Written by Steve Gandara
Far too much is being said, focused on, and discussed regarding whatever anyone would possibly define as a “NEW NORMAL.” There is no NEW NORMAL. Not only does it not currently exist, it will never exist in the future. Things are changing far too fast for a new normal to occur. There are only NEW REALITIES.
As I’ve shared before, far too much has already changed too fast to waste any of your valuable time even considering using the word normal. If you read our last two articles you’ve already realized that not only is there not going to be a “New Normal,” just focusing on the word NORMAL slows you down and debilitates your team keeping you from achieving the level of excellence that the new reality demands. If you persist it will ultimately defeat you and your team.
LET’S CONSIDER WHAT’S ALREADY CHANGED AND WILL LIKELY NEVER RETURN AGAIN
The first thing that has changed that will never return is the entire Global Culture. Remember that our definition of culture is “The Beliefs that Govern How People Behave.” From this point on, anytime anyone ever hears the word PANDEMIC their entire mental state as well as physical state reacts and begins to cause major differences in how they think, communicate, respond, and behave. This also affects what choices they make, or do not make, how they do business, what they buy or don’t buy, what risks they’re willing to take, what they will avoid as well as what they’ll embrace and so on. If you read our LEADING THE LIGHT IN THIS DARKNESS series, you will recall how the science of psycholinguistics effects our culture and our futures.
Psycholinguistics is the study of how our psyche responds to words and languages. An example of psycholinguistics is a study of how certain words represent traumatic events for some people and memories of traumatic events produce nothing but more trauma and more traumatic events as they move toward their dominant thought patterns. The current crisis has been a 100-year traumatic event that everyone has been forced to deal with. The word PANDEMIC is the trigger word for starting the mental, emotional, and behavioral chain reaction. When you add the word GLOBAL in front of it and have a GLOBAL PANDEMIC, you automatically add another new level of trauma.
According to the science, people who focus on traumatic events create more trauma in their lives internally as well as externally because as human beings we unconsciously move toward that which is uppermost in our minds. Just as the child who’s learning to ride a new bike doesn’t want to hit their dad’s shiny new car in the driveway always hits it when they focus on the image of what they want to avoid, so do those who focus on past trauma or avoiding it, continuously recreate more trauma.
Years ago, a now very famous but then young rookie NASCAR Driver named Michael Waltrip attended one of our Achieving Excellent Culture Workshops down in Georgia. I will never forget when we discussed the science of psycholinguistics and the example of the child riding their new bike. When we got to the part about them hitting their dad’s new car just because they continually focused on avoiding it, when that was the last thing they wanted to do, Michael raised his hand.
As he began to wave it enthusiastically, he shouted out something like, “I know how that works, that’s what they taught us at NASCAR school.” As he expounded, he shared with the group how they were taught that when there was an accident in front of them to immediately focus on the accident.
Thinking that he missed the point, I was dumb enough to interrupt him. When I corrected him by letting him know that the focus point is where our minds automatically direct our bodies to gravitate and move toward, he interrupted and corrected me. “That’s the point Steve. When you are blowing down the straight away at over 200 miles per hour and someone in front of you spins out, crashes or blows up, you want to focus on the accident. The purpose is so that you will head straight for it because at 200 MPH by the time you get there it will be gone. If you try to avoid it, you’ll end up in the pile up.” I stood corrected. Michael was so right on.
Try this in your own mind for a minute. Say the word’s out loud “We’re in the middle of a GLOBAL PANDEMIC.” Now pause for a few minutes and monitor your physical, mental, and emotional state. “When are we ever going to get back to NOMAL?” Or, “Are we ever going to get to the NEW NORMAL?”
Now contrast those with “In my firm we’re all excited about creating our own NEW REALITY.” Now pause for a few minutes and monitor your physical, mental, and emotional state. If you allowed yourself to believe what you said when you said it, you really felt the difference. Even if you didn’t believe what you said, you felt a discernable difference. How do you think this is affecting your team? How about your health? Your family? Your future?
So, what are we going to do when the next GLOBAL PANDEMIC hits? Do you really think with all that is going on around the world today, we’ll never have another? How will we survive that one? Will we be ready for it or mentally and emotionally paralyzed and locked up in fear?
