Looking ahead to 2021: How to drive culture, teamwork and results


December 22, 2020

Erin Richardson

Erin Richardson, President & CEO, All-American Pest Control

After the year we’ve had, focusing on teamwork, clear goals and morale are more crucial than ever. COVID-19 is unrelenting, and we are all faced with levels of fatigue and burnout. Whether your industry is struggling, pivoting or booming, we can all agree that COVID-19 requires stamina and teamwork like no other experience in our lifetime.

Transitioning from 2020 to 2021 will likely bring a sense of relief and followed by a sense of letdown. Even with vaccination progress, there are no guarantees for economic recovery in the year ahead.

With such uncertainty still at play, 2021 will require businesses to dig deep to put forth their best efforts and drive for meaningful results. While there’s no magic formula, the fundamentals below can make a difference.

Take time to celebrate progress

Any success achieved in 2020 did not come easy. Come up for breath, take stock, look for areas where you or your business have made progress. Our team at All-American Pest Control kickstarts every single meeting or huddle with a “power-up.” Each team member shares and celebrates one area of their personal or professional life where they have achieved progress. The baby steps of progress are the fuel to make things happen in life and business. Stay focused on each small step and enlist others to cheer along beside you.

Practice gratitude

This pandemic has forced us to rethink what’s important, reinvent how to deliver results and reimagine the process of teamwork and communication. It is different, nonetheless, but there is good in the changes that are taking place. Some shifts will leave a lasting mark.

Ask yourself: What aspects of your life or business have changed for the better? Which tools and technology investments have allowed for bigger thinking and improved strategies? What relationships have been forged? Are there changes that you won’t be able to live without?



Great leaders took the reins and overcommunicated in the early months of the pandemic. Are you still overcommunicating now? As the number of new cases continues to rise and more team members are burdened with quarantines and childcare responsibilities, communicating still remains the best tool for genuine team-building and teamwork. Communicate company progress, the challenges, unknowns and your overall plan. Acknowledgment of truth is a uniting force that rallies the troops and demolishes fear.

Redefine success

Be realistic, but don’t be afraid to set some big goals. Big goals attract top talent, inspire win-win strategic partnerships and cultivate opportunities. Revenue goals are the easiest to set, but maybe 2021 is fertile ground for more transformational goals, such as attracting higher-quality clients, creating more free time for team members or streamlining the mundane tasks that you’ve avoided up until now. 2021 will be a year of rebirth for most businesses. What will you create in the new year?

Choose an annual theme

Annual themes can serve as your lighthouse throughout the year to keep you focused on what you said was most important. A good theme brings energy to your goals and provides a framework to celebrate and have some silly fun. At All-American Pest Control, our best themes transcend across our multi-generational workplace. They have a visual aspect that can be translated into decorations and logos and woven into meetings and agendas. Some of our past themes that may inspire yours for 2021 include:

Theme: Ohana Better Together 

Main focus of the year: Leadership and career path development

Reminders: All team members received a key chain with the logo to remind them of their personal and professional goals and how their teammates support their learning and growth. At our end-of-year party, we held a luau.



Theme: One Giant Leap

Main focus for the year: Rolled out our 20X strategic plan

Company sales incentive: We created an All-American Shoots and Rockets life-sized game board. Think Chutes and Ladders. Throughout the sales competition, we played the Shoots and Rockets game for prizes.



Theme: Breakthrough

Main focus: Learning from 2020 to position our company for breakthrough teamwork and results



Don’t underestimate the power in choosing the most appropriate annual theme for your business. Ask yourself what you desire in the upcoming year and let the creativity flow. Allow the above steps to guide you through a successful new year while driving culture, teamwork and results.

Richardson is president and CEO of All-American Pest Control, based in Nashville, Tenn.


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