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  • Writer's pictureHannah Vera Cruz

Leadership Lessons For 2021

What can we say about 2020? The year started off on a strong note. It was a New Year, a new decade, and the future looked bright. We all know what happened shortly after, but no one ever expected how long the pandemic would last or the damage it would inflict on global economies and societies. In 2021, we are still faced with interrupted economies, but the promise of a vaccine could mean an end to this pandemic and a hopeful start to a new society.

We asked four people connected to our business to share the biggest obstacles they faced in 2020, and what lessons they would carry with them into 2021. Here is what they had to say:

Lorraine Maurice, Senior Director, Global Partner Marketing, SAP

There is not a lot I can say or write about 2020 that hasn’t already been said and written many times before. The most important lesson I learned was one that I have known for many years; it was simply reinforced in 2020. Strong relationships and a solid network of friends and colleagues will celebrate with you during the best of times, and they will be there for you during the worst of times.

As we begin to embark on our journey in 2021, I told my team that we allow an uncertain future and unexpected changes to paralyze us. We must be committed to our goals and be willing to change our plans, as often as necessary, to achieve those goals.


Shubham Singh, HxM Practice Lead, NTT DATA Philippines

When Covid-19 hit our country, every organization had to think about finding new ways of working together to help them withstand this international disaster and to stay in business. Social collaboration with customers, employee engagement, and even our daily routines all suffered due to the pandemic.

As we start to execute our plans for this year, we carry with us a few lessons that we have learned in 2020:

  • The “new normal” is just a normal way of living going forward.

  • Organizations must build new levels of “worst-case scenarios” into their business continuity plans. Too many companies were unprepared for Covid-19.

  • Social collaboration and employee engagement should be two top priorities for companies in 2021 and beyond.

  • Our employees are the most important asset of our company.


Brian Moran, CEO of Brian Moran & Associates, and Small Business Edge

Our biggest obstacle in 2020 was losing a critical component of how we did business with our customers and prospects – face-to-face meetings. Several dozen conferences and events last year were canceled due to COVID. We quickly adjusted our selling process, our marketing campaigns, and expectations because we could no longer meet with everyone in person.

The lesson we learned for 2021 is be prepared for anything and everything! We must have a backup plan for sales and marketing in case we cannot conduct business like we did before Covid-19.


Noemi Encarnacion, SAP Practice Lead, NTT DATA Philippines

2020 was unlike any other year I can remember. Our SAP business was taking off. We were starting new projects and completing projects that began in 2019. Travel itineraries were set, and we were ready to go!

Then, Covid-19 hit. The initial challenge we faced was adjusting to the lockdown. We had to design new ways of working, coordination and communication, monitoring, and completion of project activities.

We eventually adapted to the new normal. We found ways to work efficiently together, and we hired and onboarded consultants virtually. It was awkward to hire and start working with someone you have not met in person. Again, it required an adjustment on our part.

As months passed, we grew accustomed to working in the pandemic. We found ways to deliver our tasks – extending hours to meet deadlines and back-to-back calls, etc. It was not easy, but it was rewarding to deliver positive results despite the adverse situations.


In 2021, we have optimistically set goals to connect and interact with people physically (maybe in the second half of the year) and to recover the losses incurred from the pandemic. I know the virus will not magically disappear in Q1 of 2021, and we cannot be complacent even with if the vaccine delivers unprecedented results. We all look forward to the day when Covid-19 is a distant memory of the past. In the meantime, our team will continue working with customers, prospects, partners, and vendors under the current conditions until those conditions change for the better.



NTT DATA – a part of NTT Group – is a trusted global innovator of IT and business services headquartered in Tokyo. We help clients transform through consulting, industry solutions, business process services, digital & IT modernization and managed services. NTT DATA enables them, as well as society, to move confidently into the digital future. We are committed to our clients’ long-term success and combine global reach with local client attention to serve them in over 50 countries around the globe. Visit us at


NTT DATA Philippines


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