Lost in the Space of Abnormal – Lay a Course

During the onset of the pandemic stay-at-home mandate, it was imperative for me to be productive around the house. To not wallow in the worldwide unprecedented conditions I decided to do one of the things people rarely or EVER want to do . . . clean out and take inventory of the pantry and household supplies.

Clipboard in hand, the digging into cupboards began. Talk about lonely, boring work.

If only my daughter were still a young girl living at home. We’d have turned this into an adventure. Just like those migraine commercials where playtime becomes magical and the imagination soars.

We would have pretended to be lost in space. Intergalactic travelers stranded on a planet, its air contaminated by noxious gas.

We’d have to take stock. Make an inventory of our supplies. Rationing may be a possibility until necessary repairs to the ship were made and we could make our escape.

Canned foods – check

Baking products – check

Cleaning products – check

Toilet paper – uh oh

Before you could say, “Danger, Will Robinson,” the game ended.

I was transported back to reality. Returned to an unrecognizable earth where the hottest commodity was TP. Yes, I went there. The classic demand “take me to your leader” popped in my head with visions of porcelain thrones.

After that flash of humor, my mind went numb. I could not process the magnitude of the world situation.

Normal had vaporized and collectively we were lost in the space of abnormal.

People aren’t meant to be drifting in space, off course, and lost. So, the internet exploded with tips and suggestions on how to process this new abnormal. I used many of those tips; as well as trusting in and conversing with the CEO of the Universe.

The CEO of the Universe reminded me that I wasn’t lost; I’d forgotten to hope and focus on looking for the good. I had to stop looking back. Hope encourages us to look ahead and lay a course for new destinations. Hope takes action.

Our ancestors were affected by plagues, a 1918 flu pandemic, World War I and II, the Great Depression, and countless other crises. Abnormal has been the human experience from the beginning of recorded history.

What we think is a choice.

Behavior is a choice.

Choice cast us out of the garden and into a flawed world. Despite the flaws, humanity always chose to look ahead. Take inventory. Discover what led us to crisis; what we could learn.

We can choose to focus on action and what we need to do differently. Entrepreneurs will choose to rise from the ashes and begin again. People will become creative and thrive.

Today, information and suggestions are increasingly posted for business owners and executives to take inventory, plan for future crises, identify what needs to be done, and what an emerging “new normal” looks like within a company. The CDC has a “Resuming Business TOOLKIT” available as a starting point.

As an employee who has worked for decades within various types of companies in multiple positions, here’s what I would ask decision makers to consider:

Add Non-Management Employees to the Team
Whether a leader of a small business or large corporation, you’re probably going to establish a team to oversee the planning and creation of a new normal. Non-management employees:

can bring a different perspective to the table;

can be more informed about particular challenges employees face;

have valuable insight as to what does and does not work within positions, and;

because they were part of the conversation, can be your greatest ally and advocate when launching new policies or procedures.

Sell the Sizzle, Not the Steak, and Educate
If you want to get people on board a new normal, sell the sizzle. This sales technique has been around since the 1920’s. It’s used every day by savvy marketing specialists. Apple, Coca Cola, Pepsi, alcohol and cosmetics companies are masters at selling the benefits, the lifestyle potential, as a result of using their products.

I can only imagine the impact if the aforementioned marketing wizards assisted the CDC and WHO with creating some of their messaging materials.

Use illustrations, graphics, images, and videos that express ideas and clarify the benefits of new policies and procedures. Especially when it comes to health awareness. What do employees gain? People always ask themselves consciously or unconsciously, “What’s in it for me?” Show them. Show them why self care is imperative to the strength of the company and their community.

I want to feel safe in the workplace, as do other employees. Educate us. Explain the why behind new processes and procedures. Information is so fluid right now; make sure you’re sharing and posting current local, state, and federal guidelines. Communicate with us. Give us a voice and a safe place to share our concerns.

Don’t open your company up to a lawsuit. If you don’t have a Human Resource department, hire a reputable HR consultant or firm, like the Human Resource Connection, Ltd., to make sure your new policies and procedures are well documented, equitable, and up-to-date with the ever-changing employment laws.

Inspire When you Hire
The wisest question every one of us can ask ourselves is, “Who do I want to be?” Each of us, employer or employee, are leaders. Our spirit reflects what flows from within us. What we do affects and influences family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and strangers. There’s a reason why the movie It’s a Wonderful Life is still popular after decades. We live with its theme every day.

Inspire people. Promote and show new hires and employees that you and your company’s behavior and culture inspires by:

radiating positivity;

trusting employees;

giving everyone individual attention, praise, and feedback during the entire year; not just during an annual review;

brightening the workplace (and remote worker’s communications) with color or nature murals, superhero images, and inspirational quotes, and;

mirroring Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey.

According to NBC news, for Twitter employees, “who are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen.”

If employees choose to return to the mother ship, they will be welcomed with open arms.

Let’s stop being lost. Lay a course and, “Engage.”

© 2013 – 2020 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved

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