New Normal, now, Normal

Our language is the way in which we express our thoughts. When something new is on the horizon or is in the process of being created, we use words to speak it into reality before we actually see the tangible product. Think about an excited, young, entrepreneur, planning to start a new business. All he/she will talk about is the new concept, the office space, the prospects, the importance of the offering and why everyone needs it. This is often long before the business is even registered or has its first client. One can almost hear the ka’ching as their virtual bucks land in their virtual accounts.

I have a wonderful video clip, made around 2015, where the narrator speaks about all the things we have now seen come about as a result of this unexpected yet life changing pandemic. One of the phrases was, ‘new normal’ the second most overused phrase of 2020, after ‘you are on mute.’

But when do we simply do away with ‘the new’ part of the sentence and accept that, what was new, is now, just normal? Working from home is now so, 2020. Having daily meetings on Zoom is no longer a novelty that we feel the need to photograph and post to our Facebook, showing off our new and latest acquired skill and group of connections, from across the world. This is simply how we roll. Even though moms hoped the home-schooling trend was coming to an end, this too can be added to the normal to do list along with shopping for groceries and company yearend budgets. Even the kids now cry when dad needs to go to the office, as they got used to him hanging around, pumping up the bicycle tyres in his tie and pyjama shorts between important meetings, and telling them to be quiet and take the dog for a walk.

You know people who simply never speak about their past, their mistakes or their failures. In that way, Trump was not wrong, he only focused on the wins, successes, and good decisions he had made for America and pretended as if all the rest had never happened. This is how vision is carried into the future with momentum, giving it the best possible chance of becoming reality. Our challenge is to stop talking about the ‘new normal’ along with any other outdated people, concepts, fears, and happenings that do not allow us to truly embrace the even newer trends fast coming our way. There is no place for being afraid of technology, refusing to register online or for spending sleepless nights worrying about whether you should or should not delete your WhatsApp app from your phone or take the vaccine.

We are no longer in the grieving phase of denial and anger and bargaining is not too much of an option. We have shifted and should be well on our way to acceptance and implementation. Instead, we should be spending our energy on ensuring that our IT security features are updated, our POPI Act contracts are in place for end July 2021 and our connectivity and hardware is of the highest possible standard to enable us for the current and ongoing work environment. If our businesses have made the transition to online, we need new marketing strategies and possibly a host of new service providers to assist us with optimizing this experience for our clients and ourselves. Our people resources may also be outdated and a slicker, more flexible option like a virtual assistant may provide faster and less costly services, more fitting to the demands we now encounter. Contracts need to be constantly revised. Looking back at 2020, one can observe the sudden surge in data requirements, and anything less than fibre has become slow and almost redundant. Cell phone and date coverage, when considering a move to the country is an important aspect of the decision-making process. Cell phone data bundles have become a major commitment where we find ourselves having to decide between 3-year, lower prices, or two-year, higher priced contracts, for both children and employees.

Coaching is becoming a more necessary service than ever before. Previously seen as a nice-to-have luxury, coaches are now consulted for anything from ‘How to run energizing online meetings’ to ‘How to keep a virtual team engaged and productive.’ Employees are needing more emotional support and leaders are wanting new strategies for influencing their teams and keeping them positive and engaged. With so many losses of lives, having a telephone hotline to assist with emotional stress is also a service that can be delivered by a social worker or psychologist and provided to employees who feel they need support. Canteens, now redundant may morph into staff food hampers delivered weekly.

How do we replace those water cooler catch-up with colleagues or the quick coffee grab at a local café? These are the little fun and necessary features we now must build into the system and make easily accessible for all to participate in despite the reluctance we are likely to experience from the introverts who are actually loving the status quo. But then again, people want choices and no longer want to be forced to attend events that do not interest them or suit their personality.

Our personal lives, if not already in order in terms of life policies, medical aid and testaments may require updating again, even if you did so during 2020. New and more appealing products are being launched by insurers so make sure to ask your broker to give you a comparative quote. You may not drive your car as much and your laptop may never leave your office which means your short-term insurance premium may be decreased.

The sooner we make these decisions the quicker we will be mentally and emotionally available to embrace the year ahead, no matter what it presents. It is more than likely going to be filled with unpleasant surprizes, but each of these will also present opportunities for businesses to rise above the industry norm, innovate and become creative in offering a new and improved ‘WOW’ client experience.

Let us focus on what is now, what is possible and how we can flow with the constant current of changes, without spending too much time stuck in resistance and back-pedalling in a river of nostalgia and antiquities of days gone by.

Mel Tomlinson:
Transformation and Business coach since 2006, is the owner of Performance Booster (Pty) Ltd.
‘We grow people. People grow business ‘is the fundamental principal that all coaching and

facilitation modalities are founded on.

Mel is available for leadership coaching, group coaching, bespoke workshops,
facilitation of Performance Booster or keynote talks, online.

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