The ‘new normality’ and how you can re-start after the pandemic – a ‘look’ into a conversation that will give you important ideas.

How new is the debate about the ‘new normality’ really?

The ‘new normal’ is the title, Ian Davis the author. He writes: “The business landscape has changed fundamentally; tomorrow’s environment will be different, but no less rich in possibilities for those who are prepared. His article was published in the McKinsey Quarterly in March 2009. So the ‘new normality’ seems to be somewhat older than the Corona debate. And it doesn’t just seem to refer to the person behind me at the supermarket checkout keeping their distance. It demands to be prepared – but prepared for what?

After the pandemic is before the digital transformation

Today, nobody can say when work will start again after the pandemic and what it will look like. What is reasonably certain, however, is that the issues that occupied us in the organisations before March 2020 will continue to occupy us after Day X. “The pandemic is having a good effect. Thanks to Corona, we are now all familiar with video conferencing systems. Later on, nobody can say that it is impossible or disadvantageous to do a 40-minute preliminary meeting via zoom. We are now better prepared for the digital transformation. This is what the head of department of one of flow consulting’s clients said on the phone last week. Which he is certainly right about: The digital transformation will be one of the topics at the top of the agenda in the coming years. But the digital transformation is much more than home office and video conferencing. It is more than the automation or digitalization of business processes – or risk management in handling data.

Three Theses for the re-start into the ‘new normality’

You and I got to talking

  • about flexible work processes and content:
    The job description with clear and delimited contents at fixed working hours at fixed working locations is losing its importance. Work is defined provisionally: on currently pending tasks, with currently available resources at currently appropriate locations.
  • on new forms of management:
    Leadership is always less successful than conducting from a fixed position where all the threads come together. Instead, leadership becomes a merging function of various information and interest groups. This leadership emerges anew again and again in the daily interaction with others.
  • about the conflicting expectations of the working population in Germany regarding digitisation:
    Approximately half of them see the associated flexibility as a threat to their secure work content and forms. The other half thinks primarily of opportunities for self-design and self-control. An executive should take the concerns of some seriously and suggest ways to make friends with the new. And it should dampen the euphoria of the others a little and protect them from too much self-optimization.

We exchanged views on various topics that will be coming up again after the pandemic: The company’s strategy, the development of the media market, the situation on the skilled labor market. Until the other end of the line, silence was … unusual for this otherwise rather talkative department head.

Digitalization is much more than technology

Then he gradually started up again: “Is it possible that although we are halfway through the Corona crisis and are digitizing our technical processes. But that we, as an organization, will get into a crisis because we can’t get through all the innovations on the various levels of digital transformation? He recalled having read recently that it was not so much the digital technologies but rather the organization surrounding this digitalization that was crucial to success. His memory was not deceptive: “The success of the digital transformation does not depend on the use of new technologies. What matters is that we are willing and able to rethink the world with these tools.” This was the subject of the German magazine brand one / topic last November. I could only agree with him: The digital transformation is not about one technical innovation in some or many parts of the company. It is about changing the organization in a turbulent environment (technology, markets, customer requirements) with dynamic processes (changing goals, different drivers, high speed) that affects all pillars of an organization (culture, strategy, structure). It is important to prepare for these many aspects, side effects and opportunities that arise.

The tool: ‘Good Approach’ – the result: ‘A good way’

Then our conversation was almost over, because a conference call was pending. I still had time to point out our online tool Good Approach’ to the person I was talking to. The next morning I promptly received an e-mail from him – with best thanks and a result in the attachment.

An example for the result of the flow tool 'Good approach'

An example for the result of the flow tool ‘Good approach’

The best thing about it from my point of view is that he did not trigger this result alone. The consultation with other department heads about the ‘correct’ input for the only nine questions of this tool was the most valuable thing, as he wrote. It turned out that there was no clear result of the tool for the entire company: For product development, the result of ‘good approach’ was different from that of marketing and so on. And the result for my interlocutor’s department clearly shows where the biggest construction site is: Handling the rapidly changing processes is more difficult and more urgent than, for example, a strategy debate. The head of department should take care to strengthen the qualifications and potential of the employees with regard to process flexibility. Furthermore, he should initiate iterative steps of the ‘Plan-implementation-evaluation’ open-ended at the different interfaces between people, technology, people and organization. In this way, appropriate process patterns for the department can be identified. Gradually, the digital maturity level can be increased – a ‘good way’ for his organization.

Digital offers for the way back to the ‘new normality’

It is best to try it out for yourself right away. Our toolbox is active for you on 7 days and 24 hours. And we are also almost always 😉 If you are just thinking about how you and your employees can find a good way back to the new old daily routine – we offer a webinar for this purpose.

Webinar offer ‘Back to normal’

Please contact us if you have any questions or would like further information. We look forward to your feedback and will be happy to help you find good ways for your organisation.

Frank Wippermann

Picture: Claudia Hurtig, Hurtig Design