Much like this spring was unlike we’ve ever seen across all business segments and most other aspects of life, this summer has felt like no other in a lot of ways.
AV integrators are upgrading and installing systems in schools and offices across the country and around the world that may go unused for a lot longer than they expected when they signed the deal to put them in and live events professionals are creating streaming events rather than live experiences.
My primary summer activity—going to Fenway Park and root, root, rooting for the hometown Boston Red Sox, while also catching up on what’s new with family members and friends—has been replaced by watching games with no fans from the couch while my cardboard likeness sits on the Green Monster.
Yet, I keep hearing talk about the so-called “new normal” and can’t help but cringe at the term. There’s a solid chance nothing about your business or our lives won’t be “normal” for a long time, or at least if you expect some aspect that was part of your daily operation to return quickly, it might never happen.
You should be thinking about the conditions of the market as they are today, not as they were six months ago or so when none of us anticipated the disruption that was about to obliterate every plan we had for ourselves and our companies for the foreseeable future.
You should be thinking about what could happen next and how you can help your customers to be there when it does by talking to them now about what it will take to get there. If you don’t have those sorts of conversations with your loyal customers, you might find that someone else gets their loyalty.
I’m sure that’s not the type of “new normal” you had in mind.
Stop Waiting for ‘New Normal’
Imagine if you had approached the economic recession in the same way many company leaders are looking at the pandemic outbreak: as a temporary disruption that will eventually fade away and allow us to return to what we were doing before the bump in the road.
I’m not sure if you remember the tagline on our 2020 State of the Industry report, back when no one had any idea that our lives were about to be totally transformed by a foe we can’t see without a microscope. For those who don’t save their monthly issues, it was “Don’t Get TOO Comfortable.”
The idea at that time was a recession was coming but it wasn’t likely to happen until at least 2021 according to most of the industry experts I interviewed late last year. I even talked to them about how the 2008 recession snuck up on everyone and was assured business leaders had learned their lesson.
Eight-plus months later and the story is quite a bit different. The lesson here is we never really know what’s going to happen but the companies that are nimble enough to adjust to just about any and every eventuality are the ones that will find the longest stretch of success.
The ones that are pining for normality are the ones who are sure to find themselves playing catch-up or on the outside looking in when the good times start rolling again.