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Now Normal is the New Normal

“The message from the frontlines is that we are tired, and we’re trying to stick together, we’re trying to be a good team, but it’s getting hard.”

Suresh Gunasekaran: CEO of University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics,
quoted in Corridor Business Journal, November 2, 2020

We are all looking forward to seeing the year 2020 disappear into the rearview mirror. We all want COVID-19 to go away, for the economy to come back, for there to be peace and justice in our communities, and for mother nature to settle down.We’re all hoping and waiting for a “new normal.”

But the pandemic is not going to magically go away The economy will come back more slowly than any of us want it to, and in some sectors might never come back. Mother Nature is not happy with what’s being done to her, and she’ll keep telling us so.
And whoever wins the election on Tuesday, it’s a sure bet that some 49% of Americans will be very unhappy.

There is no guarantee that 2021 is going to be kinder and gentler than 2020 has been. In fact, it’s likely that the year to come will bring some unpleasant surprises of its own.

The now normal is the new normal.

The military coined the term VUCA to denote a future that is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. That is the now normal. There will be no new normal where things are less volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous.

None of us can do this alone. As Mr. Gunasekaran said, we’re going to have to stick together, we’re going to have to be a good team.

I once asked former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop (a great American hero!) what he thought was the most important healthcare development of the 20th century. He surprised me with his response. He said it was evolution of the support group. A support group, he said, is where people empower themselves and each other to reclaim authority for their own futures.

Have you ever been part of a support group? If so, you’ve seen what I see every time I visit with one. There is no incivility, no meanness, no bullying. Only people helping each other trying to cope with very difficult circumstances.

Imagine a support group environment where you work. Imagine a culture where we encourage and support each other.

If people who are struggling with dread disease and addictions, with horrible and nonrecoverable losses, can support each other in this way, we can certainly do it in our workplaces. In fact, if we are to make it through this now normal that is the new normal we have no choice. We need everyday courage in every corner of our organizations to help us cope with these extraordinary VUCA times.

That’s why I created the Everyday Courage for Extraordinary Times course to serve as a resource for an entire organization. Please check it out:


Everyday Courage for Extraordinary Times

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