The ‘new normal’

The ‘new normal’

I’ve just finished writing an article for MWorld, the American Management Association’s magazine. The Editor asked me to write about the implications of the ‘new normal’ for leaders and it made me realize that we hear a lot about the ‘new normal’ but what does it actually mean?

At the micro-level, there is no precise detail that can be offered by the ‘experts’ because they are largely confined to educated guesswork based on experiences that sometimes bare only a passing resemblance to what the world is experiencing right now. At a macro-level, the current business world has an uncanny resemblance to another world I know so well.

As a sports psychologist consulting with Olympic and World Champion athletes, I spent most of my time helping them deal with the uncertainty, unpredictability, and intense pressure that form the core of their world. Three mindsets, in particular, help them navigate their sometimes hostile environment to deliver high performance that is sustainable. I’ve outlined them below because they are equally applicable to leaders in the ‘new normal’ business world.

The first mindset involves ’identifying and focusing on the things that really matter’ and that will make a difference, and not on the things leaders feel comfortable or safe focusing on, or on the uncontrollables, or being a victim of the economic difficulties.

The second mindset is ‘taking nothing for granted’ and involves expecting the unexpected and being ready for it.

The third mindset is ‘loving the pressure’ that the ‘new normal’ brings for leaders. Adaptability and flexibility are especially important if leaders are to thrive on pressure.

If organizations are to thrive at one end of the spectrum and survive at the other, then they must recruit and promote leaders who possess these mindsets. Organizations who cannot find these leaders had better train and equip their current incumbents before it is too late!

I’ll let you know when the full article appears in print. In the meantime, have a good next couple of weeks.

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