What have I learned in 2021?

Bob Wollheim
4 min readDec 19, 2021


As a tradition (to myself!) I have been publishing a summary of articles, TED Talks, books, podcasts, etc., that hit me during the year, so those who like to use these slower days to read, listen, and think have different motives to do it.

Before we go there, I would like to share a list of personnel learnings I have been through.

First, there is REAL EMPATHY online. Oh yeah. I’ve written about it.

Secondly, WORK HAS CHANGED. The opportunity is enormous, and we should be cautious not to go back to old paters for missing human interaction.

There is a beautiful article about this at The Economist (for subscribers).

And a fantastic Podcast with Priya Parker by Brenne Brown. I would not miss this at all!

Finally, the TRANSFORMATIONAL OPPORTUNITY we are going through is an excellent invitation for companies or individuals to embrace change and evolve.

And, from my point of view, those who don’t change and grow will be left behind.

That said, this year, I was a bit less into TED Talks, but I would like to highlight two related to the topics above. Interesting to note that both are not new ones but new to me.

And another one, also not new, although very appropriate for Covid times, will also be part of my life in 2021.

I think these were the TED Talks that were stronger and the ones I’ve watched more than once.

In 2021 our company became public in the NYSE. What a significant step for a Brazilian company!

It was also the year I became a CI&T Partner adding the hashtag #PEOPLE to the previous ones (#COMMUNICATIONS & #STRATEGY). So I’ve focused my attention on People matters, and two things made me stop, listen and rethink what I do.


As someone that loves MENTORSHIP, I was very intrigued by Brene Brown’s podcast with Charles Duhigg, who is a New York Times bestselling author on habits and productivity with The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business.

Mentorship should not be about the mentor and should not cut off the power of the mentoree. The idea is to empower the mentoree. So nonobvious things, necessary to be said. Charles’ advice “listen a bit longer” is something I have been practicing every day, and it makes a big difference.

I have not stopped being a mentor, but I am paying much more attention to listening more than talking. I am also doing it with an eye on what is about me and should not be there. And, finally, also paying attention to my own pleasure in being a mentor, which is the absolute wrong incentive to do it.

Listen to it yourself.


The second one is the book “NO MORE FEEDBACK” by Carol Sanford. Feedback is one of the most established and used concepts in the corporate world. So naturally, the book’s title is as provocative as a book title should be, but it’s worth noting that there is minimal questioning around such a standard tool as feedback.

Carol has participated in a podcast and explains that the feedback concept came from the industrial world with entirely different use from what the modern corporate world understands.

She says there is no such a thing as “positive feedback” and affirms it gives too much power to the person giving the feedback, precisely the opposite of what would be good. She also understands it as a tool that does not empower anyone once it transfers the knowledge to the person giving the feedback, who has little to no context and way too much power.

Very provocative ideas and ways of thinking! After listening to the podcast and reading a bit about it, I started rethinking how I participate in feedback sessions, being much more careful about the context, my thoughts, and making much more (or only) questions instead of comments and giving opinions.

In the spirit of sharing and learning, these are my 5 cents for 2021.

I hope you enjoy it as I did. Happy holidays!



Bob Wollheim

Partner, EVP at CI&T and Co-Founder at The Next Company