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The Team at X5 Reflecting on 2021: Hindsight is 20/20

  • X5 MANAGEMENT Leadership Team from left to right: Brent Collingwood, Michelle Clarke, Kris Schinke, Mike Mack and Matt Graff


    The team at X5 Management continues to expand to meet the growing demands of businesses wanting Training, Coaching, and Consulting solutions. We are excited about this growth and even more excited that we have the capacity to support more organizations. As we reflect on 2021, we’re eager to share our insights from the year we’re about to leave behind.

    Reflecting on 2021: Hindsight is 20/20

    Kris Reflecting on 2021

    Despite the struggles we have seen and heard about the past two years, as many reflect on how their lives have changed since the pandemic, I have to say 2021 was a great year for me professionally. It was an honour to join the X5 team and expand my capacity in several areas.

    I have always embraced personal and professional growth opportunities. I feel accomplished to have become a Certified Everything DiSC® Facilitator earlier this year and am excited to support the Workplace Training opportunities for X5. Next month, I am also looking forward to earning The Five Behaviors™ Facilitator Accreditation.

    Both of these programs have offered incredible benefits to businesses and their employees. As we approach a new year with new business challenges, I would highly recommend them for your business.

    I loved the many business coaching opportunities I have had this past year. Regardless of how the external environment might challenge a business, my advice to business owners and leaders (small and large) is:

    • Assess your business culture regularly; do not leave it to chance or assume it is as good as it should be. Culture will lead a business to success if it is strong. (Your company culture deserves a strategy. We talk more about that in this post)
    • Lead by example, personally, by consistently “walking the talk,” listening to and involving employees and customers.
    • Take a close look at your employee tenure and Succession Planning Program to ensure you are always poised for growth.
    • Invest in relevant Training Programs to prepare your employees for Remarkable Customer Service, Peer-to-Peer Relationships and Communication.

    I am looking forward to supporting business leaders through Training and Coaching in the New Year. 2022 promises to offer a fresh start and renewed business confidence, and I, for one, can’t wait!

    Happy New Year, Kris Schinke

    Michelle Celebrates

    As I reflect on the past year, there is a lot to celebrate. Some highlights from my perspective:

    An expanded Team: The addition of three talented and dynamic new team members, Kris Schinke and Lisa Hunka, earlier this year, and more recently, Brent Collingwood, has enabled us to scale the business in new and exciting ways. Each of them brings their unique abilities and talents to help us expand and support more new Customers.

    A unique marketing tool: One of my favourite marketing initiatives that I worked on this year was our X5 Resource Kits. From sourcing and designing the red and black envelope-style presentations boxes and pulling together all the contents, assembling and wrapping each one up (with a big red bow!) and hand-delivering them to our valued business connections, it was a fun and collaborative project!

    A refreshed blog and website: One of our big 2021 resolutions was to update the X5 blog, which led to a major website refresh in tandem. Both projects allowed us to collaborate with some wonderful blog and website experts to elevate our online presence.

    Our Remarkable Customers: Not to brag or anything, but we really do have the BEST customers, and it continues to be a delight for me to support each one on the admin side. ☺

    Along with the highlights, this year also brought some key learnings.

    Thinking outside the ‘S’

    It is natural and comfortable to default to our DiSC® style, but there is a lot to be gained by stretching outside our ‘quarter zone’ into a less comfortable one and meeting others in theirs. Reaching beyond my ‘S’ (Steadiness) tendencies has helped me grow in new ways.

    It’s okay to say No

    Once a die-hard people pleaser, I have had to learn, sometimes the hard way, how to say ‘no’ more (or not say ‘yes’ until I’ve asked and answered the ‘why’ behind saying yes.) Time is fleeting. Make sure you’re spending it doing what you feel truly called to do.

    It’s also okay to ask for what you want: Not a comfortable thing for an ‘S’! But here’s the thing, even if the answer is no, you have the peace of knowing you took the initiative and asked. (And
    what if the answer is YES?!!)

    Embracing the ‘Third Certainty’ in life

    Change. It’s inevitable. And though often unwelcome and uncomfortable, it still trumps the other two! The key to embracing change is building up our agility and resilience, so we are ready and better equipped for it when it comes along. If the past 20+ months have shown us anything, it’s that we need to become more agile and resilient!

    Perfect Vision is 2022

    This past October marked my fourth anniversary. Now, as I work towards number 5 with X5 this coming year, I am grateful for the journey so far and am fixing my eyes on the exciting opportunities that lie ahead. For me, success is recognizing the importance of operating in a continual state of grace and of letting go… or at least holding things more loosely. (Warning: if you have perfectionism and control tendencies, this will be easier said than done!)

    The key is to focus on progress, not perfection. My goal these days is to simply “move the needle.” It is hands-down a more sane and enjoyable way to go… and grow.

    (Speaking of goals, we talk more about the goal-setting process in this post)

    So, here’s looking ahead to 2022! May it be full of learning, discovery, growth, grace, letting go, and moving that needle—for me and you!

    Here’s to progress, Michelle Clarke.

    Brent on Reflecting on 2021 Priorities

    Predicting business opportunities or the headwinds we may face in any given year is always difficult, but even more so during a pandemic that most felt would not have continued this long.

