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There has been considerable discussion around the need for mental resilience as a consequence of the crisis as individuals  and businesses  have to deal with new challenges. Political Leaders are now talking about the “New Normal”. I have even heard some people talk about the “New Abnormal”. Either way it implies a different way of working. Businesses have been talking about potentially working  in different ways, particularly with respect to more localised supply chains and using technology more, such as the cloud  for storage and sharing files.  Video conferencing  had an adoption rate within the  corporate world but has become the new normal for SME’s

This latter will no doubt improve performance and effectiveness and may give you a competitive advantage if your competitors have not fully adopted. However, it is not necessarily shifted the core of what you do. The work from home situation means that there is time to reflect, whether you are a leader of a large business, SME owner or entrepreneur. I have spoken to a significant number of business  owners recently and the same questions comes up repeatedly. How do I strengthen my business on the other side ?  What can I do differently ? My answer is simple, do something that is different from the competition and strengthen your brand. As we come out  the other side, we have to assume that the competition is stronger and have that mindset. Even if it isn’t, assuming it is should trigger us into action. What does this mean practically  though, and how can I do this ?

I have recently read Charles Duhigg’s book “The Power of Habit”. Within the  chapter of innovation he talks about the need for creative tension and  disturbance as he  chronicles the challenges through the development of the  multi-award winning  film “Frozen” and similar challenges with the creation of “West Side Story”. The point being that if we don’t change or disrupt we will get mediocre results. If I roll back to my early “lean” days we constantly talked about the dangers  of being static, in that actually not moving forward means you are actually going backwards relative to the competition. The internet has made the competition stiffer in some respects as access to information is quicker, meaning that innovations become evident quicker. Another reason for thinking of different approaches. Staying  ahead in the VUCA world but following the same path, is not necessarily good enough  within the “New Normal”.  Actively seeking difference will help, which is where the creative tension comes in. Easier said than done. It takes a combination of boldness, discipline, process, patience and resolve. These are all skills  I discuss with coaching  clients, but the parallels are similar between what we do at a personal level and what can be translated into our business. If we took the boldness without the others, then we would probably have a reckless approach. There are plenty of project management and related tools out there which will help with the discipline and the process. In fact we are all getting more familiar with IT Tools which makes it simpler. The boldness, patience and resolve will help us do something different, push us out of our comfort zones into our respective learning zones, without going into our fear zones.

I am reminded of the famous book “Blue Ocean Strategy” written by Kim/Mauborgne whereby existing ideas or concepts are brought together in a new way to generate new markets. Now is the time to be creative, different and get ahead.

Not Following the Herd.

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