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What does “New Normal” mean?

By Lisa Woods (1041 words)
Posted in Leadership & Teambuilding on May 15, 2020

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First of all, let’s agree to some fundamentals. “New Normal” DOES NOT mean everything looks the same from one business to another. It also DOES NOT mean that the changes you make are limited to adding in safety measures per state and local requirements.


What New Normal DOES MEAN is that you have some work to do…


How to Define Your New Normal (Phase One)


1)    Define what your “New Normal” looks like (including safety measures).

2)    Define how you will make money and how much you will make (new goals).

3)    Define how you will structure to support these activities (people/operations).

4)    Define how you will implement the changes and what that timeline looks like.


Whether you are defining a new normal for your business, your team or your career as an individual, these four elements pertain to the work you need to put in.


It sounds like a lot of work when simply “waiting” until things go back to normal seems a lot easier. Reality check…it’s not going back…it can’t. Not because of COVID-19, but because we now know that we are vulnerable to failure. We weren’t agile enough to adapt. We didn’t have multiple pathways to success. The one “New Normal” that impacts all of us, is that without agility, without multiple pathways…individuals, teams and businesses won’t succeed because they simply won’t be competitive anymore.


Putting Business Strategy in Perspective


Booming Economy Strategy


This economic crisis comes in the midst of a great economy. We went from trying to keep up, to needing to revolutionize. That change requires a whole new mindset. Typically, when your career is going great, when your business is thriving…change occurs via obvious low hanging fruit, continuous improvement and practical jumps that support that forward momentum.


Economic Slump Strategy


When the economy is in a slump, we diversify…new career, different products or services, cut costs/downsize. During a slump we slowly awaken to the need for change. I say slowly because slumps are typically seen through the lens of lagging indicators. We react too late.


Revolutionary Strategy


The majority of people, the majority of businesses, fall into these two categories of continuous improvement or lagging readjustment. But today….BAM! Neither one of those categories exist. Instead we find ourselves in a different category. One that existed only for the elite, innovative trend setters where revolution is their everyday norm and agility is a common business practice. I’m not talking about individuals and companies with great ideas. I’m talking about individuals and businesses that make a profit as they innovate.


My best advice to you, for your career, for your business, is to actively develop your new norm within this revolutionary category. American ingenuity provides the tools to get you there. The new norm of regulations is not your future. Sure, it must be incorporated into your new operating procedure, but it’s not the definition of your new normal. Your future is not based on reduced output at an increased cost, reduced income with increased expense and risk. Your future has to be redefined…now.


Personally, I’m excited about the prospect of the American Economy working at its peak revolutionary state. The key is to reach everyone and transition them into the new mindset. I understand that many believe it would be fantastic to go back to a high growth “keep-up” economic state, however our eyes have been opened to a risk that forces us all in a new direction (like it or not). We have an opportunity to add innovation and agility to our everyday norm. There is no going back to high-growth and low-growth risk. Will you be able to keep up? You can if you want to, but it’s going to take work.


Let’s review the list of action items we should take to define and implement our new normal. Considering this new mindset, I’ve added a few elements to ensure innovation and agility are at the forefront of your plan.



Steps to Define Your New Agile, Innovative, Profitable Normal


1)    Define how consumer needs & preferences have adapted for your product/service.

2)    Define the needs and preferences of your current customer base and the products/services they seek from your business and others.

3)    Define your new product/service mix, delivery systems, employee skill set and communication mix.

**Make sure you have multiple pathways to success, so success can shift during upticks and downticks of risk.

4)    Define what your operational “New Normal” looks like (including safety measures).

5)    Define how you will make money and how much you will make (new goals and new cost structure).

6)    Define how will you physically/technologically structure to support these activities (people/operations).

7)    Define how you will implement the changes and what that timeline looks like.

8)    Establish metrics/accountability to track your implementation and progress vs goals.



Try to visualize this agile organization. I see it as a stress ball skillfully launched forward toward a target. Along the way there are several touch points of risk. As various risks squeeze it, the stress ball immediately redirects resources moving forward seamlessly through open, predefined pathways. When stress releases, all pathways are again viable…so on and so on…forward, innovative momentum.


Make sure that your business, and your role in it, can survive that stress.


Good luck!



Written by Lisa Woods
President ManagingAmericans.com   

Lisa, a thought leader in Business Management and Leadership, founded ManagingAmericans.com in 2011 after 20+ years successfully leading and driving growth in the corporate world. Her objective is to help mentor and develop professionals to be better leaders, managers, team players and individual contributors in a “do-it-yourself” learning environment using unique & practical tools to support the process. Lisa’s career spans from Global Sales & Marketing to General Management of Multinational Conglomerates. Today she continues to consult small business owners through her private practice, as well as teach leaders and mangers as an Adjunct MBA Instructor for Southern New Hampshire University. Lisa's publications include: • 4 Essential Skills for Leaders, Managers & High Potentials © 2013 • The Cross Functional Business: Beyond Teams © 2015 • Action Item List: Drive Your Team With One Simple Tool © 2016 • Small Business Planning Made Simple: What To Consider Before You Invest © 2017







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