Happy third pandemic year

Review of the past year and welcoming the new successful year

4 min to read
Written by: Marina Čulić Fischer

The end of the old and the beginning of the new year should bring us rest and new strength. It’s also an opportunity to look back on the past year, and a chance to remember our own successes and failures, record everything we have learned, and move forward more wisely.

The art of the possible

I think we will agree that last year could have been better or worse than the previous one, but it is certain that it was at least as dynamic. LinkedIn called it The Great Reshuffle. Like the rest of the world, we in Croatia have struggled with uncertainty, economic, social and health consequences of the global pandemic, lack of talent in the labor market, our own and others’ wrong decisions, shorter deadlines for service delivery, and longer payment deadlines. Although the tourist season has (once again) saved our GDP, inflation is accelerating, supply chains have not yet recovered, construction and real estate prices have skyrocketed, and even Advent is not what it used to be.

On the other hand, unicorns began to walk through Croatia, the mandatory membership fee of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce for small and medium-sized enterprises was abolished, and the average monthly net salary in the IT industry reached 9,000 HRK. As my friend, Saskia Wallner, the director of our super-successful agency in Vienna, would say, anything that seemed impossible until yesterday has now become possible.

Victories and defeats

Numerous articles in the Harvard Business Review highlighted the commitment of leaders to be optimistic. So each of us can choose whether to view the “impossible” as a threat or as an opportunity. What threats have we experienced, what opportunities have we achieved, and what have we learned in the process, and how we have detected sustainability as a key factor in our growth and development and implemented it through all our processes, are presented below:

1. Environmental sustainability

One of the last year’s projects we’re most proud of is The Green Hub. It’s a platform that we launched in cooperation with the Ditch Plastic Croatia initiative, which is based on education and implementation of measures aimed at reducing the harmful impact on the environment. We enjoyed all the actions we carried out in this regard, from film screenings to education of employees of TGH clients and environmental clean-up actions. Some of the products we launched have come to life, while others have been put on hold. Learning is a process.

2. Business sustainability

For the first time, we experienced what it means to win a pitch rather than start working with a client due to a lack of budget. Some campaigns were (thankfully) only delayed, while some clients completely froze communication with the market until further notice. We also had several cases in which we thanked potential clients for invitations to pitch due to incompatibilities in communication strategies or due to previous bad experiences. Only time will tell whether we made the right decisions, but other clients with whom we started cooperating in 2021 make us very happy because of the opportunity to work with them in the long run and with purpose. Less is sometimes more.

3. Organizational sustainability

In the previous year, we parted ways with some colleagues, and some new ones joined the Dialog team. Farewells were conditioned by various factors; from some of the colleagues starting their projects, which we supported in every situation, to incompatibilities in accepting changes or understanding organizational culture. Decisions from the other spectrum were not easy to make, but we concluded that for us, “breathing as one” is more important than the short-term efforts that some of these partings have caused. We have hired and are hiring new people and we are looking forward to rejuvenating the team. We prefer compatibility over skills.

If you find our experiences useful, consider them our New Year’s gift. If not, choose to forget them and learn from your own experiences. Either way, we wish you a lot of strength and optimism in the year ahead.


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