Preparing for the New Normal

There are many discussions occurring around the world about how the COVID-19 crisis will change business and supply chains moving forward. Many people around the world are thinking about possible scenarios and it appears the majority is convinced that there will be a “new normal.” 

I don’t have a crystal ball, nor can I predict the future, but I too feel confident that we are not going back to what we knew as normal.

So, what does that mean? What does our “new” normal look like. A recent article by Forbes points to at least part of the future where the author suggests that there will be a combination of two concepts: “design everywhere, produce everywhere” with “deliver personalized products fast, in a sustainable and affordable way for the mass market.”

McKinsey also has some interesting perspectives. “For some organizations, near-term survival is the only agenda item. Others are peering through the fog of uncertainty, thinking about how to position themselves once the crisis has passed and things return to normal…While no one can say how long the crisis will last, what we find on the other side will not look like the normal of recent years. Through it all, technological innovation will continue, and the value of increasing human knowledge will remain undiminished.”

I have tried to apply some of this thinking to the nonprofit human service environment.

I believe that we are going to leverage our experiences and learning from this crisis to establish more efficient ways to provide human services. The integration of online learning and telehealth will drive an entirely new model of service delivery in some of our core programs: workforce development, clinical services and adult learning activities. This may result in reduction of travel by our clients and an increased ease of access to services for many. It may expedite achievement of contractual requirements.

I believe we are going to leverage technological platforms as a vehicle for staff connection—replacing many of our meetings with video conferencing. This has many upsides including increased productivity and reduced travel.

Right now, I am communicating with staff much more frequently.  It is my intent to maintain this frequency of communications.  Staff have expressed appreciation for the connection with company leadership resulting from these e-mail messages and videos—the sense that they are not in this alone.  There is great value in ensuring a culture where there is a strong sense that leaders and staff are “in this together” whatever this is. 

We have been focused on how to ensure that remote work is effective and productive and tried to support our over 1000 employees working at home around the world. This has resulted in a renewed approach to outcome-based supervision, new strategies for motivation, new ways to promote team learning. This will continue.

There is more learning to come, more innovation, more insights and from that…more hope. 

As always, I welcome your thoughts.