When normality returns, we will be facing a different set of challenges and opportunities than we had back in 2019. Martin Belton takes a look at the mindsets we're going to need from a personal and a business stance.
At Talent Transformation, we've been calling attention to the new world of work for quite sometime before COVID-19. But the changes to work processes and the speed of those changes, signaled by the virus, have surpassed almost everybody's expectations. A good example, from a member, where they had a significant three-month project scheduled to introduce Microsoft Teams company-wide. With the advent of COVID-19, and the mass introduction of home working, they reduced that schedule down to three days. And so far as we are aware, it is all working well!
Of course, the broader definition of the new world of work is about a lot more than just working from home and taking on-board new tech to do your job. Even before the virus, so much was changing already; businesses are experiencing increased expectations in terms of social responsibility. Many organizations have been experiencing new stresses as millennials enter the workplace. The increased use of AI and robotics have also brought new opportunities but fears as well.
Given how well people have been adapted to new ways of working, it is tempting to say that these other issues will also be dealt with confidently and swiftly. But not everyone can change so quickly. It still requires a genuine change in mindset from us all to embrace such speedy changes. Not everyone is comfortable with such changes. And unquestionably, more changes are on the horizon. When normality returns, it is likely to look a lot different than it did back in 2019.
In the first instance, here is some practical advice from a personal point of view. These thoughts are mostly taken from the advice of experts in psychology and personal enrichment. They are designed to help those still struggling to adapt to working from home and the changes in their environment. We hope that this counsel will help prepare you for what's to come when the 'new normal' hits us:
Firstly, and importantly, avoid beating yourself up if your business has been struck hard, or your previous role is no longer required. This does not make you a failure. If you were successful before, you will be successful again. It's better to admit to others that you're having a bad day or week. This won't come easy to many of you high-achievers but can make you feel immeasurably better in the long run.
Taking it one step further, you may find it helpful to take some "me time" for self-care and become more 'mindful.' For those of you who are not yet aware of the concept of 'Mindfulness,' is about becoming more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and the surrounding environment. Practicing mindfulness enables our thoughts to tune into what we're sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future – a useful tool in a changing world. These personal meditation solutions will help you readjust to the new world and new ways of working. You can detect your levels of stress using Sensie and try a simple mindfulness app for your mobile device like Headspace, Calm, or Buddhify.
In a recent TED talk, psychologist Susan David explained that so much of our society is focused on success and goal getting and this kind of thing. These circumstances are often not something that we necessarily asked for but have been conditioned to accept. Instead, Susan explains that greater emotional agility will help you be your best self in times of emotional crisis. Her ideas and thoughts are enlightening. It's normal to be scared – deal with it healthily – this is what enables us to deal with these things. Don't bottle or cultivate negative emotions. Develop emotional agility, which is the ability to deal with these emotions compassionately.
If opportunities depend on your personal network, then chances are it hasn't just disappeared. It, too, can come back stronger. The lock-down might be just the time to cultivate new contacts and meet people with new ideas for the new world. It's a good chance that these new contacts will be precisely the right people to help you navigate the next phase of your life.
In the process of evaluating what your success should look like, remember that one of the most amazing things you can do is leave things in a better place than how you found them. This is the time to consider what you want from work – and how you want to contribute to society. This is all part of the new world of work
As well as re-evaluating your personal goals, now is the time to do the same with your business goals. As we've already noted, so much was changing already with new technology and social responsibility becoming center stage. The influence of these factors will almost certainly increase now. So what does that mean for your business?
Here are some thoughts that might help you navigate these new challenges and opportunities:
In the first instance, you should almost certainly be re-setting expectations of your sales and revenues. That's not just in terms of figures. It would help if you were examining what you are trying to do with your organization and with the people that work for you.
Learn the lesson of the pandemic. COVID-19 may be a once-in-a-generation event. But, hard though it may be to think about right now, other disasters and economic challenges may also be upon us in the future. Understanding the changes and learning the lessons of this disaster may place us in a far better position when the next unavoidable challenge comes along.
Treat this as an opportunity to move further into the new world of work. One of our favorite phrases at Talent Transformation to help people understand opportunities presented by the new world of work is to ask them to assess whether they should 'build, buy, borrow or bot' to create a service or product part. By that we mean
Buy is where the company hires talent from the outside.
Build is when the company develops talent from within.
Borrow is using freelancers or consultants when the need arises. ...
Bot would be used when the organization can see an opportunity to automate a task either by a machine or by using AI
This is clearly the ideal time to properly understand these new opportunities as new roles, products and ways of working are emerging
It won't have escaped your notice that the world of business finance has undergone a revolution in the last few weeks. New, non-traditional methods of funding are going to be made available both in the US and the UK. Take advantage of this unique opportunity (because not everybody will). New business books and cash flow solutions are going to look a whole lot different as well. Make sure your mindset is open to these new possibilities.
The world is in a different place now from where it was in 2019. It is how we deal with the new paradigms that will make the difference in the long run.