The Curious Leader
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The Curious Leader

Take 3 Steps Today to Set Up Your Business for the Disruptive New “Normal”

Call them consumers, customers, or clients, all of them are people, and people are in the midst of a seismic shift in attitudes and behavior that will disrupt many sectors of business. Are you ready to meet your consumer where they are headed? Do you know where they are going?

In Ignite 360’s Navigating to a New Normal study, 72% of American adults indicate they want changes in their life once the pandemic is over instead of going back to the way it was in 2019. This percentage has held steady since July with more than 25,000 responses collected from July to March 22, 2021.

The type of change people are seeking is what will impact business. Of those people looking for some amount of change post-pandemic, the aspects of their life that they wanted to change focused on gratitude and being present in their personal life — connections with family and friends over making more money or acquiring material goods. Our busy lives came screeching to a halt in March 2020 and we’ve been in a meditative state ever since, contemplating the meaning of our lives and what we want life to look like in the future, as this New York Times piece illustrates.

What’s really going to upset the proverbial apple cart is how “knowledge workers” — I think of this cohort as white-collar workers — are wanting to continue working from home in the future. Almost half (48%) of those working from home due to the pandemic report they want to work from home “more” than they did pre-pandemic.

Companies are responding, empowering the knowledge worker with trust to get the job done regardless of the location. This “new normal” isn’t going to be a black or white, all virtual or all in-person. Instead, a hybrid, flexible schedule appears to be developing with work teams empowered to decide which meetings require in-person and which can be accomplished virtually.

So consider this quantum change. If every day just 1/3 of office workers are working remotely, what impact will that have on the businesses that surround and support office buildings? What about the snack foods that we keep close by to fuel us on our commutes and desk-side energy crashes? What type of snacks do people want at their home office? Why settle for a granola bar when you have a full kitchen at your disposal.

I recently presented a mindmap of some of the sectors that will be impacted by the pandemic (16-minute mark in the video). It’s only partial to illustrate how widespread this change will ripple through the economy. Is your business ready?

Look at your consumers/customers/clients in a new way.

Here are 3 steps for your business to take now in order to prepare for this new future.

  1. Recognize the changes in your consumer/customer/clients. They may look the same from a demographic perspective but values and attitude shifts will impact behavior.
  2. Reimagine what needs your consumer has in this new ‘normal’, the priorities for your business, and the knowledge gaps you will need to fill.
  3. Respond with new plans and ‘rapid response’ tactics based on this new world. The time for action is now.

If you look closely and connect the dots, you can already see the future start to take shape. That means it’s time to start charting your business’ course through the next chapter. The end is truly the beginning.

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