top of page

3 Steps To New Normal Success

What a crazy time it is!

Well, we now know what the “new normal” is also an ongoing period of changes, surprises, and uncertainties fueled by a COVID pandemic that is not going away anytime soon.

Four weeks ago, we and our clients were successfully working through “new normal” COVID impacts like soaring demand, constrained supply, labor shortages, and spiking inflation. But now, COVID-19 cases are rising again fast, with the CDC forecasting “the number of newly reported COVID-19 cases will likely increase over the next 4 weeks, with 200,000 to 1,200,000 new cases likely reported in the week ending August 21, 2021.”

That’s an average rate of 28,000 to 170,000 new cases per day -- within the next three weeks!

So what now? Time to step back, take stock, and rethink the keys to success for this “new” new normal.

To help, consider working with your team through the three-step Keys to New Normal Success exercise to discern what your most important keys to success are during this “new” new normal. The exercise can be done easily with your team in 2-3 hours, and its outputs will build resiliency and agility to better navigate the months and years to come.

Step 1: List & prioritize COVID Disruptors on your business COVID has affected your company in so many ways. Write them down, positive, negative, and neutral. It’s very helpful to understand how different today’s new normal really is. With your team, list all the changes, unexpected situations, shifted expectations, “new rules of the road,” uncertainties, and other COVID Disruptors that affect your business and your success. Be candid and dig deep. List at least 20 – and don’t reject any. All disruptors count!

Next, for each COVID Disruptor, indicate if the disruptor’s (1) timeframe is short term or long term, and (2) business impact is small or large. Even easier is to simply set up a 2x2 matrix of timeframe v. business impacts and put your disruptors where they belong.

Then, as a team, discuss and prioritize which of your COVID disruptors are most consequential for in the new normal. You can call these your “Top New Normal Disruptors.”

Step 2: List & prioritize your COVID lessons Given the disruptors you’ve experienced, what are the strategic and operational lessons you’ve learned? What works and what doesn’t? What’s been beneficial, and what has not? Once again, list the lessons gained since COVID started with candor and digging deep. Try to identify a dozen lessons or more. Then, ask, “Which top 3-5 lessons are most fundamental to your firm’s success going forward in this new normal where COVID does not go away? You can call these, “Top New Normal Lessons.”

Step 3: List and prioritize your “Keys to Success” With top new normal disruptors and lessons in hand, list out what you can do better and how you can be better to be more successful in this new normal. And then, prioritize your top “New Normal Keys to Success” for the rest of 2021 and forward to 2022.

Make sense? Finally, build your team’s strategic and operational clarity and focus by integrating these keys into your quarterly and annual planning.

COVID will eventually fade away, many impacts are here to stay and the old normal is not coming back.

Talley Ho!


Two other items: First, thanks to Kaihan Krippendorff, author of Outthink the Competition ( for the tool used in Step 1.

And second, if you’d like to use Shepherd Advisors’ free Keys to New Normal Success template, just let me know.


bottom of page