Discovering the power of One Word

Can one word change how you approach work and life? Inspired by her son, IMO’s CEO Ann Barnes committed herself – and the company – to finding out.
Ann Barnes One Word

I want to share a story about an exercise we are trying as a company in 2021. I am hopeful this will help keep us focused after one of the most trying years ever. The idea came from my eighth grader, who was asked to work on a project called One Word, which is based on a book that asks people to pick one word that will inspire how they work and live for the year.

As I learned more about the concept, I decided that I wanted to share this idea with my leadership team and with all of our employees at our first all-company meeting of 2021. This way, we could go through the experience together and hopefully learn something along the way.

Part of why I did this is because at IMO, we are very committed to creating a culture where we can bring our authentic selves to work. In many ways 2020 help accelerate that process, with Zooming from home and kids or animals running around in the background, but it’s important we keep that up and share more of ourselves so we can understand each other better.

Initially, I thought this would be easy. I thought about a few business-like buzzwords, but when you are trying to come up with something that fits both the professional and personal part of your life it’s much harder. After spending some time reflecting, I had my word.

My word for the year is intentional. I want to be intentional about everything I do professionally and personally. In 2020 it felt like everything happened to me, and I was constantly reacting and making the best of it.

This year at work I want to be intentional about our success at IMO, what we are communicating to the market, and my interactions with my team and our employees. At home, my kids are 15, 13, and 12. I realized that we only have two more years until my oldest heads off to college, so I need to be really intentional with my family time now before it’s too late. Lastly, I want to be more intentional with my friendships. Like many of us, I am perpetually busy with too many commitments, and I need to slow down and show those people in my life they matter too.

I am excited to see what words the team comes up with and for the opportunity to share our experiences and learn from each other. I am already feeling really good about 2021.

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