It turns out that “new normal” is not the most annoying phrase I have heard over the past few months.
It is “back to normal”.
Every time I hear it I wonder, since when should we be going back to anything?
Surely, we should be looking forward to moving forward.
And that doesn’t mean looking forward to a ‘new normal’. Because every single day we have been alive on this planet has been a ‘new normal’ for every one of us.
We need to stop getting our words confused.
We have been (are going) through a period of monumental change. Monumental because it is so personally and so globally focussed and shared. It is our instinct as humans to attach a name to that.
But let’s get real for a minute.
This spiral of change is one we can control. We can look forward and create the future we want, to the same extent that we have always been able. The difference is that, this time, we can be more united, more connected, more motivated to make things happen, because we have been through a deep period of learning and adjustment together.
What does that mean in practice?
We can assert our rights and voices as consumers. We can be more demanding. We can make sure that organisations know what our priorities are, and we can raise our expectations for what they should deliver for us.
We can be more meaningful as brands. More transparent, honest, open about what we contribute to society. We can listen harder, be more responsive to our customers, commit to giving greater value to the people and environment that enable us to exist.
We can be more compassionate as business owners. We can collaborate, share, and learn together to create better ways of working. We can give more freedom, trust and flexibility to our employees, be more respectful of their lives outside of work.
None of this is new.
It is not a vision of a future that we could never have recognised three months ago.
It is not a resurrection of some romantic legacy from the past.
It is just us, creating the lives, businesses and societies that we want to create.
And I am always looking forward to that.