Preparing for the new normal
Spring saw the first poppies appear in my garden; fragile and delicate, but as perennial as the grass. Fragile is also a word I would use to describe our current predicament; be that the business environment, day to day living or perhaps even our state of mind!
For the vast majority of us, our plans and aspirations have been put on an enforced “pause” – or as one person described “the big pause”, given the global impact. That aside, all things have an ending and for sanity’s sake, it is time for us to look forward to the future and set our minds on preparing for the new normal – whatever that may look like.
The big pause has without doubt disturbed and distracted our attentions from the daily rhythms and routines that made up our lives; these have been displaced by “standby habits” which seem to be geared more towards helping us through the lockdown – but once the lockdown loosens, then what? During lockdown there seems to be a collective longing for what we had pre Covid-19; going forward, is there a risk of longing for the comfort afforded by a long period of inaction or at any rate very low activity – a risk that we become too comfortable?
To re-focus, we need to plan for the future. We cannot expect to be operating in the same environment as before.
If you had a plan, it needs to be modified; if you didn’t have a plan, you need to form one. In both instances, it will give you the best chance of a sustainable recovery.
People and Process
Perhaps an oversimplification – the future is all about the people and the processes of the company:
People – leadership/engagement/values/development/care
Process – robust systems/structure/planning
What might that entail?
- Creating a new paradigm for leadership in the business to maximise employee contribution through communication, recognition, engagement and a motivational management style from the off. Now is the time to plan how you are going to hit the ground running.
- Coping emotionally with lockdown – the possible impacts of working from home.
- Maintaining your mental health and improving physical fitness through this hopefully once in a lifetime experience.
- Planning for resumption; getting costs under control and targeting the areas for maximum margin and cash flow.
- Restructuring against the new reality.
- Rebuilding trust post lockdown – team/suppliers and customers.
The list is not exhaustive; it does however provide clear points of focus – you may want to address one or all of the points mentioned. Which takes us back to fragile – we are all fragile, but like a poppy – that most fragile of flowers, we can flex, be agile, be robust and flourish.
I recognise that life at the top of the organisation can be lonely at the best of times and increases that sense of fragility. With all the pandemic uncertainty about, this is certainly not the best of times and we are all facing these strategic imperatives in isolation against a background of uncertainty. If you need a sounding board on any of the issues raised, give me a call or drop me an email. We may not solve the problems but we could at least establish a sense of direction! Be a Healthy Leader and lead the way.