Leadership & Management

Overwhelming call for a ‘better normal’

Health Industry Hub | June 3, 2020 |
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People are rejecting corporate and government thinking on the ‘return to normal’ and want to keep the work-life-changes they have made under COVID-19 which lead to a “better normal”.

A global survey by the Melbourne-based Centre for Optimism has found that the phrases ‘the new normal’ and ‘getting back to normal’ are dead in the water. 

“Companies and government should rethink their return-to-work plans and communications and focus on a better normal.  People don’t want a return to old ways or nebulous ‘new normal’; they have experienced better in the crisis and they want to benefit from change,” says COO of The Centre for Optimism, Victor Perton.

How can we achieve ‘better’? Leadership and communication were the two key areas identified by the survey.

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“People want more. The old normal was no longer working for most people with diminishing productivity and wage growth. Having weathered the COVID19 crisis with better community spirit and optimism, they want better for their future and their children’s future.

“It’s now time for the public and private sectors to deliver more, engage more and include more people and communities in all their planning if they want to build on the goodwill they have achieved from their communities and customers. Authoritarian state-of-emergency rule is wearing thin.

The online survey has attracted more than 500 people from 16 countries to express their views on what they want the future to be and more than 70% said they want a ‘better normal’.

“True leaders must use the lessons learned from COVID-19 to build a ‘better normal’ to reassure, strengthen trust and build confidence with realistic optimism,” said Robert Masters, Chair, The Centre for Optimism.

“Crisis management planners need to ‘rethink’ the phase ‘back to normal’ or ‘business as usual’ and develop their strategies around how they can do better in their services, processes and procedures. This has now become the ‘trust building’ phase of crisis management. The old plans and thinking need to change. If we go back to the way things were, we will have lost the lessons.”

PRIME Awards 2020 call for entries – The only awards program dedicated to recognising excellence within Australian healthcare communications, is now open for entries.


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