Who and when will define the new normal? It’s hanging in the aether around us for quite some time but somehow fails to appear before us. Or does it?
Do we need external organisations or authority figures to define our new normal, or does this come from within, for all of us? Do you ever wonder, what is within your control to redefine as “normal” and what isn’t? After life showing us, that pretty much everything can happen, and we still fall on our feet, will we ever again accept an outside definition of “normal”?
Say, we wake up one day quarantined to our homes and work life changes radically overnight. We go from a well controlled environment to Monday morning mojitos and nudist suntanning during board meetings. Whatever might be your new found home-office “hobby”, there is a very good chance, you are still rocking your job. An even better chance, that you rock it more than before. Yet still, some unknown force (mostly driven by LinkedIn polls) is trying to pull us back to the fixed setting known as the “old” normal. Somehow everybody feels, that this ship has long sailed, but still try to somehow steer it back to harbour. At least a part of it. Even at the price of sinking it.
So, let us analyse a bit the “powers” at play. We have the parental leadership style so well known to all of us. As known from transactional analysis, this ego state is known to sometimes communicate with other adults, but most of the time, it speaks to the child within all of us. Setting rules, drawing borders, telling us what and how to do. Now here we have two options. We adapt and do as told, or we rebel. Not being within reach, control is lost, so a conscious, well adapted manager will create rules like “we monitor mouse movement across the screen!”. What a fabulous idea to monitor productivity. So if this triggers your adaptive inner child, you will most likely hang your head in your left palm and spend your day flicking your mouse between the fingers of your right hand. Maybe watch some Netflix in the background. If you rebel, well just give it to your toddler to have fun with it. In this case, you suddenly have your hands free, productivity metrics are within specs and you have time to be creative. This time to think and be creative has the habit of creating byproducts like innovation and development.
In case you are one of the lucky few, who have adults as leaders, you will probably notice that a well placed verbal contract of “let’s do this sh..!” is more than enough for both sides to know what needs to be done. And most likely it will be done. Nobody is looking for excuses, nobody is spending energy fighting the system of idiotic rules and business is booming. But what does this then say about the “old” normal and what exactly do we fear so much in the “new” normal? We have been in an improv sh*tshow for over a year, and if there is one thing that we should have learned by now is, that we all have it within ourselves to make things happen. No matter the difficulties, no matter the circumstances or logistics. We all do what is takes to just “do the needful”.
When the world around is still contemplating on 2/3 or 3/2 work schemes, make sure not to forget what the past year has thought us. What charges you during the day that makes you more productive? The two hour commute or watering your flowers in the morning and enjoying a coffee in the sunshine? Spending time with your kids or the fancy business dinner in the Michelin star restaurant?
Do we need a definition of the “new” normal or we had it in within us all along, just preferred to conform to the norm? The “new” normal will simply be a question of how. How do we get out of the fixed scheme of useless (although comforting) activities and take head on what we believe in to be more beneficial and humane?