It’s Never Going “Back to Normal”​ – and That’s a Good Thing!

My wife Heather, who is a teacher, had to learn a lot. Like the rest of the working world, she had to learn how to use tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom. I helped her learn how to record, edit, and upload videos to a private YouTube channel. She learned how to better interact with students and parents using the online platform the school had invested in but didn’t use too often.

office-workers-in-covid-masksMost of the teachers did an exceptional job. They learned new skills. They used fancy tools, and there was a ton of collaboration between teachers, parents, and students.

It’s kind of like a CRM that barely gets used, but if and when it gets used, it becomes an immensely powerful, can’t-live-without tool. For some, it never gets that far.

Many of the sales teams I’ve been working with during the pandemic have repeatedly said they’ve never collaborated as closely as they do now.

Here we are six months later. I got a letter from the school telling me everything the kids would need for the new “school reality.”

One item on the list stood out, an item that has stood the test of time: the Texas Instruments TI-30X Scientific Calculator.

This surprised me.

Maybe I’m overly harsh, but I was surprised to see no mention of online learning, typing, coding, etc. Nothing mentioned the continued use of the platform mentioned above or digital tools. It was just the same old list of standard school supplies we get every year.

As we discussed last week, businesses and organizations have had to adopt new ways of doing things. In many cases, those new ways of doing things were the reason many of those companies survived.

We all keep hearing this in business and our personal lives – “when things get back to normal…”

Online learning and the use of collaboration tools aren’t just something you break out during the tough days of the pandemic. It would be an immense shame to lose steam on the new skills kids, employees, and executives alike have learned over the past six to seven months.

I’ve talked to many owners and CEOs who also fear their people are just waiting to slip back into the bad habits of yesterday instead of continuing with the new, healthy habits we’ve developed.

Instead of sales teams just getting back out on the road and flying all over the country, maybe every client doesn’t need quarterly in-person check-ins. Perhaps the days of large expense accounts, lavish perks like fishing & ski trips, are things of the past.

Instead of all product demonstrations having to be done in person, maybe Zoom or other tools will continue to suffice.

Instead of everyone just coming back to the office, maybe 75% of the workforce can continue to work from home, reducing high overhead costs.

I’ve bought products from various companies over the past six months that have never sold online before. I can’t imagine they will take everything offline in the coming months, but who knows.

I’m sure your organization is having these discussions, but it’s easier said than done.

For example, if you believe many of the virtual sales activities introduced should remain, you need to consider how to monitor your team’s activity and accountabilities. You still need a way to ensure that your most valuable customers and clients aren’t falling through the cracks.

I’m not suggesting every student needs broadband and the latest and greatest $1,200 iPad, but there was real value in the way both schools and businesses stepped up to the plate. Many schools and businesses were, for lack of better words, forced into the 21st century. It would be a shame to try and “get back to normal.”

We all want life to go back to the way it was for the most part, but there are some things you shouldn’t be willing to give up.

Drive-by birthdays and retirement parties, for example, are something we should stick with.

Your Challenge for This Week:

Make a list or inventory of all the new things you started doing as a result of the pandemic. Here are some idea starters.

  • What has changed with the way you do business?
  • What has changed with the way you communicate with clients
  • What new processes have been introduced?
  • What new selling methods did you use?
  • What new skills did your people develop?
  • What new marketing initiatives did you undertake?
  • What changes happened to your company culture or your team collaboration?
  • What new tools have been implemented? Ie, Zoom, Teams, Shopify, Hubspot, etc.

Once you’ve made a list, ask yourself what things would you be foolish to give up on. And if you don’t know, these are the perfect types of qualitative discussions to be having with your customers.

If you want my help, reach out, and I’ll share some of the best practices I’m helping my clients use to ensure the most valuable learnings of the past seven months aren’t lost.

Pat yourself on the back.

The last thing a lot of companies (and customers) want is a return to normal.



Noah Fleming

Noah Fleming

Noah Fleming is a marketing expert, trusted consultant, Fast Company blogger, and author of the Amazon #1 bestselling book in Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service – EVERGREEN: Cultivate The Enduring Customer Loyalty That Keeps Your Business Thriving.

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