Welcome to the Future - This IS the New Normal

Jan 04, 2022

It’s clear now that the light at the end of the Covid tunnel is an on-coming train. The obvious, and perfectly valid concern is for the NHS, where exhausted staff, who were given no time to recover from the previous tsunami, must face another, potentially larger one, with predictable outcomes in terms of staff burn out and the loss of medical and caring skills.  In the first pandemic NHS staff were praised to the skies, promised rewards and a bright future. As the third wave of the pandemic declined their reward was clear – there was no reward, only a desultory pay rise and yet more work - to do everything that had been neglected in the pandemic.   

The lessons from this are clear, and clearly not learned. Promises were not kept, the well-being of employees was not considered, legitimate targets became sound bites. This was a leadership failure of catastrophic proportions.

But before we decide that leadership failures are only to be found among the politicians all leaders need to take a very long look in the mirror.  It is clear now that Covid is not going away, that we must live with it, perhaps for many years.  It will mean adapting in all areas of our lives, finding ways to stay as safe as possible while keeping the economy running. 

For business leaders that means there needs to be a strategic debate about how companies will run in the future.  This must start with a full risk assessment on the basis that what we are facing is the New Normal.  Can your business survive in its present form?  If not, then is there another way of serving your customers?   If no, then perhaps you should cut your losses.

 If you can see a way through, then decide what your new strategic objectives are, and build an organisation that has the capacity to deliver them.  Limit your ambitions to what is genuinely achievable.  Think about your people, will they come with you on a new journey?  Do they have the will and the energy to go forward or are they already looking for new opportunities?  Do they trust you? If the answer to these questions is no, then now is the moment to ask yourself why? Are you the right leader for the future?  What skills will you need and where can you find them in the organisation?   Do not fool yourself that the future will be like the past.  This is the New Normal, learn to live and lead in it.