    The pandemic has caused upheaval and turmoil, both at the business level and on a personal

    In 2021 the health and care of employees became a top priority for many organizations struggling to avoid layoffs or lose staff through personal choices.

    Also, in 2021 business coaching became a key outlet for executives struggling with multiple challenges. These range from keeping the doors of the business open to maintaining their employees’ physical and mental health.

    While still a relatively new discipline, business coaching grew in awareness and benefits, a confidential and safe outlet for executives to vent and explore new possibilities.

    In 2022, these same challenges will continue as variants of concern with COVID-19 arise. It is, therefore, more important than ever that organizations make their people a top priority.

    From training to tapping into their creativity in strategic planning to identifying and grooming high potentials for succession planning with independent 360° reviews to executive coaching that helps leaders navigate difficult circumstances, your people should be where time, energy, and investment are placed.

    (Read more about the importance of strategic planning in this post)

    At X5 Management, we have the right people with the knowledge and skills to help your organization.

    Aligning teams to achieve, Brent Collingwood.

    Matt on being “All-In”

    Wow, has it really been nearly 22 months since the start of the Covid global pandemic?! Where did 2021 go?! In many ways, 2020 and 2021 have felt like one chaotic blend of big changes everywhere. It has forced us all to change the way we go about our daily lives. And how we manage relationships. And, of course, how we manage our personal and professional time.

    Becoming a new dad early on in the pandemic (my wife Claire and I had our first child—Heidi; in August of 2020) has given me a new outlook on managing the uncertainty that these changes bring. Navigating the management of my family farm business and being involved with the growth and evolution of the team at X5 has given me much to focus on and strive towards throughout the pandemic.

    Rather than multi-tasking or juggling these different areas, I have found it helpful to adopt the mantra of being “All-In” towards what I am doing at one particular time. This helps provide focus and clarity. It also reminds me to concentrate on what I can control in different environments.

    When I find myself starting to worry about what comes next, I go back to the All-In mantra, and it has helped keep me grounded on where I am and what I am doing.

    Whether it’s a busy harvest day on the farm, or a training session with a valued X5 customer, or an evening at home with my wife and daughter, being All-In has increased my level of joy and appreciation for what is.

    As we enjoy the holiday season and hopefully some much-deserved time with friends and loved ones, I hope that you can be All-In and get the most out of all of these special moments.

    Yours truly, Matt Graff.

    Lisa on Connectedness

    What’s coming up for me as I reflect on the year that was 2021 is the notion of connectedness.

    As I wrap up another university program delivered online, I am reminded of my MBA program that was also online.

    What’s the connection between the two?

    The willingness and openness of my peers to connect despite the distance.

    Similar to my MBA program, where I made several lasting relationships, like with Kris and Mike at X5, I have forged several new relationships that will continue beyond the program construct.

    It reminds me that attitude is part of the formula for forging connections, especially now when we find ourselves in a hybrid work world.

    One can look at the reasons why it’s difficult to forge those connections when we are not face-to-face, or one can see possibilities of what the person has to offer on the other side of the video screen.

    This year when I celebrate the close of the chapter of my organizational coaching certificate, I will also be toasting alongside those virtual colleagues to what the future holds for all of us in 2022.

    Cheers, Lisa Hunka.

    Mike’s Gratitude

    What a year! I am finding that as I get older—and hopefully a little wiser—the years move more quickly. The good news for me is that I find a greater appreciation for the days and moments that matter.

    2021 seemed to roll in somewhat uneventful, from a wild yet restricted 2020.

    From my perspective, 2021 was a great year, both personally and professionally. From more simple moments that I really appreciated to new business clients and a very busy professional schedule for the entire year! No complaints for sure.

    As I am reflecting on 2021, there are many things that I am extremely grateful for.

    1. My family. All of our adult children are doing well and progressing in life. I am blessed to have an amazing wife and partner that supports me unconditionally, and I do my very best to do the same for her. Bonita and I enjoyed a very busy yet relaxing year (when we weren’t working hard throughout each week) with home projects, beautifying our backyard in our new home, and relaxing on our patio. A peaceful place that allowed us to recharge each day, at least during the warm spring and hot summer in Edmonton.
    2. My colleagues. The team at X5 are special people that I truly Like-Respect-Trust (LRT), and I am extremely excited about what we can achieve together in 2022 and beyond. It will be a busy start to the New Year!!
    3. Our clients. It has been a privilege to work with our X5 clients over the past year. While we have a corporate relationship with many businesses, it is the deeper connections we have with many amazing people. I treasure that and value these relationships a great deal. As many of you know, I am a believer in “Relationships for Keeps.”

    I am very fortunate to do what I love to do. Helping people and businesses is a passion and a calling for me. I have said it many times over the past year. I love what I do today, even more than 5, 10, or even 15 years ago, when I started X5 Management. Grateful and blessed!

    On behalf of the team at X5 Management, I wish all of our family, friends, and clients the very best for the New Year. May you enjoy a year of good health, happiness, opportunities and prosperity. Sincerely, Mike Mack

    Did you enjoy reflecting on 2021 in this post? Here are three more posts to read next:

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