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The impact of COVID-19 has delayed the arrival of the new roaring '20s projected at the start of the year and it is now setting up a very interesting 2021. 

As the Economist asked in sharing their thoughts on the New Year, "do you feel lucky? The number 21 is connected with luck, risk, taking chances and rolling the dice. It’s the number of spots on a standard die, and the number of shillings in a guinea, the currency of wagers and horse-racing." 

From a leadership point of view, I do feel lucky entering 2021, primarily because I have discovered the ONE word that will make the New Year successful. This one word is not complicated and you do not need a dictionary to understand its meaning. See if you can spot it as you read this year-end article. 

Continuous Introspection

 

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Let's face it, the last nine months have not been easy for any of us. Leveraging the title from one of my favorite spaghetti westerns, 2020 to date has been the year of "the Good (pre-pandemic), the Bad, and the Ugly."

Routines that were years in the making were disrupted in the blink of an eye. For me personally, it was a fast-paced globetrotting career boarding a flight every week, even after very early retirement two years ago to focus on private equity emerging technology companies. 

The global retail industry will decline over $1.6 trillion this year. We all very quickly learned the difference between essential and non-essential retailers.

But much like the hero in many of our movies, in the end multiple of us are emerging refreshed, stronger, and better prepared for a world that has forever changed. 

What will I NOT miss in the post COVID-19 "new normal"? What is the most important personal asset highlighted by this crisis? What world does the virus leave behind? How do these changes link to the retail industry?

A Reformed Road Warrior

In retrospect, the timeline of the pandemic to date makes for very interesting reading. 

 

Prepare for the Worst and Plan for your Future Professional Best

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Having a substantial part of my family south of the red zone in Italy, I have been following very closely the progression of COVID-19. As of March 17, Italy had over 31,500 cases of Coronavirus with 2,503 people now deceased. To put that in perspective, Italy with 60 million people has already reached nearly 78% of the fatalities in China with a population reaching 1.4 billion. 

"Italy has one of the oldest populations in the world, with a median age of about 46 years old. Nearly 60% of the population is aged 40 and over, about 23% of which is over 65." The data from China confirms that fatalities increase with age. 

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As exemplified by panic buying, COVID-19 feels overwhelming. Protecting your family and your health should continue to be paramount.

This article summarizes lessons for retail in China and where the industry transforms next. Several projected economic scenarios are also presented. Finally, we will explore the unforeseen new 'normal' that will emerge from digitally transformed stale business models. 

The Retail Apocalypse Wanes

 

"Life is divided into three terms - that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the future, and from the present to live better in the future." - William Wordsworth

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In multiple cultures, the New Year is seen as a time to reflect on the past, think about where we are, and dream of the potential to start anew towards achieving new personal, family, and professional goals.

Why do we start the New Year on January 1? Where did this idea of setting goals / resolutions for the New Year come from?   What are the most common resolutions set for the New Year? How does one achieve those New Year's resolutions?

The History of New Year's Resolutions

 

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While sitting in the Delta Sky Club in Atlanta observing both weary and excited holiday travelers, four plus million personal air miles later, the realization that another decade is about to end entered my mind. In just a few more days, we begin the perfect vision year 2020.Quotes art Tony

Welcome to the new roaring ‘20s.  In preparing for the new decade, here are three simple exemplary leadership motivational reminders for ultimate success.

Take that Leap of Faith

Roughly 18 months ago I retired very early to pursue opportunities in private equity portfolio companies, startups in Silicon Valley, and continuing to explore the future of retail and emerging technologies. The progress to date decisively reveals that ‘very early’ was not early enough.

 

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Roughly a year ago, I published a personal Plan B blog titled “Personal Branding and Retiring Early on Your Own Terms”.  As I stated in that post, “continuous learning” opened new possibilities that were calling to be executed.

The objectives that I had set out for my new career included:

Working with a few select private equity firms in developing growth plans for their portfolio companies either through consulting or board positions. Continue to public speak on the “Disruptive Future of Retail”. Monetize my personal website www.tonydonofrio.com. Continue to write about technology and leadership, including publishing a couple books.

In one word, the last 12+ months have been transformational. 

What are your passions?

 

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 "There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the infinite passion for life." - Federico Fellini

Officially I announced my early retirement from Sensormatic / Tyco / Johnson Controls on social media last week. Culminating an amazing 25+ year career, this life changing event was nearly a decade ahead of my long-term plans. 

Continuous learning in building a personal brand has opened some interesting new possibilities. The foundation of this post are the comments that I shared with the Tyco retail team at my farewell celebration where I answered four simple questions.

1. How Did I Get Here?

 

Career & Life Advice from Tom Cruise, Don Corleone, & Rocky Balboa 

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Couple of weeks ago had the pleasure of being the Master of Ceremonies (MC) at our multi-day fiscal year kickoff meeting. Over 140 people from around the world joined us in Florida for the "Mission Possible" themed New Year event.

The orchestration of this event was a great reminder of the quintessential leadership success formula. It is never about you. My mission possible life and career has been inspired by these three success elements. 

Reticent Preparation

 

“It’s not where you start that matters, it’s where you finish that makes all the difference.” – Tony D’Onofrio

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Maybe I have been luckier than most. Every day I am inspired by the potential possibilities to change the world. Every night, reminders swirl through my mind on how much I love my life. 

In a recent internal company video I was asked how I keep my passions alive, what gets me up every day and keeps me going. 

 

Lead, by Living Your Personal and Professional Branding Dream

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As reflected on my personal website, my endless curiosity journey has focused on three topics: retail, technology, and leadership. The subplot spotlight to all three categories has been a passion for branding. 

Every year, I look forward to the latest BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Brands Report. In a turbulent 2017 year, "brands have continued to deliver. The Top 100 brands increased in value by 8 percent year-on-year to now be worth $3.64 trillion."

Top 10 Brands in Apparel