ADOPT … THE NEW NORMAL
As I sit back and reflect on the past few months, I am awestruck at how much has changed in such a short time. A sudden disruption … A lockdown almost across nations, life being at a standstill… leaders confused or even clueless about the present and future of their organizations.
This corona virus has become an uninvited negative stakeholder in our lives, in our business and our society. It has changed things to a level or a platform that did not exist earlier.
During the crises the world economy faced a free fall and markets fell by over 30% in less than 45 days. Businesses went back to the drawing board to recalibrate and review models on not only ‘what’ they could do but more importantly ‘how’ they do it. I do not recall a situation in the past, where every aspect of our business was ever revisited!!. No one had ever predicted that the world’s economy would witness a downfall. All estimations and forecast models failed exceptionally.
The world was already competitive, businesses were slowly transitioning into a new era with a new culture, new technology, reforms, innovations etc. but with this sudden jerk reaction, organizations had been reminded of their original values inculcated since childhood some of them being care for the community, saving lives, maintaining hygiene and health, managing short term implications and exploring lasting solutions. This change is not only adopted in our daily lives but the same set of principles are being adopted across organizations.
As a leader, I was struck by many dilemmas on what the new normal would be like. Since the road ahead was not smooth, it was based on speculation with no typical number analysis, nor analysis of any sort and with no statistical tools to support ones decision. It is just your vision aligned with your core values and concisely your principles in life, that help you move forward. Ahead of me there were three problems foreseen:
1) How to solve the present situation
2) What comes next
3) What is envisaged in the near future.
These questions were not only meant for organizational survival or steering through the fog of uncertainty, but to also develop self-sustainability, resilience and bring ingenuity to steer amongst such force majeure’ s in the coming decades.
Although these challenges were always present in old normal conditions, the word ‘normal’ has also been redefined with different conditions, norms, rules, and environments emerging to be renamed as the ‘new normal’. The whole ecosystem would have to adopt to this new normal.
This pandemic has increased the need for social distancing but the interrelatedness of human in-depth thinking, challenges and potential, has never been more apparent. Further, it is imperative to focus on needs in order to have a holistic view with newer attributes for adopting the new normal such as the suddenness with which “Work from home” became a way of life and the ease with which we adapted to a virtual landscape.
Day to day functions like reviews, sales meetings, customer interface, board meetings all of it slipped into a virtual mode…and yes, they turned out to be effective & focused. We had our own hesitations before switching to these modes but they have eventually proved to be very fruitful and effective. The shape, size and other dimensions of the board room has changed drastically and this arrangement could be here forever to stay. Of course our digital preparedness was tested, data security assumed a new different meaning and so did managing the IT networks remotely. People and organizations moved into a virtual & remote learning mode, a mode that they perhaps had not visualized earlier. The conventional travel for meetings has literally come to a standstill and people have aligned themselves to the momentum of rapidly changing technology.
It is clear to me that our future as humanity, is to focus on conserving our environment & its civilization. Rapid industrialization across the globe has made our eco system fragile. As we reboot ourselves, what will matter the most is ‘conservation’. This would mean not only our resources or infrastructure but most of all it would encompass our health and our bodies. The rules are being redefined in the way we will interact with one another which includes social distancing, the way we will travel in the future and how we would give health & hygiene most emphasis. Most of us have never pictured the world in this situation but harsh reality has taught us many new things.
I dare say, we had taken so many things for granted! The future will focus on clean energy and sustainable development, be it water, power, transport or infrastructure. This coupled with conservation and recycled technologies, will again be part of the new normal.
I would like to conclude by saying “We are shaping future, lets be thoughtful to the society, environment and our communities”