Forget the old normal.
It’s never coming back.
Too much has already changed.
Our only hope is to disrupt our thinking to sense and seize the best opportunities in this next normal.
This post is a critical wake up call. We cannot expect to return to our old way of life. We must disrupt our thinking or quickly become antiquated. The challenge is to either learn to disrupt or be disrupted. We must learn to pivot our leadership, business, and world.
Murfield Coaching works to solve significant problems. We work with clients to make a paradigm shift in order to help them disrupt their thinking, track the trends, and forecast the best opportunities.
NOTE: This post contains some criticism of political leadership. As a centrist, I believe a balance of perspectives is needed to solve significant problems. That balance is severely lacking in our current political world. Please read this blog post as a calling to a higher standard and not as a indictment of one party. Our entire political leadership needs to think bigger and reach higher.
Death, Illness and Fear.
The Coronavirus has killed over 115,000 people in the United States at this writing. It has required us to change the way we live, wearing masks, keeping our distance, and cancelling vacations. Our way of life has been suspended.
The pandemic has instilled fear, igniting panic and triggering hoarding that can be felt in the Zoom conversations. Even after initial reopening of the economy, many are still fearful, afraid of catching the virus and suffering the effects. When will we feel safe again?
Business Adaptations, Struggle, and Failure
Business is also scared, fearing the economic recovery won’t be fast enough. It’s already resulted in over 100,000 small businesses closing forever. Major retailers such as Pier 1 Imports and Garden Restaurants have closed. Nieman Marcus, J Crew and True Religion have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Others are working feverishly to find a way to survive.
In an attempt to prevent the worst of the pandemic, businesses have scrambled to quickly transition into virtual work. Workers struggled to balance work and family life as the schools also transitioned to the virtual world.
That has led to a demand by workers. “According to the survey, 54 percent of Americans want to keep remote work as their primary mode of work, and 70 percent say they’d like it to at least be an option.” That will cause some traditional businesses to tremble at the thought of a permanent shift to the virtual workplace, wondering what the New Normal will look and feel like? They wonder how it could work. They wonder if it will work? Some wonder if they even want it to work.
Then the old problems of racial prejudice arose with police causing the unnecessary death of yet another black man. Protests and riots ripped apart cities across the country. Although this isn’t the first time, there is an urgency that indicates this will be the last time. Demands for change will not be denied. That causes fear among those currently holding power. What will that New Normal look and feel like? How will it work? What will it take to get to that New Normal? Do they even want the New Normal?
Meanwhile the changes I’ve been warning you of for several years are emerging. Artificial Intelligence and Automation are rapidly developing, giving employers a viable option from human labor. It also is creating higher level jobs but many are unwilling to change their thinking patterns and be trained to seize the best opportunities.
Distrust of Science and Authority
At a time when we need science to lead the way to flatten the pandemic spread and find a vaccine, the president and his followers deny scientific rigor. Instead they build policy on their ideological opinions and denied. that will lead to disaster. Is this the New Normal? If so, how can we survive?
That is bad enough but then we have the political chasm where some claim “Mah Rights” are violated by being required to wear a mask. They boycott Costco and cry “conspiracy theory” when anyone criticizes their president.
Meanwhile, the other party sits tight, doing little to fill the void. They offer few new ideas. No great leaders are stepping forward. How can we survive as a country with this political division?
The entitled fractionalization is is the most troubling trend. It began with the Baby Boomers and is widespread among the Millennials and Gen Z. A significant amount of people are refusing to wear masks, physically distance, or quarantine simply because they don’t want to. Public safety is too much of an inconvenience. Because of that, the U.S. lags behind the world in recovering from this pandemic. How will we survive this pandemic when there are so many selfish people refusing to work for public wellness?
Unwillingness to Disrupt Ourselves
But dig deeper and you find an unwillingness to disrupt ourselves. We refuse to learn how to think bigger or reach higher. It isn’t a matter of whether or not we are able but that we are not willing.
- Too many people expect that life will be easy, and when it is not, that someone else solves the problems for them.
- Too many want to ignore their responsibility to live together in harmony, failing to show compassion for another’s pain.
- Too many claim they shouldn’t have to change, believing the new way violates moral standards.
- Too many others fail to step up into the leadership void, choosing instead to settle for the lesser of two poor choices.
- Too many blindly listen to news outlets that pander to emotions instead of unbiased truth.
How can we expect to transition into the Next Normal when we aren’t willing to bend, adapt, and prepare ourselves? How can we expect to seize the best of New Normal opportunities when we maintain our outdated manner of thinking?
First, understand that we are in an era of disruption.
This isn’t just a hiccup where we return to our old way of living. Those days are gone. Denying it is happening won’t change it.
Second, change your attitude. Be willing to learn. Re-examine your beliefs and values. Seriously consider what you need to change in your life to welcome new opportunities.
Third, learn to think bigger. Use critical thinking to analyze what you read and hear. Question authority. Double check sources. Don’t try to solve complicated problems with a simple explanation. Dig for the facts and the details. Just because they hold a title, an office, or a position of influence does not mean that they are right. Also, don’t trust anything your read just because it reinforces what you believe. Test the information. Never before have we had so many ways to check the facts.
Fourth, learn to think compassionately. We are all in this together. Notice the pain of others. Feel for them from their perspective. But don’t just empathize, be compassionate by thinking through what you can do to alleviate their pain. Then do it. Take the action.
Fifth, reach higher. We are not doing good enough to flatten the curve of the pandemic or live together in peace. Speak out against injustice. Speak out to ask the critical questions. Speak out to challenge those who refuse to disrupt themselves.
But speak out in a spirit of collaboration, not competition. Get involved. Volunteer to help. Be willing to lead. There is tremendous opportunity to lead in turbulent times. You don’t have to have all the answers but be willing to lead the search for answers. When we are good people and we work collaboratively with other good people, we can do great , not just good, things. Don’t settle for the lesser of two poor choices but set the standard and work to exceed it. Reach higher not lower.
The New Normal has incredible opportunities IF we are willing to THINK BIGGER and REACH HIGHER.
Are you going to go forward, disrupting yourself? If so,you will be in demand, sought out for your discernment and wise decisions.
Or are you going to wait and see? If so, be ready to be disrupted, discounted, and diminished.
Please leave positive comments below. Let’s start the discussion to prepare you to seize the best opportunities in this Next New Normal.
(c) 2020 Murfield International, Inc. All rights reserved.
DO the IMPOSSIBLE!!!
Loren Murfield, Ph.D.
Dr. Murfield holds a PhD in Communication and works with leaders and organizations to solve significant problems with innovative thinking. What problem is frustrating you? Contact us today.
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