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently announced that employees will be allowed to work from home in perpetuity, even after the coronavirus pandemic ends. Facebook followed with the announcement that they intend to do the same with one half of their workforce. What about the fact that millions of other businesses and organizations have discovered that they can forgo the expensive offices or physical places of business, save the money, and work just as effectively virtually. What is that going to do to our commercial office space market? Will there be one? What is going to become of all the empty commercial office spaces?
Nordstrom is permanently closing 16 stores in 9 states while they beef up their online presence and loyalty programs. Then there the bankruptcies of J.C. Penny, J. Crew and Neiman Marcus. According to retail analytics firm Coresight Research, U.S. retailers have announced 2,210 permanent closures so far this year, most of which were made public before the pandemic began. What about all the retailers who have lagged Amazon for too long to ever catch up in the online sales and marketing business? What is going to become of all those huge beautiful facilities? Many in this business will likely perish but a few with an abundance mindset will discover new market opportunities doing who knows what in the NEW REALITY.
What about all the forthcoming real estate foreclosures that, according to most industry experts are likely to take place soon. Could there be another real estate crunch? What about all the businesses, organizations and employees who aren’t ready for this? Who still believe that they need to be in the same office, store, or physical building to be effective? That working from home has too many distractions or that it is too easy to be lazy there rather than productive? What about all the millions of micro-managers who know that they cannot trust their people to be productive and effective unless they are closely observed and scrutinized? What about all the employees who have reported to those micro-managers for so many years and are delighted to be out from under their ever-scrutinizing watchful eye?
What about? What about? What about? All the massive changes that our recent future holds would take hundreds of articles to unpack.
GET READY, GET READY, GET READY
Because there are so very many things that will never be the same again a totally different world view has become immanent. Because the winds of change are not just blowing, they are in our face at hurricane velocity, both a different mindset and a different culture are critical components to taking advantage of the NEW REALITIES that our very recent future holds. Those who are ready to seize the numerous opportunities created by the all convulsive changes will dominate the future.
To help you get prepared, if you’re not there and more prepared if you’re in the process I want to go deeper into three areas that we touched on briefly in previous articles in this series that will make all the difference in your future as a NEW REALITY opportunist.
RADICAL MINDSET FIRST, RADICAL CULTURE NOT FAR BEHIND
The Oxford Dictionary has a remarkably interesting definition of the adjective RADICAL: “(especially of change or action) relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough.” Their definition for the noun RADICAL is even more thought provoking: “a person who advocates thorough or complete political or social reform.” Also, for the purposes of where we’re headed let’s consider the definition for the term WORLD VIEW: “a particular philosophy of life or conception of the world.”
Thus, a RADICAL WORLD VIEW would be a dominant mindset that embraces both change and action to affect the fundamental nature of one’s future in a far reaching and thorough manner. A RADICAL CORPORATE CULTURE would thus be a unified group of people, working together to embrace both change and action to affect the fundamental nature of their future in a far reaching and thorough manner.
RADICAL MINDSET CRITICAL ELEMENT NUMBER ONE
What do we allow ourselves to believe that is truly possible in this NEW REALITY? Jerry Korum, a long-time CEO client and good friend sent me an interesting video the other day. I always read and watch everything he sends because I recognize him as a highly credible source who never wastes my time with anything that is not highly beneficial and essential even if it’s a joke. Jerry founded and built a $100 million plus business that has weathered more than 50 years of storms and is still standing as strong as it has ever stood. Anytime anyone has done anything that successfully for so many, many years, you know that they have made it through more radical changes than most of us can imagine let alone get through and still be standing strong.
While I found the short news clip heartwarming, inspiring and thought-provoking, more than anything else it changed my world view on what is truly possible if we set our minds to something and do it together. While the story is about a RADICAL young 3-year-old golfer, it tells the whole story of our RADICAL MINDSET CRITICAL ELEMENT NUMBER ONE- What do we allow ourselves to believe that is truly possible in this NEW REALITY?
You’ll love this: TOMMY’S STORY
Notice the significant lessons for us in this short 7-minute clip:
- Focusing on the disability never gets you anywhere
- Focus on doing what you love most and exhaust every possibility to find a way to excel at it
- Wake up every morning with a passion for doing what you love and go do it. If you don’t love it, find something that you love and do that.
