The holiday rush seems to come earlier and go faster each year… the appearance of Christmas-themed decorations on retail shelves before autumn even arrives; the hunt for just the right gifts for your children, family, friends, charities, customers, clients, oh, and don’t forget the pets; the flurry of family picture-taking for the perfect Holiday cards to be sent, the logistical coordination of holiday gatherings, the planning and preparation of the must-have holiday dishes, the list goes on.

In all this hustle and bustle it’s easy to lose sight of the Purpose.

The What. The Why.

It’s kind of like projects can sometimes feel. Driving activities and communications and tactics and deliverables against the relentless pace of the plan. We keep our heads down and pedal like mad to meet the deadlines, tick off the tasks, and (at least try to) track metrics.

And then our Change Management friends remind us (again!) to pause, to lift up, to make sure we focus on the culture, the engagement, the experience, the long-term and sustainable outcome. That is the Purpose after all.

This year in particular I’ve been reflecting on how this season of active expectation and thoughtful anticipation that is Advent seems to mirror elements of planful and deliberate management of change.

The Promise, or hope, of what will be.

It’s that guiding light, the vision, the aspiration. It’s what we articulate as the case for change and how we stay true to the principles, the north star.

The Preparation, or prophecy, to make the way.

It’s what must be done, the strategy and plan and execution. It’s making ready the heads, hands, and hearts. It’s identifying the change impacts – all the ways and places things must be different. It’s creating awareness, understanding and buy-in. It’s adapting processes, technology, operating models, and people.

The Peace, or joy, of knowing and receiving.

It’s seeing the sign(s) that the vision is coming to being, the certitude that it will be achieved. It’s recognizing the results, realizing the benefits, realizing forms of return. It’s the satisfaction of knowing that people are seeing and experiencing it, together.

And Gratitude, that intentional and heartfelt appreciation.

It’s the act of recognizing and celebrating wins. It’s fueling the energy creating the virtuous cycle of sustaining and continuous improvement. It’s nurturing a culture of belonging and thankfulness. It’s sharing the positives, bringing others along, achieving as a collective whole.

So, remember to pause, lift-up from the busyness, and focus on the purpose.

My wish for you this season is that you may lean into the hope of the Promise, the power of meaningful Preparation, the joy of deep Peace, and the Gratitude of a thankful heart.

Susan Barnicoat is a Partner with PeopleResults. You can reach her at