý linh hoạt – The agile Manager
    • Con mình chẳng lẽ lại “vứt” – “Agile” Family
  • Many blog posts for the year , and lots of Facebook posts in Vietnamese from Cherry 
  • Webinars and conferences, mostly in  Vietnamese, mostly to hundreds of attendees.

But of course 2021 was one hell of a year. We feel for those of you doing it hard. We feel the stress, and some of those we know are really struggling mentally.

I’m sad to see so many organisations that recognise none of this, that keep the pedal to the metal driving their staff to maximum capacity and beyond. It’s inhumane, but more than that it’s stupid: it undermines the very wealth it seeks.
I’m getting increasingly militant about it. I’m over 60 now, I don’t GAF. We need to call this crap out. Friedmanism has to stop.  It’s why we wrote Open Management. Not only will humanistic agile management make lives better, it also delivers better results. It unlocks productivity. Conventional management is dumb as mud.

Despite the fact that fascism is on the rise again globally, I’m optimistic for 2022. I’m biased because Cherry and I are finally getting formally married; and there is a moderate chance that we might get to travel again. 
I hope the planet will do better too. Economies might be ok if spending keeps up and property values don’t crash. The Chinese and US seem to be cautious about their headbutting, so world peace should hold up despite the corruption in the UK and the monster in Russia. And global supply might sort itself out.
Perhaps, if the sun comes out just a little, organisations will feel less panicked. The anti-Friedmanist message is becoming a clamour. Perhaps owners and governors will open their eyes to the harm they do, to their staff and to society.  Let’s encourage that Enlightenment.

Better ways of managing add to the optimism.  It’s what we need most right now, optimism. The world isn’t going to “settle down”. Rates of change are accelerating. China is rising, while the eagle empire falls. The climate crisis is upon us. How we cope depends on how confident we feel, how ethically we believe, and how united we act. Optimism fuels our response.
We can not only survive the future, we can thrive, if we open our minds, our methods, and our management to better ways of working. Surviving and thriving: S&T Happens.


What are your resolutions for 2022? Apart from getting back to 76kg, mine are:

  • More books. More activism. We have to change how we manage work.
  • Less remedial work, less battlefield medic. I will aim to work virtually with C-level people who are open to these ideas, in my timezones i.e. Australasia and Asia. 
  • Travel!! Maybe we can get back to Vietnam.
  • I really want to build my global network with you all. Please talk with me sometime. We can chat about anything.