Recent research (yes, that’s still happening) shows that we know what we thought we always knew was, in fact, wrong, and the changes forced upon the world in the first half of 2020 will mean a radical re-think of how things are done and change the way we do things. If that opening sentence hasn’t been as confusing at the year so far, I don’t know what is.
In a nutshell, we have had change forced upon us so it’s time for us to use this time of radical change for our own good… and how many times have I said to companies “you need to change?” (No, that’s not a Zoom Quiz Question).
“You never change things by fighting against the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete,” said Buckminster Fuller (no, I have no idea, either, but I don’t care, this makes so much sense at the moment. But he was an American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor, and futurist.). It’s a sensible comment. Unless you have a viable option for change then people will tend to stay with the status quo; it’s natural, even if it does only have three chords.
You never change things by fighting against the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.
People don’t naturally like change and, when given the chance, can and will slip back into the “old ways”. It’s natural behaviour, not a criticism. But what we have faced in 2020 seems to have led people to re-think what they do, how they do it and why they do it. Now, therefore, is the time for companies (and individuals) to capitalise on this to make the most of what’s been a rough time for most.
Over the last few months, many companies will have had new models forced upon them. Now is the time to ensure those new models work and are robust enough to last.
Here are seven things to use to start to re-build that model.
Working from home
70% of people working from home say they are more productive than they were before (source: USWITCH). Yes, it can be done and we need to do more of it for people’s and the planet’s well-being.
We need to encourage this encouraging statistic, we must trust our employees to do their job and target them correctly but also look to give more support to them. Which means a changing role for managers (who also need to be supported).
Most people want to do a good job, feel like they have achieved and just like to “get things done”. So let them. Some people will need to come back into an “office” environment, some won’t, some will need a bit of both, so if you can do this, do it, be flexible and be fair.
The only thing you want from people is to perform their role and achieve the tasks you have set. So, these may need to get clearer (please don’t see government guidelines and, please, no Barnard Castle jokes here) and will need to be monitored more. But do it fairly and it will all work. Judge people on what they do in the time not the time they put in. Presenti-ism is no longer a viable option.
As a manager and a company, you will need to be organised, to manage people from afar, to get people onto on-line meetings, to help and support them. You may not be dragged around into things you shouldn’t be doing any more, so use that free time if you have it and use it well.
This is an opportunity for companies to save money on offices, cars, travel costs, etc. This may be the difference between surviving and thriving in the “new world” for some.
People will need support. Some people will be fine, some people will be slightly scared and some will be a mixture of both. And some will need help with dealing with what has and will happen to them mentally. The support of the company here will have a massive impact on how people develop and cope and, in the end, perform and on society as a whole.
Processes need looking at, of course, but now we need to focus on the importance of people and what they need to perform and develop. Everyone is different, of course, but what we have had to cope with for the first half of 2020 has given lots of people a focus of what they really want to do. Help them out.
These are just some ideas; some will already have happened, some may need to be taken on, there will be other things that come out when the new normal finally hits. But there is now no normal, there is only “new”.
There’s a lot of good coming from the bad… it’s time to build new models on these new ways of working.