- Doing what you love, where you love to do it will become your sanctuary
- Do your best regardless of the handicaps and setbacks in your way
- There is truly nothing that you cannot do if you have the right attitude
- Keeping it simple makes all the difference (“Grip it and rip it”)
- Find a role model and follow their lead never accepting the possibility of failure
Little Tommy’s determination and “nothing’s impossible for me,” attitude got a big underscore last night when I watched Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ documentary biography on PBS. What a life. What a story. AWOL dad, abject, pre-integration deep south poverty, living in a shack with an open ditch septic street, then raised by an overbearing grandfather, heart wound after heart wound after heart wound. Then it was all topped off with a massive character assassination attempt designed to destroy him and his lifelong, hard earned reputation of high integrity forever.
His response was to dig deep and come up with the now famous “this is a high-tech lynching” speech that when boldly delivered before the US Senate on National TV won him a 58% to 24% trust rating with the nation followed by a highly politicized 52 to 48 senate confirmation of his appointment to the highest court in the Nation. The judge’s life’s motto is engraved on the bronze bust statue of his grandfather that’s sitting on the shelf above his desk, “OLD MAN CAN’T IS DEAD… I HELPED BURY HIM.”
If you’ve attended one of our Achieving Excellent Culture Workshops you understand how our Reticular Activation System works mentally as our human brain working in overdrive to maintain sanity, trying to prove that we’re not crazy for believing what we believe. The Reticular Activation System or RAS is a physical location in the brain that controls awareness (what we’re allowed to receive or
not receive through our senses). The RAS monitors what is allowed into our memory system using blind spots, insights and ah-ha epiphanies focused on two primary factors:
- Information perceived to have a high level of personal pay value or opportunity.
- Information perceived to be a threat to our safety, security or well-being.
For example: The mother with a sleeping child, blocks out the high decibel sounds of trains or planes and thunderstorms, but hears and immediately responds to the slightest whimper of the child all the way down the hall. Love for the child is has powerful subconscious value, so the sounds of the child get right through the RAS while much noisier planes, trains and thunderstorms are filtered out.
The exception would be when the thunderstorm presents a significant threat as in high storm or tornado prone areas. When fear or threat are dominant factors, the sound of the storm gets right through just like the baby’s cry. The mom can also hear the baby’s father quietly sneaking in at 3AM no matter how quiet he is. Yes, all forms of threats get right through while everything else is blocked out.
Another major component of the RAS function is perceived responsibility or accountability. While the mother wakes up when the child cries, the dad sleeps soundly because he knows she will wake up and take care of the child. If the mom is away visiting her sister, the dad wakes up because his subconscious knows that he is now responsible for the well-being of the child.
In this case when little Tommy believed that he could be a great golfer regardless of his physical handicap, his little RAS opened, creating lots of passion and desire for the game. This evidenced by his choice to watch the golf channel rather than cartoons at only 3 years old. Thus, he not only had increased his motivation to overcome his physical handicap, to the amazement of all the unbelieving adults around him, he learned how to play exceptionally well despite the physical handicap. He also took full accountability for willful active practicing to develop his skill. When Arnold Palmer says, “he’s got a good swing and a great future,” you gotta know that that something extra special is taking place in this young man.
In the case of Justice Thomas, his firm belief that, “OLD MAN CAN’T IS DEAD… I HELPED BURY HIM,” helped him discover and take action on opportunity after opportunity to overcome literally unsurmountable odds to ultimately become who he believed he was destined to become.
Is this positive thinking? Nope, is effective self-management of what you allow yourself to believe is possible or impossible and then learning how to manage your RAS as an awareness generator to help you and your team learn what you need to learn to get there. To invent whatever strategy, you need to invent to overcome the obstacles in front of you and achieve what you believe you were designed, destined, or created to become.
These two experiences help us realize how over-privileged, weak and lazy so many of us in our contemporary culture and society have become. It’s as if our motto is no longer “if at first you can’t succeed, then try, try again.” Rather, it’s become “if at first you can’t succeed, then blame some physical, mental, lack of knowledge or education or social handicap, the government, our larger society, your parents, your upbringing, your humble beginnings, the Corona Virus Global Pandemic or even some imaginary, drummed up excuse.” Then it becomes easy to stop persisting and cave in, so we don’t have to blame ourselves because our lack of success is due to some external uncontrollable factor.
