‘Weird’ is the new ‘Normal’
A standard pattern of conversation that I keep hearing at the moment is around what people are going to do when things “return to normal”. There is usually a pause at this point and the sentence is then completed with the phrase “depending on what normal actually is”.
This is usually said in jest but is actually a really important point. What is going on right now could completely change life and business as we know it.
In the lockdown phase, we’re in some sort of Quantum Realm where the normal rules of economics do not apply. Much of the stress around is from those trying to apply the old rules to the new world and it doesn’t work. This shut down goes across the board and there are only a few areas where the normal economic rules apply.
The point at which the lockdown gets relaxed – and we don’t know how long that will be for – then the economic tap gets switched on again. That, however, doesn’t mean that we will get back to normal.
Nobody really knows how the new environment will shift and evolve and we have to take that into account into our strategies. Plan for ‘weird’ not for ‘normal’.
This may sound odd but in fact, we’re actually quite used to doing it. It’s about being flexible and learning to adapt, which is something every animal has been doing for millennia.
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When we talk about Darwinism and evolution we often think of the phrase “Survival of the Fittest”. This usually gets misinterpreted as “the strongest will survive” whereas in reality the usage of the word ‘fit’ is in the same sense as a ‘jigsaw piece fitting into a puzzle’.
In other words, we need to react to the environment and ‘fit in’ with it the best that we can. After all, environments change all the time and those who can adjust and adapt are the ones that make it through.
I was reminded of this recently when I saw a film called ‘Hidden Figures’, the true story of the coloured women that had a major influence on the American Space programme and were fundamental to them getting a man into space and onto the moon.
Within the film, the jobs of an entire department are put at risk by the installation of one of these ‘new-fangled’ computers which can do in one day what the entire team could do in a year. When the department head sees what is happening she knows that this a vision of the future and, as things stand, her team will not be a part of it. Her only option, therefore, is to adapt.
Recognising that someone needs to actually run the computer, she teaches herself and her team the relevant computer language, converting them into computer programmers. Since they are ahead of the curve, they become indispensable and, not only do they hold onto their jobs, they get a promotion.
That is how you face a major threat – not by hoping that things will return to normal – but by taking action and adapting.
If your ‘normal’ services and solutions are no longer applicable or effective, what can you do differently to make sure that you still provide support and value to your clients?
What changes can you make to the basic structure of your business to become more streamlined and flexible?
The world is not going to change to suit our needs and it never has done. It has always been up to us to fit in. One of the few certainties in life is that the future is uncertain.
It is, therefore, perfectly normal to plan for the ‘weird’.
Coping with change can be challenging and frustrating – find an expert who can support and coach you, to help you on your journey.
‘Yorkshire’ blunt speaking from the Yorkshire Powerhouse!
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