As the intensity of the pandemic lessens several business owners have commented to me about looking forward to “going back” to normal.
I question whether we should be looking forward to “going back” or should we be moving forward to our next normal?
A lot has happened since the pandemic was called two plus years ago. Business owners were immediately forced to embrace a different way of doing business – the common reference was “pivot” – and pivot we did! We mastered Zoom, set-up and staged home offices, learned alternative ways to host events, shared virtual lunches and cocktails and masked-up for walks in parks for business meetings. We had no choice but to make change happen if we wanted to stay in business and flourish.
It was easier when we had no choice. Now, as we step into the second half of 2022, we do have choices. The challenges will continue to arise – as will new solutions. This is the time to reflect on where we’ve been, assess where we are, and consider where we are going – so we can move forward rather than simply “going back”.
Re-visit your vision. It may not have changed but it has probably shifted. This is a good time to revisit, revise and recommit.
Keep in mind that not all things about the old “normal” were great. Reflect on what worked and what didn’t both pre and post pandemic. How can you adapt what’s working now to your next normal?
Check in with your customers and ask what is really going on for them. What and how are they doing? What do they want their next normal to look like for themselves and for your relationship?
Meet with your team and get their take on what hybrid might look like for them. What’s missing for them and share ideas for filling the gaps.
Do a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) to be sure your strategies going forward are taking advantage of your Strengths and Opportunities and minimizing your Weaknesses and Threats.
Research trends in your industry and in your clients’ industries. Consider how these trends will affect you and your business going forward.
Attach numbers to your next steps so you can make wise decisions based on a sound forecast. We’re all hearing it – everything costs more right now. What impact are these rising costs having on your business? And what costs will be associated with the next steps you take?
Make allowances for your errors and the errors of others. Over the past couple of years, we made allowances for people’s errors and supported each other on our learning curve. Where we are right now is no different, we are in the process of learning a new way of doing things.
Remember to ask those around you, “how are you doing?” And, really listened to the answer because this is our next time of change – a time to “pivot” to the next normal and emerge stronger.
I love this quote by Dale Carnegie – “The past is where you learned the lesson. The future is where you apply the lesson.” What lessons have you learned over the past couple of years and how are you going to apply them to your next normal?