Everyone has a “normal” and when it gets disrupted, I often hear people say, “I just want to get back to normal.” What we’re really saying is that we want our comfortable and predictable routine.
I personally and professionally have gone through a series of events that have reminded me how good “normal” feels or led me to establish “new normals.”
My first experience in hearing the term “new normal” came shortly after the terrorist attack on 9/11. It was hard to fathom that the U.S. would return to any assembly of normal. However, we are resilient and we did.
Here are some examples of how we can adjust when “our normal” gets disrupted:
- Know the historic average.
Take the stock market. It could be easy to react to the daily fluctuations, but all respected financial investors will tell you that success is achieved over time. The Dow Industrial Average, which spans over a century and includes multiple companies, provides a more meaningful trend to understand how to adjust accordingly. When you can, I think it’s important to look at historic averages when formulating a response. Sometimes we can establish a new normal too early. When a positive flux happens, step back and ask yourself, is this sustainable?
- Understand influences.
Some parts of business are more predictable and sustainable than others. At Marco, our copier division has far fewer influences than our IT services. It’s no secret that technology changes far more frequently than most industries. For example, the development of our Managed Services and Cloud solutions was a direct result of the changing needs of our clients. Today outsourcing and hosting is trending toward the “new normal.”
- Prepare for disruptions.
One thing we can count on is that “normal” will not stay the same. It’s dynamic. Being open to change, looking around corners and being nimble will help you establish a new set of expectations – and keep your organization relevant. I am willing to bet the taxi industry never saw Uber coming. What can you be preparing for?
- Sometimes you don’t have a choice.
While as leaders we’d like to control our normal, it’s not always possible. Health fails, we lose loved ones and life events happen without a moment’s notice. We have to adjust and find a “new normal.” We hope these moments are few and far between.
Normal sets routine and directly impacts our happiness – at work and at home. In my case, I’ve experienced both the loss of my wife of 37 years and the sale of Marco in the past year. Clearly, these would be significant changes for anyone. I’m not sure if I’ve found my “new normal” yet, but the pursuit keeps me challenged and motivated to make sure this next chapter of my life is as good as the first.