The New Normal Doesn’t Have to Be a Problem

Have you ever heard someone say “It’ll be a lot better when things get back to normal?”  The truth is, today is the new normal.  The methods that were successful yesterday aren’t working today and may not provide the results that you’ll need tomorrow.  Why?  Because our world is changing and “Shift Happens!”

No area is safe from this “Shift”.  It’s affecting every global socioeconomic segment from corporations and government to universities and small organizations.  We see and hear about it everyday on the internet, in print and on TV/radio news broadcasts.  We simply can not escape it.  Every man, woman and child are feeling its effects.  We will never be able to board an airplane again without having passed through multiple levels of security.  We will never see gasoline prices at $1.29 per gallon ever again.  And the proverbial ship has sailed on that discretionary “extra time” we all enjoyed back in the day.

Many are saying to simply accept the New Normal and move on.  But, how do we move on when everything seems to be changing faster and faster, fewer things appear familiar and we begin to feel increasingly lost?  The answer may well be in the orientation and mindset with which we view this New Normal.  This situation doesn’t have to be considered a problem.  It can and should be seen as an opportunity.

Many years ago as I was just beginning my first managerial assignment, my unit director called me into his office.  I was told that I’d be faced with many challenges in this new leadership roll, but not to worry.  He told me that everything would be OK as long as I always remembered two things … 1) Don’t panic and … 2) Always remember that a problem is nothing more than an opportunity waiting to be taken advantage of.  These two simple thoughts have never been truer and certainly have never been more needed than today.

New Normal opportunities abound.  These opportunities usually bring with them a unique collection of New Normal circumstances that promote creative ideas, services and products.  This is being found in all business segments.

When gas prices began to increase, the use of public transportation started to rise.  Today, the waning public ridership of several years ago is seeing resurgence in many areas, translating to newer busses serving more routes.  And many people are actually reclaiming the time spent while riding public transportation to do other things, like reading, homework and just plain old relaxing.  Not surprisingly, as the economy improves, ridership continues to rise as more people go back to work and continue taking advantage of this newly found time-freedom.  And the increased ridership is actually prompting transportation companies to research new and efficient ways to make their systems more effective and efficient.  Everybody is winning.

When economic conditions made long distance vacations a challenge on so many different levels, travel agencies took advantage of that potential loss of revenue and begun promoting stay-cations.  Their services were still needed and used to help create relaxing experiences closer to home.

Not that long ago, job stability was something that we could look forward to as we entered the job market.  Today that sense of job security no longer exists and the reality is that job instability has become the New Normal in our lives.  Consequently, people have become more flexible in the career paths they choose.  They’re beginning to view working for different companies as much less of an impediment and more of an advantage to learn a broader application of their skills and gain increased valuable work experience.

The list goes on and on.  It boils down to opening your eyes to the reality of the New Normal, not panicking and taking advantage of the new horizon as opportunities for growth.

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