The New Normal??

 Like a lot of business owners I have seen a lot of high falluting tosh about ‘The new Normal’, and ‘life after Lockdown’.

It’s landing uninvited in my inbox and my Linkedin feeds.

Probably well meaning but certainly trying to sell me something. Wrapped up in a lot of self indulgent jargon is a lot of the ‘bleeding obvious’.

I have managed businesses through recessions and sudden economic shocks. I have turned businesses around and I have built businesses.

Covid19 is different

It’s impacts have proved to be unexpected in many ways. And yet, whilst in some cases extreme, the effect on business is pretty basic. Your business has either prospered in these new conditions, bumbled along in some form of hibernation or is fundamentally at risk of collapse with your markets having disappeared, albeit temporarily we hope.

Whichever is your reality the next phase of this challenge will largely be driven by your people and how they will respond to unfolding events, both at home and in your business.

True, as the business leader, you will set the direction and drive the pace. But that will not be enough, which is not new, and it never was. Your team’s readiness to engage is at the heart of how things will turn out.

But, if they are returning from furlough they are going to be at best rusty. If you have been running a skeleton staff or running at full pelt they are likely to be very tired. All of this is complicated by disrupted situations at home, be that child care, shielding or illness. On top of that is the ever present nervousness around the risks of catching the virus.

So, fundamentally, the challenge as the leader is to give them new energy and new focus. You may already have your new business plan. If you don’t then create one – the team need to understand where you are taking them. But a plan is not enough. You need to make it real. Your team need to believe it, share it and recognise their individual part in it. This is not new. It’s just much more urgent right now.

There are well established methodologies for creating a business plan and rolling it out. Covid19 does not render them ineffective. The urgency probably means you might need help putting it together and engaging your team.

In my experience you can really do this as an SME in a small number of days if you know how to. The processes are not complex but they do benefit from independent, focused support from people who know how to do it.

Reinvigorating your time as we move into increased return to work could well be the difference that it’s going to take.

Graham Whiley

Graham understands business – he’s a qualified accountant, an experienced Financial Director and has many years’ experience as Managing Director and Chief Executive within large, publicly quoted organisations in a variety of business sectors. He has turned around companies from loss making to profit in spectacular fashion. In addition to his impeccable track record, Graham is qualified to Masters Degree level in executive coaching.


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