Forget the New Normal – Let’s design our “New Great”!

Uncategorized | 27-01-2021

Forget the New Normal – Let’s design our “New Great”!

Now that it is time for you to take steps in collaborating with your team(s), just look a little further. Seize your opportunity. Forget “the new normal”. Take a leap forward and design your “New Great”.


The “New Normal”

What a change! In a matter of weeks, the way we work has changed drastically. Those who can, work from home. Suddenly, no more traffic jams, cleaner air, no constant aeroplane and car noise, more time for family and personal life.

But there have also been challenges: How do you reconcile working from home with children who need to be home-schooled? Or with a partner who works at home?

How do you avoid working non-stop?

There were encouraging photos about online meetings of teams bringing fun items, online get-togethers, and practical gifts were sent from employers to home addresses. Great stuff.

Adoption of tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom has exploded. Everyone can now easily collaborate online. We can tick off the hygiene factor.

In many companies, productivity dropped dramatically with this sudden change. But it looks like we are responding well – and quickly – to this situation. That is a good start. But how do we move forward together?


Not Normal!

You read more and more about the “New Normal”, referred to in a business context as a new situation where we collaborate more remotely.

But why the term “Normal”? I think our “Old Normal” was not so normal …

Quite the contrary.

And I confine myself here to how we work together. That way hasn’t worked for a long time. Not at all.

A selection of facts, as reported by Corporate Rebels and Gallup Inc:

  • 85% of employees are not engaged
  • 5% do not understand the strategy
  • 23% feel burned out
  • 37% do not feel their work contributes meaningfully to the world

That is not normal. That is downright alarming!

And surely, we do not intend to recreate this situation in our New Normal? I hope not.


This is our chance – Re-imagine the workplace

“Never waste a good crisis,” said Winston Churchill, to point out that the United Nations owes its existence to World War II. Now that we all have the tools to reach each other from anywhere, we can achieve so much more.

We do not want to go back to the “old normal” with made up restrictions, do we?


This is our opportunity. We can do much more than only react to what is happening around us. We have a unique opportunity to reconstruct. Together, we can shape improved teamwork.

At Zummit, we work closely with Salesforce, the leader in cloud software. They use the term “re-imagine” in all their thinking and communication about the times ahead. A great find! Re-imagining.


Your journey towards your “New Great”

And if we are going to invent something new, let us give it a more fitting name: the “New Great”. Together, we will shape our “New Great”.

What do you see? What does your “New Great” look like?

Connection is the first thing that comes to our mind.

This is exactly the element that missing when we look at the above facts on employee engagement.

Our “Old Normal” lacks connection: organisations that are barely connected to their environment. Employees who are not connected to themselves, each other, and their organisation. Connection, in other words.

But that is a pretty big topic. Where do you start? Well, if you are going to start designing, at least do it connected. In other words, with each other. Design the “New Great” together with your team!


Your steps to get to the “New Great”

Below are a few practical steps towards the first version of your “New Better”. There are 2 categories:

First, the “Stay connected” category – tips to help you stay in touch despite the distance.

Second, the “Get results” category – tips that will keep you and your team(s) moving forward.


1. Stay connected

a. Take virtual coffees

In the office you have chance encounters like at the coffee machine. Then you have a spontaneous conversation. You do not have to plan everything. Knock on your team members’ doors once in a while and ask how the colleague is doing. Ask if work from home is going well, to what extent he/she has the energy and resources to do his/her job. If you are leading a team, make sure you have regular one-on-one conversations with all team members.

b. Organise online get-togethers

Agree not to talk about work, say whether family members and pets are welcome. You can even choose a theme, such as “favourite movies” or play an online game.

Be careful: if you organise a get-together, make sure everyone feels welcome, even if they don’t drink alcohol. Be creative!

c. Share more compliments

Team members grow through feedback. Stay alert to keep giving compliments. Not a habit for you, today? Then attend to it and make it a habit. Compliments can be given in online team meetings, but of course they can also be given in one-on-one meetings in between.


2. Deliver results

There are three important – and timeless – success factors, to achieve goals as a team:

a. Provide clarity

Look at your annual plan, adjust the goals if necessary, discuss them with each other. Limit the number of goals and use clear words. Write them down. That way, everyone knows what the intention is.

b. Build ownership

Invite your teams to translate short-term organisational goals into initiatives with a clear result. Help team leaders to develop these initiatives into clear agreements with the team members. Write these agreements down. That way, everyone knows their share, knows what contribution to expect from eachother.

c. Establish rhythm

Create a “heartbeat” in your organisation, a frequent dialogue on goals and progress. Ask the teams in your organisation to organize short weekly meetings. In these check-ins, team members can discuss the status of initiatives and their agreements. And then go over any requests for help and the agreements for the upcoming period. That way, everyone knows where the team stands.

Sources of Inspiration

Getting the hang of designing your New Great and want to get ahead? Then take a look at these sources for inspiration:

Corporate Rebels, Joost Minnaar and Pim de Morree quit their jobs to visit and interview the world’s most inspiring companies. They are happy to share their insights with you.

Semco Style Institute, Ricardo Semler and his company Semco are known worldwide for their pioneering approach to management. Together with three Dutch entrepreneurs, he founded Semco Style Institute. There you will find help to make more of a difference and perform better with happier and more engaged employees.

Rebelwise. Erik Soonieus and Josje van de Kerkhof know all about Sociacracy 3.0, practical patterns and ways of working that increase the autonomy and agility of your organisation and team.


Need help?

If you want to know more about how you and your team can achieve better results, take a look at the LinkedIn page of Zummit Solutions. Or contact us via email.

Have fun designing and achieving!


Receive monthly news?