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The New Abnormal with Kevin Appleby

What do you think the new normal is going to look like? Will there be another new abnormal before things settle down properly? From a month into lockdown, Graham thinks it’s been a good time to benefit getting to know neighbours and become more sociable than we would normally be. That might just be part of the new normal. Also, in business we have shown it’s possible for many to work from home. However, the inability to escape the 4 walls we live in and the village is something most people, we presume, will be relieved of.

Kevin read an interesting statistic saying only 9% of the population want things to return exactly to how life was before lockdown.

Kevin Appleby on The Next 100 Days Podcast

The new normal

As listeners know, Kevin is a trustee for is local sports centre. There’s an organisation called The School for Social Entrepreneurs and they have an annual grant for non-profit organisations to improve their trading position. The sports centre achieved it. And, the training began the day before this episode was recorded (online, of course).

What challenged all participants was the question, “what is the new normal?” Achieving social distancing may remain a problem for some time to come. The challenge here is, rather than think about what we do, let’s go back to the why. Why do you do what you do within your organisation. The training challenged all to go back to their mission statements and think about individual motivations for getting involved in non-profit organisations.

It occurred to Kevin that this thinking applies to all businesses right now. As we come out of the crisis, think why do we do what we do. Start with why.

What rather than why

We have got locked into a what rather than why. It’s a lot harder to fulfil the why question but it’s more worthwhile if you know that why. It’s not the easiest pathway for any organisation/company. However, it’s not something you can swerve. It helps you think outside the box. The changes we have been through has forced a different way of thinking – a new normal abnormal. If you can set the right ‘why’ and the right focus on what you’re going to do within that why, the people behind you will recognise it’s a mission worth following.

The issue is we must accept these new normals will emerge every now again and after big shifts in the globe. Having a ‘why’ can be constant. It might be altered in its realisation but the core ‘why’ should continue.


There are certain things in life that you can’t throw away. One of them is your culture. We should be proud of our culture and the way the British live, as Graham says. Swinging this round to the next 100 days, we’ve come out of a period where most of us have been managing from our homes. We’ve coped with furloughing people, trying to claim grants, and looking to how we can help.

The time has come now to take the next 100 days model and say ‘how am I going to live in the new normal?’

A lot of what’s key here will happen in the first 10 days of this time. It’s time to sit back and:

  • review where you’re at as a business
  • go back and challenge your why
  • challenge your values
  • look at some basic, rapid strategy
  • understand the new world
  • put the plan in place
  • and implement.

What do your actions look like beyond the next 90 days of that planning period? What do you have to implement and what do you have to change?

The new abnormal…

This lockdown is the current abnormal. How we’re living just isn’t normal at the moment. It’s the implications on the way we live that is the point of the new normal. For example:

  • do we use Zoom-like technologies more?
  • do we travel less?

We have to start thinking how this is going to change society and the way in which it buys. Graham doesn’t think the next 100 days should be spent trying to get a business back from the abnormal. Rather, the planning should be anticipating the new abnormal. The challenge right now is to think through the transition from this abnormal state to the post-abnormal state, whilst providing for their clients, staff and shareholders.

There is a new normal, but it’s temporary – it’s a new abnormal. Don’t let everyone tell you that this will be the new normal forever. It’s the new abnormal.

Join Kevin on 100 day business reset

100 day business reset is available free for all members of the GrowCFO and GrowCEO networks

If you are a business accountant, finance director or CFO, or aspire to be one in the future then the finance version of Business Reset is available here

If you are a business owner, managing director, or CFO then the version tailored for the non finance community is here

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