There is no 'new normal'

Uncategorized Jul 03, 2020

The apocalypse isn’t a single overnight, 4 horsemen, mushroom-cloud-erupting extinction level event.


I believe it's as William Gibson describes in 'The Peripheral',  a series of catastrophes (known as the Jackpot) that bring about a long drawn out decay of society as we know it.


And, if we reflect on what’s happened since the start of the millennium, the echoes are Grand Canyon-esque. 


From flooding to fires - glacial melting to boiling point geo-political unrest - through to the manipulation and greed so present in technology firms and banking fundamentally shifting our relationship with 2 of our most existentially important means of survival - our minds and our money.  


Throw in Coronavirus and it’s raw, visceral, real and right in our faces. And, humans are shit at thinking about long term implications and taking action.


Knowing you may die of lung cancer and even sticking a flaccid penis on a pack of 20 won’t stop you. Coughing up blood and having a shadow on your lung will kybosh that - almost certainly, sadly, too late.


We have immediate existential challenges (I never thought I’d ever write or say that but hey). The world is going through an apocalyptic, already written about shift. Our way of life, individually and organisationally is being shaken to it’s core.


So why are we talking about ‘waiting for the new normal’. Like everything will be getting back to what we feel comfortable with.

Like, if we see it out long enough, everything will just go back to how it was. That the elastic will just snap back into place and we’ll be living how we were.

Perched alongside Vladimir and Estragon still waiting for Godot as the curtain falls for the final act.


My rallying cry to you all today is, if you’re thinking about and waiting for the new normal. STOP! 


If you’d think it’s going to ride into view and we’ll all be saved. STOP!


If it’s language that you’re using with a smile and a chuckle and a shrug. STOP!


When your grandkids ask what we did to change the way we lived in 2020, will you look them in the eye and tell them ‘Ah yes, that. We sat and wasted it while we waited for the new normal’. That we wasted the biggest opportunity we ever had?


Didn’t think so.


Now is the time to get out of the funk, take control and ownership and be the impact you want to see in the new future you want to create.


Why now?


  1. We’ve just undertaken the biggest experiment EVER in the history of man about our existential relationship with work and living. In many sectors, we’ve debunked the ‘work from home’ myth, the ‘we can’t operate with a remote workforce’ bunkum that kept people chained to presenteeism for so long. And, we’ve been given license to create our own environment to work effectively at home. Along with most of our peers, clients and customers. Oh, and all whilst being told to stay at home and not leave. It’s like a reality show without the cameras. And once that behaviour is entrenched (and after 5-6 months it will be), going back to how it was won’t be an option. Retention of staff will suddenly become an issue. Scales will fall from eyes. People will make different choices. So, now’s the time to recognise this and start thinking about the impact of this as part of your new future.


  1. We are at a pivotal moment in human history. Where all the shit we’ve been going through over the last decade or 2 can finally be addressed due to desire and necessity rather than by risk. We’ve seen the impact of less consumption, less pollution, more connection, better community spirit, appreciation for the people and the things that we take for granted. All of this can continue if we so choose it.


  1. We now know we can't predict the future. We’ve focussed on efficiency and algorithms and certainty that we can predict the future. Of course, moments like this happen and we know we can’t. And if we can’t predict the future with any certainty, we’re better off, as Steve Jobs once famously said, creating our own rather than waiting for it to happen. 


What could our new future look like?

First up, I don't know. I am not a 'futurist', a medium or a time traveller. I do believe in action. And having the right frameworks in place to make sure you're in control. So, how you think about this next bit is down to your agreement with what you've heard so far.

The author and speaker, Natalie Turner describes the possibilities as a ‘new extraordinary’ - a fundamental shift in how we live, work and exist in which we all play our part however small in changing the world for the better. You don’t have to change the whole world. Sometimes, you just need to change someone else’s world to create massive impact. And, if you’re leaders in organisations, you can create massive impact for yourselves, your teams and your businesses. Starting today.


