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In the course of the last few months, in particular as the COVID-19 pandemic became the only topic discussed during a conversation, the notion of things “returning to normal” has slowly been dismissed. Many proclaim that we are going to be transitioning into a “new normal,” but I can’t help but ask: What does that mean?

Some of us have used our available time to do some more thinking (moi, aussi), and perhaps even put into questions thought processes from the past. What is “normal”? Is it the life you are living in Buenos Aires, or is it mine in Singapore? What is normal to you may not be normal to me, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Niemman headshotSo try this: What if I told you to stop talking about what the “new normal” would be, and just reset? Reset everything.

“If you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got,” said Henry Ford.

The first time I saw this was on a Sheraton “on brand” morning briefing card (Starwood was great at many things: building a strong brand ethos was one of them). The point we were trying to get across was simple: Is there an opportunity for us to do things differently to achieve a better result?

Personally, I really enjoy changing things up no matter where I go. Rarely do I accept the status quo. I know that there are many variables that influence us and a decision, and I have no interest in becoming stale. I also know that it can be difficult to shift out of the comfort zone when you have the familiar in place, which transitions me to my next point:

Clean Slate

In Mandarin Chinese, the word “crisis” (危机) contains a character that can be interpreted as “opportunity.” And we have not been presented with a better opportunity than now to take a step back and look at our business from the outside.

If, for example, you oversaw the sales team at a hotel, consider this:

– Are you segmenting your business correctly?
Is the focus in the correct business segments?
Do you have team members that are better suited for a different role or regional responsibility?
– Have you been doing enough to show how much you value your top clients?

I could go on, but you get the point: Use this as an opportunity to reconsider your processes and change things. If you come out of this smarter, more energized and, in the long run, more productive, you’ve won. 

Big Picture

Some of us can be consumed by the details, so try to take a few steps back before diving in. This would also be a great opportunity for you to get other people on your team to chime in with ideas. You might even have them submit this anonymously (I know “mentimeter” is sometimes used in presentations, but there are other alternatives available, too).

Talking about the things that don’t work, about the bad shape of the economy and the tourism industry in general – it’s tiring. Let’s be optimistic and focus on how we can be positive.