If little 3-year-old Tommy with only one arm can get it, then what is our excuse? Tommy got it because he chose to be a RADICAL. Justice Thomas got it because he chose to be a RADICAL. What do you believe? What do you choose? What does your team believe? What do they choose?
Those of you who are graduates of one of our Achieving Excellent Culture Workshops know how to successfully become a RADICAL. You just need to spruce up your skills. For those of you who haven’t and want to learn, as our contribution to Spreading the Light in this darkness, Excellent Cultures will gift to you at no cost, our 10 week twice-a-day Achieving Excellent Cultures Daily Email and Commuter Podcast Series on us.
RADICAL MINDSET CRITICAL ELEMENT NUMBER TWO
Do we believe the current NEW REALITY is one of SARCITY or one of ABUNDANCE? A few articles back, I shared my experience with meeting economist Paul Zane Pilzer. At that time Pilzer, a Wharton School grad, was a Professor of Economics at New York University, a previous economic advisor to the President of the US, bestselling author and an entrepreneur who started and ran an educational tech business in Texas while teaching Economics at New York University. If you think that is a diverse resume, he’s also an ordained Jewish Rabbi.
According to my memory of Pauls’ story, when he began the study of economics, he had an extremely difficult time accepting much of John Maynard Keynes’ traditional theory of economics. Keynesian Economics as taught to university sophomores for the last several decades asserted that scarcity of resources had an impact on fundamental economics, hence the proverbial supply and demand curves.
Paul could never bring himself to believe the fact that scarcity of resources was a reality. Because his Jewish upbringing taught him that God was an abundant God and that the earth was created out of abundance, he just could not grasp the concept of scarcity. He believed that scarcity was a false reality and that it only existed when people believed that it was a reality.
Ultimately when he got to his post grad work, he set about developing his own economic theories proving that scarcity is only a reality when people believe it is. His two case studies were so well established that he became the first professor in the history of New York University to be allowed to use his own bestselling books as texts for his economics classes.
He cited a few fundamental aspects in his work as an economist that are critical for all of us who choose to embrace the New Reality and succeed:
- When people believed that scarcity was a reality, they shut down, stopped inventing and creating new solutions to problems and became victims of the scarce reality that they accepted while they waited for someone else to solve the problem that the perceived scarcity represented.
- Conversely, people with an abundance mentality refused to accept that scarcity was a reality. These relentlessly pursued a search for solutions to the problem of scarcity that confronted them and refused to stop until they found or created it. In his best-selling Economics books (Unlimited Wealth and God Wants You to be Rich) he tells the story of his case study on the gasoline crisis way back in 1979. How it caused some people to stand in line at the gas pump waiting for their ration of fuel and others to invent the fuel injector and oil well fracking that solved the crisis. Paul’s assertion is that there never was a real crisis-only a crisis of the world view of scarcity people allowed themselves to believe.
- A scarcity mentality causes people to hoard and protect what they have while an abundance mentality causes people to share and help each other improve and overcome. It also activates their creative abilities to INVENT THE HOW or the strategy, instead of waiting for someone else to do it. You see a beautiful example of how this mindset works in the true story movie Apollo 13 where Gene Kranz, NASA Flight Director and manager declared that FAILURE WAS NOT AN OPTION and refused to accept that the entire flight crew were going to die in space. The result: Creativity that turned spare parts and duct tape into a lifesaving strategy and the phrase “Houston we have a problem” became famous.
- His second case study on the invention of the video cassette tells the story of how Sony, who invented the original video cassette (Betamax in 1975) believed that scarcity would make them rich and refused to share their proprietary technology with anyone. They wanted to hoard it. To counter this, JVC invented the VHS (Video Home System) in 1976 and deployed an abundance strategy licensing their technology to multiple manufacturers. Guess who ended up owning the market. It wasn’t SONY, a then successful company with a scarcity mentality when it came to their invention.
- As my recollection serves me, he wrapped it all up in the fable he referred to as “Pilzer’s Island.” According to Paul a desolate island in the isolated south pacific was inhabited by natives who survived on the harvest of coconuts, fishing and cultivating pineapples. As the natives survived peacefully with each other, an economy emerged trading pineapples for coconuts and fish for both etc. Everyone shared and traded peacefully, and the small economy began to flourish abundantly.
