Hopefully all of you, dear readers, like all of us here on the editorial team at Vision Monday/VMAIL, have been having many conversations throughout this unbelievable year, to catch up on how friends, family and colleagues are doing, how business is recovering (or wavering), what’s working, what’s not, what’s still a question mark. And as you exchange ideas about how others are coping—sometimes to gauge how you, personally, are coping with such a large scale of changes—those discussions tend to point in certain directions.

For those of you also lucky enough to have joined us at our virtual VM Global Leadership Summit this year, you’ve heard some recurring themes and directions emerge from the wide range of speakers and experts, from outside the traditional boundaries of the vision care field, some from within. Our theme was “Aftershocks,” because certainly we are still seeing the reverberating effects of COVID-19 in so many ways. It has changed healthcare and underscored the cracks in the system. But there are real opportunities for vision care within this environment.

Trust me, cutting across all of those types of conversations and presentations and insights are a few clear themes which are driving us all into a new future. Yes, we still have to make it through the November elections to have a little more clarity (hopefully, there will be clarity), but now is the time of year to start your proactive planning and keep the critical themes in mind:

Accelerate. Don’t delay, put off or procrastinate. Speed is of the essence, perfection is the enemy of “good.” Whatever it takes, make some choices and move forward, more quickly than you’ve done before. Is there a problem with a program or plan that has been nagging at you or is not successful? Ditch it. Prioritize and implement quickly. Most everyone has done this as the year went on but it’s no time to slip back into old, slower, considered ways.

Integrate. Combine, think of ways to accomplish two or even three things with a new idea. Can you combine patient communications pre-or-post visit with a new one-to-one system and make elements of it work in your social media for patients, too? Blend and streamline. The pandemic year has shown us all that our customer and patient relationships are among the most valuable business assets we have. Think in new ways.

Delegate. Give yourself a break and trust the capable people on your team. You know the ones who know what to do. Encourage ideas from everyone. Give yourself time to think, rest and strategize next steps.

Acclimate. It’s hard to let go, but try to get used to this “next normal,” to the ever-changing environment you face. Yes, it’s not easy to make hard predictions and plan but it’s understandable to “try” and “adjust” rather than to simply stand still.