And I know it’s not easy


The mindset shift to get to a position where creating the future is challenging. Even though what is happening to us is right here and right now, there’s still a nagging legacy mindset that changing the future still isn’t ‘immediate’ enough for us. Until it’s too late. So knowing where to start is critical.


Also, recognising the amount of work required is sometimes a huge blocker. Back in the day, lots of people spent lots of time thinking that the future of maps was simply photographing Ordnance Surveys and making them available digitally. That felt like a comfortable new normal - mix old maps with new technology. And when Google said this is ridiculous and proposed satellite images and cars driving around every street to build their maps from the bottom up, people thought that was outlandish, impossible and equally ridiculous. Now, we all use Google Maps, they power sat-navs, estate agents, traffic reports, crime reporting and a whole host of other things. A truly impactful view of the future designed and delivered.


In week one of lockdown, I lost 50% of my half year revenue overnight. I knew that by the time I waited for a new normal, my business could be dead. I’ve therefore spent the last 10 weeks rebuilding the business, understanding more about my consumers, learning new skills and refining my thinking. And, I did it using the simple but powerful Operating system that shaped how I looked at what needed to change so that I can fulfil the impact I want to see in the future. And, it’s one I am using with my global clients to help them shift their mindset and create the future impact they want to see. It is simply Unblock, Unlock, Unleash.


Unblock the old


Work through, identify and be prepared to kill the old thinking, tools, behaviours, processes etc that don’t work for you pre, during and post the lockdown: 


  • Seek them out - ask beyond your usual circle of reference. Speak to a cross-section of your business including, of course, customers. Probe beyond what feels comfortable.
  • Ask heresy questions - what are the questions you know need to be asked that no-one dares? These will throw light on areas that you need to think about.
  • Where have our blind spots been? - What didn’t we see? Why? What does that tell us? What evidence do we have?

I recognise that this isn’t easy and the business and people who hold onto things may want to tighten their grip further. Those that said the sales teams can’t possibly work from home who’ve seen no shift in productivity will continue to deny it. Those brands that say the old way of targeting and behaving will stay appropriate even though the world now looks through different lenses will simply get eaten - if you’re not self-aware enough to work out what’s not fit for purpose, if you’re waiting for the new normal, you’re waiting for someone to eat your dinner. In large gulps. 


Unlock Inspiration and genius thinking.


Actively, purposefully and determinedly seek out opportunities to inject new thinking, ideas, mindsets, processes. Scour for inspiration, learn from those around you, nurture it from within your teams.

  • As Mark Earls will tell you, genius steals - look for those businesses who are doing things brilliantly well and repurpose the thinking for your own business. Struggling to be inspired?
  • Speak to your people. Employ and empower your teams, your consumers, your insights people.
  • Bring diverse thinkers together and set them the tasks of creating new ways of working from the insights gleaned about what’s working well.


Unleash with impact and intent


  • I often tell leaders that intent is one of the most undervalued business skills ever. A simple, clarifying call to action, however, sets expectations, guides your crew and becomes both a benchmark and filter for what people should do over what they could do.
  • Create small meaningful tests that are rigourous in their thinking, flexible in their execution, unmistakable in their impact. 
  • Loosen up - direction become assumption and rules become hypotheses - allow people the opportunity to test and learn and keep the work flexible. 
  • Create a learning culture not a fail fast one. Be quick to act upon the learnings and course correct at pace. 


There is no ‘new normal’ - only the ‘new future’ you create


Sitting and waiting is not an option. You either move or die. And, now’s the time to create that future, the new extraordinary. Be the impact you want to see.


the Boom! Operating System is helping me and my clients worldwide find a creative way to turn what is happening right now into actionable, impactful ways forward. 


Stop waiting. Start creating. 




If you're reading this, you're likely to be ambitious and hungry to act.

We're working with global teams and people RIGHT NOW to help them create the future and impact they want to see.

Turn your ambition into action and check out how we help individuals go through a powerful and impactful process as well as our global clients.

To kick it off, why not download our free Masterclass ‘Stop Waiting, Start Creating’ as your primer for taking action and creating the future you want to see. 

Questions? Click here and send us an email.

Stay Boom!



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