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How to lead in the new norm

Without question, this past year has thrown us all out of our comfort zone. Thankfully we are starting to see the light with the “new norm”. Now, it’s time to transform this new norm into a sustainable long term situation. 

The whole world has changed, and we have changed with it, which means we are moving forward. Due to Covid disruptions, we have accelerated the process of a new way of working that was already on its way. 

Undeniably, remote and flexible working is here to stay. But there is a lot more to it than just where we work from. We have reevaluated our lives, formed new habits, and gained autonomy over our work-life balance. 

What’s even more exciting, technology and our confidence with it has also increased and accelerated immensely—opening a range of opportunities to the way we can do things in the future. 

It’s now the job of managers and business leaders to find the strengths and weaknesses of old and new systems. Then, put everything we have learned into a new world that maximises the potential of both. Thus, allowing us to perform better, not only professionally but personally. 

Unfortunately, to get there, we need to accept failure as part of the journey. Since we are building something new, there is a high possibility of making mistakes along the way. The positive side is that failing is neither permanent nor irreversible. 

Changing our perspective

Hand holding a glass sphere which has inverted the the street and buildings.
Photo by Anika Huizinga on Unsplash

We usually see failure as something negative, but it’s time to change our perspective. We learn a lot more from our losses than our victories. Every mistake helps us uncover a valuable lesson.

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” — Henry Ford.

Much like an app development process, we find ourselves in the ‘MVP’ stage. We need to test it and update it until we identify the right solution. 

George Anders of LinkedIn says, “Be ready to build a new plan—not just once, but maybe two, three, four times. What worked for your people and business in April may not be the same as November.”

We are innovating, and innovation and creativity come with a learning curve. But it’s all part of a learning experience. 

How to start building, and leading, in the new norm

As we all attempt to change our perspective and make the most out of this learning experience, there are a few things you need to be ready for:

Open your mind. Creativity and innovation can’t happen in a closed mind. It’s all about experimenting with new ideas. So, you need to consider different points of views and broaden your thinking. 

Being honest and upfront. Being authentic, honest and upfront with people is essential during this process. People need to feel included and valued if they are to participate and improve. In addition, honesty is the only way to build trust, something critical if you are to collaborate and work well together. 

Communicate through the process. If we want to act fast and achieve positive results, communication must be constant, bidirectional, and honest. It will enable us to collect information quicker but also bring everyone together. 

Silhouette of several people standing on a low cliff overlooking the sea at sunset.
Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

When thinking about communication in the virtual world, it’s essential to pay special attention to our tone and body language. One of the reasons for Zoom fatigue is that our brain is trying to make sense of other details apart from our words, which is a lot more difficult when online. So focusing on more clear communication can be hugely beneficial to reduce the stress caused by video calls. 

Manage your expectations. Expectations are not real; we create them based on data and information. While they are necessary to measure our progress, they can also make us more stressed when in unprecedented situations. By removing some of the pressure of not meeting expectations, we can act more freely and bounce back faster. 

Focus on data. We are moving into the unknown, so collecting as much information as possible is essential. Knowing what people need to adapt to this new situation can help us better understand what needs to be done. The more data we have, the easier it will be to make the right decisions. Since we are changing the way we work, it may be necessary to adapt how we measure results too. 

The optimist’s view

We should all feel excited about what’s coming. We are all in the process of creating a new future that, planned well, can have a considerable impact both on business and individuals. 

The new norm could help propel us even quicker towards achieving equality, diversity, inclusion within the workplace, as well as helping us accomplish our ESG goals that are so relevant and important right now.  

Even more, the power of communities, relationships, mental health and work-life balance has gained even greater importance. Having realised this and learnt this lesson, we must continue to focus on individuals, teams and networks even more now, both at work and home. 

Latest insights

Skye Robertson – “Choose courage over comfort.”

Show Notes: (3:52) The story behind Escape the City (6:02) Biggest challenges people face when desiring a career change (8:02) Generational attitudes to work and career (9:53) Common reasons for people to make career change (11:40) How to find meaning in work (16:01) Can you learn to be an entrepreneur, or is it something innate? … Continued