- Eventually what economists call specialization of labor emerged. The best fishermen did better by putting all their time and energy into fishing and then traded their harvest to the best coconut harvesters and/or pineapple farmers and vice versa.
- As long as they lived in what Pilzer called a “Culture of Love,” (basically mutual respect, trust, dignity and free will interactive commerce) everyone prospered abundantly and peacefully.
- This continued until scarcity fear tempted one individual to attempt cornering the market on their commodity. The scarcity mindset then prompted greed and more of the natives began to hoard their commodity attempting to take over others in the same business.
- The result: strife and collapse of the once thriving economy. The culprit: A Scarcity Mentality.
If you listen closely to the news and follow social media today during this so called Covid-19 Crisis, this same scarcity culprit is alive and well and unfortunately thriving in our culture and society. When the culprit gets control of our emotions and our emotions take over our choices, we are all in deep trouble.
An Abundance Mentality is one that persists in believing that a better future always exists, we just need to persist in discovering or inventing it and then be bold and accountable enough to act on it. THIS IS NOT POSITIVE THINKING!
Positive thinking believes that everything is always going to work out for the best and then passively waits around for something good to happen. Then when it does not happen, it either goes into positive happy face denial or the blame game rather than Reticular Activation Searching for a NEW REALITY BETTER SOLUTION.
A Scarcity Mentality is one that persists in believing that our lives and futures are more about the hand we are dealt than how we play it or what kind of hand will come in the next deal and how we play it. It embraces the fact that we always need to wait for something outside of us to change for our situation to get any better. It operates in ignorance or denial of the existence and functionality of the Reticular Activating System. If you allow yourself or your team to believe and act this way in this season YOU WILL ALL PERISH TOGETHER!
Breakthroughs, innovation, new technology, inventions, and better strategies to solve old as well as new problems are the fruit of an Abundance Mentality and of an Abundance Culture. Better, faster, smarter, more economical ways of doing what used to take us longer, harder, more expensive means to accomplish lesser results are always the fruit of an Abundance Mentality and a Culture of Abundance.
Sitting around passively waiting and hoping for things to finally get back to NORMAL or for the NEW NORMAL to finally show up are the fruits of a Scarcity Mentality and a Culture of Scarcity.
Which do you choose? Which has your team already chosen? What are you going to do about it?
Pilzer is a RADICAL. Tommy is a RADICAL. Justice Thomas is a RADICAL. Radicals are generally not popular people because their belief systems clash with the status quo culture of our larger society. They are typically labeled as RADICALS by people who never looked up the definition of the word and as a result, they try to bully them into being NORMAL. Or knocking off all their aggressive craziness and just waiting around for the NEW NORMAL to finally roll around.
Yet, the greatest breakthroughs of history occurred at the hands of and through the ideas of RADICALS. It sounds like it’s time to either stand still and wait for the NEW NORMAL to finally show up or GET RADICAL! By now you know where I stand.
In the next article, we will talk about the other CRITICAL ELEMENTS of a RADICAL MINDSET and a RADICAL CULTURE OF RELENTLESS COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE. In the meantime, we thought you might like to take advantage of our complimentary contribution to help your organization break into your RADICAL future of Reticular Activation System driven ABUNDANCE by evaluating the culture where you work. Is it NORMAL on the way to extinction or RADICAL on the way to ABUNDANCE?
It is our gift to support you in building the “New Reality” you most desire for your team during this challenging season.
PASS IT ON
I am certainly no expert, just an intentional observer who cares about you, your business, your team, your family and most of all, your future. I might be wrong or even worse than that, “Controversial.”
Yet, there is one thing I know is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN: “IN TIMES LIKE THESE, YOU CAN EITHER STAND STILL AND CURSE THE DARKNESS OR YOU CAN LIGHT A CANDLE AND MOVE FORWARD.” Even better, “YOU CAN CREATE RADICAL LIGHT IN THIS NEW REALITY.” Imagine what a difference we can make if all of us intentionally light just one candle for someone else every single day!
STAY SAFE, BE WELL, DREAM BIG and PASS IT ON!