From working in the Production Music Industry I have had the opportunity to interact with clients from all industry types. With staff that currently covers the domestic U.S., Canada, Latin America and Brazil I have seen firsthand how clients have experienced changes to their business necessitated by current economic conditions. And just like in years past when economic downturn cycles occurred, many look forward to the time when things “return to normal.” Normal, at least in the domestic U.S., is characterized by economic growth, new jobs, predictable stock market performance and stable or growing real estate values.
I believe, as do many, that our current economic climate is in fact the NEW normal – and that things will not be returning to the “way they were” for quite some time. I do not see this as a pessimistic view, but instead a realistic (and arguably optimistic) view. I recognize that in this new landscape our clients are often doing more work with less staff, and working much harder and facing stiffer competition than in previous years. Now more than ever I believe that companies have to ask themselves the tough questions about who they are and how they perform.
So, how do you “right-size” yourself to the new normal? If you haven’t exhaustively done so already I recommend that you start by taking an outside-in look at your organization to determine how you are seen thru your client’s eyes. Determine what processes touch your clients, and rework these “touchpoints” so as to client optimize them. Tom Peter’s has long espoused that “details make the difference”. Explore your processes down to a granular level, and be brave enough to break apart and rebuild them to the standard your client expects, not the one you think you should deliver.
I believe the new normal provides us feedback – and the feedback is “you can’t keep doing what you were doing and expect to get the same results”. Our opportunity, and the optimistic upside that the new normal presents, is a chance to build a better organization tailored to our client’s needs!