In order to find our way into the future after a crisis or significant change, it’s important to recognize early on that we won’t be going back to the way things were, to the Old Normal. It’s important to start planning well before the future arrives. If we are going to proceed toward the New Normal, we need to understand what and where it is.  As I mentioned in my previous newsletter, I certainly didn’t do a stellar job of following that advice, but I’ve learned a lot from it.

It seems that many are now waiting until the crisis is over to imagine the future. So to make a difference, to figure out what the new normal is going to look like, where do we start? A good place is often with a definition. The dictionary says that a crisis is “a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger” or “when a difficult or important decision must be made”. With that in mind, I’ve identified five actions that need to be considered in the process of understanding the New Normal.

·         Getting Started

·         Identifying the Crisis

·         Getting Your Team Involved

·         Avoiding Quick Fixes, and

·         Building the New Organization.

Getting Started involves looking inward. Today’s leaders, managers, supervisors, and tomorrow’s leaders of all types cannot guide others through a crisis or even a significant change without understanding themselves, in other words “Leading from the Inside Out”. As Aristotle said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”. One of the biggest hurdles to identifying the New Normal is based on our thoughts, on ideas developed during the Old Normal. These are usually ideas that we think we know for sure; they are also known as Mental Models! They are concepts that have been built up overtime based on past experiences and that lead to beliefs and ways of doing things that are based on an old way of thinking. These mental models tend to filter out new ideas and ways of seeing things differently. For leaders to be clear about the New Normal we will have to constantly refine our ideas and help our team members do the same.

Karl Albrecht in his book “The Northbound Train” used the analogy of the train consistently and reliably heading down the tracks toward its “True North”, its unique purpose and direction. This idea applies whether the crisis is large, such as a pandemic or smaller such as a staffing issue.

Getting Started and the remaining four actions mentioned above for understanding the New Normal, will be discussed in future newsletters. There is an overview of the actions in our video “Leading During Times of Crisis and Change” which can be viewed on our webpage. If you have questions or would like assistance, please contact me.


Richard Gerstberger, PE MBA
TAP Resource Development Group, Inc.

(303) 561-3788

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