Armageddon or a New Normal

By Ann
April 1, 2009
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Armageddon by any other name would feel as uncertain, scary and insecure. Are we really in the midst of Armageddon or has life changed as we know it?  The current turmoil confirms that life will never be the same for any of us.  We will have a new normal.  The landscape is changing.  We don't know what it will look like when the upheaval is over.

Last week I attended "Get Motivated!", a production created by Tamara and Peter Lowe, the co-founders of Get Motivated Business Seminars.  Noelle Phillips accurately described it as "Part pep rally, part tent revival and part infomercial...." in The State Friday, April 10, 2009.

Suze Orman, financial guru, offered some of the most useful information.  She told the audience of thousands to forget about what you used to have because that is past.  With lower home values, diminished 401K values, higher credit card interest
rates, lower FICO scores, and unemployment in double digits the world has changed.  Your world has changed.

Here's what we know so far...seismic changes are happening, the outcome is not clear, and no one has the answers. Joel Barker reminds us in Discovering the Future:  The Business of Paradigms (1988) "When a paradigm shifts, everyone goes back to zero."

We also know that hunkering down to wait for the storm to pass so we can get back to the way things were, "normal," is a fool's errand.  Expecting someone else to solve all your problems is a recipe for disaster, too. The Small Business Administration of the United States (SBA) defines a small business as an independent business with fewer than 500 employees.  Small business is very significant to the United States economy.  The Office of Advocacy in the SBA
notes these facts about small businesses:

  • Represent 99.7% of all employer firms
  • Employ about half of all private sector employees
  • Create more than half of nonfarm private gross domestic product

Consider this revolutionary idea.  You are a contributing factor in our economic and confidence recovery. Suppose you looked at running your business on purpose as a personal responsibility not only to take care of yourself and provide a place of employment for your employees but to do your part to
make sense of this turbulence.  You can play a part in helping your country [and the world] through these unprecedented and uncertain times.

You are uniquely positioned to contribute to the GDP, employment and renewed confidence by running YOUR business on purpose. If you and all your employees adopt the belief that you make a difference and your country needs you, you are on the road to recovery.  You are also leading the way by demonstrating to others that while this crisis is extremely challenging, it can also be your impetus to do what you didn't know you could do.

Use these guidelines to define and operate in a new normal and to do your part:

**Be clear about what is important to you and your employees

**Act courageously to live and run your business from your values

**Encourage and allow others to participate in identifying and achieving your company goals

**Get comfortable with the uncertainty of the moment

**Give up finding the answers for today from the way things used to be

**Invest in the future while you take care of the present

**Remember the experts don't have the solutions either

**Do what you can with what you have now

**Be willing to course-correct when new information emerges

**Try something new even if you don't know how it will work
out

**Stay curious and open to learning at all levels

**Keep or hire qualified, committed employees

Are you willing to allow someone else to determine your future? You have the most to lose by turning your destiny over to someone else.  You are building the future now.  Be prepared to be surprised at how creative, resilient, resourceful and focused you can be.  Be willing to take credit for the impact you have on our recovery.

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