By Bruce Skaistis
One of the questions we have been hearing from our clients is some variation of “When will things get back to normal after COVID and the crash in oil prices?” I’ve heard economists and other “experts” predicting that we won’t get back to “normal” until early in 2021, mid-2022 – or not until 2023.
The truth is we are never going back to NORMAL if normal is the way things existed back in January and February of this year. That NORMAL is gone and we aren’t going to see it again.
At this point, we need to be getting ready for a NEW ABNORMAL because we are going to be operating in very different world.
What is the New Abnormal?
The NEW ABNORMAL is going to affect every part of your business:
Customers – Your customers aren’t going to be the same. They are going to be doing business differently, they are going to have different priorities and expectations because they are dealing with their own NEW ABNORMAL – and some of your customers probably won’t be your customers anymore.
Employees – The last six months have really rocked your employees. The employees you still have see the world very differently and, whether they are working onsite or from home, they see your company very differently too.
Suppliers & Service Providers – Your suppliers and service providers are travelling the same road as your customers and employees. They are trying to figure out how they need to operate now and a lot of them are struggling to survive.
Yourself – It’s a pretty safe bet that you aren’t the same person you were pre-COVID. Too many things are different now – and you are either a little different or a lot different than you were before.
Mix all these pieces together and you have a good picture of why Old Normal isn’t coming back.
Three Keys for Succeeding in the New Abnormal
Okay, so how are you going to deal with the NEW ABNORMAL?
Embrace the Opportunity – It may seem a little strange to call the NEW ABNORMAL an “opportunity” – but it really is. This is a unique opportunity to create a better version of your old, normal company. Lots of companies are already seeing positive results from taking advantage of this opportunity to transform themselves.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate – Communication is the magic elixir for dealing with the NEW ABNORMAL. Communicate with your customers to see what they expect from you and to let them know what you are doing to make life better for them.
Don’t assume you know what your employees are thinking. Actively communicate with them to get their inputs and to let them know you are concerned about them. Have the same conversations with your suppliers and service providers too. This is your chance to create a real partnership with them.
This one isn’t easy, but communicate with yourself too. Take the time and figure out a way to address the challenges you are wrestling with. Most importantly, be direct and frank in your conversations with yourself. This is not the time to sugar coat the reality of the situation.
Evolve – No one can really predict what the NEW ABNORMAL is going to look like in a month, six months, or a year from now – so put on your evolving shoes. Be ready to change directions quickly when you see there is a better way.
If you’re Amazon, you’re making more money than you’ve ever made. If you’re not Amazon, you might be facing new challenges that you never could have imagined. That’s the New Abnormal.
BTW, the Evolve thing is something that Amazon has always been very good at doing.