The international narrative is harmonizing around the idea of “reopening” the economy and with it the assumption that once reopened, everything will return back to “normal”.
“Normal” is not possible.
As with any trauma the mind and body we begin responding differently to what may seem familiar.
The mass-sanitization of our physical connectedness will not shift for quite some time. If we think with reasonable minds through the next weeks and months it is difficult to land on an outcome where we sit side by side in schools, sporting events, faith gatherings, and movie theatres.
The social turbulence is too sensitive right now.
We have been quick to put the masks on in response to our health and governmental leaders, but it will be very difficult to take them off in the presence of an invisible enemy.
So much of our “normal” economy depends on this physical connectedness of people. Think about a typical Sunday through Saturday just a couple of months ago, you pop into your local lunch spot, shake some hands, fill up a condiment cup from the open salsa bar, sit down within inches or feet from a stranger who is eating along with their one year old who is coughing, sneezing, laughing, and slobbering.
We laugh because it’s cute.
We then take our lunch remains to the trash can and then with bare hands open the door to head back out to our office spaces surrounded by people.
Bob Dylan was right in his musical anthem way back in 1964, “the times they are a changin’”.
Dylan croons, “you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone.”
What are heroic business owners to do in response to transformational times?
First, heroic business owners must OWN THE CHANGE.
It is of little value to bemoan the loss of “what was”. Since the creation of what we see, all living things have been in a process of growing and shedding, and repeating.
Dylan alerts those who wish to try and stop the oceans new waves from breaking, “don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall, for he that gets hurt, will be he who has stalled”.
Wake up today with a mind set on navigating the new while learning and appreciating what was.
Second, heroic business owners commit to change one degree at a time…one thing at a time.
In the Business On Purpose community we frequently talk about how we don’t turn the business temperature from 68 to 87 within minutes. Instead we go from 68 to 69. Then 69 to 70.
Although it feels like the change you feel happened overnight…it has not. Changing times take months, years, and decades, but standout moments (i.e. COVID 19) make it feel like everything changed overnight.
It did not.
Using a tool like Brian Moran’s 12 week year, you can commit to short intervals of small changes over time.
Third, heroic business owners realize that three to six months of cash on hand is no longer optional from here on out.
It is not even about “savings” or being stingy….it’s about being on a shipping freighter in the middle of the ocean and you are stocked in preparation for the storms that will come.
The climate of business has changed and unpredictability is the new normal, and that is ok.
Prepare well with a reserve tank so you do not have to depend on government stimulus, especially in countries where there are no spare resources left to use for stimulation.
Fourth, heroic business owners must OWN their schedule. We are already preparing for the luring call of the “activities calendar”; school sports, nightly dinners, dance clubs, travel soccer, AAU basketball, cheer, theatre and many more.
Heroic business owners are also heroic Moms and Dads who now realize that they own the calendar instead of the calendar owning them. They will begin aligning their new calendar for “changin’ times” around their family vision, mission, and values…which obviously requires them to actually have a written family vision, mission, and values
While the rest of society sprints back into and binges on open activities, the heroic business owners will continue pausing to evaluate, “does this activity and the time it requires fit our family vision, mission, and values?”
Finally, be a student of new digital technology. Digital technological connection will become standing requirements in some settings…no longer optional. Rotating office schedules with periodic remote access will become more common. Schools will have to rethink student body seating and hallway flow throughout the day.
Heroic business owners take time to be students of technology taking heed of Dylan’s words:
“Don’t criticize what you can’t understand: your sons and your daughters are beyond your command, your old road is rapidly agin’. Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand.”
Just because the times and the technologies “are a changin’”, doesn’t mean that the standard of truth has shifted. Absolutely truth is still firmly planted and immovable, although the methods may shift around it.
“…the present now will later be past, the order is rapidly fadin’. And the first one now will later be last…the times they are a changin’.”
Scott Beebe is the founder of Business On Purpose, author of Let Your Business Burn: Stop Putting Out Fires, Discover Purpose, And Build A Business That Matters. Scott also hosts The Business On Purpose Podcast and can be found at mybusinessonpurpose.com.