Understandably there’s been a lot of time and effort invested in changing business models, systems, processes, people, marketing… pretty much everything, as a consequence of the pandemic.
This will continue as the next normal becomes clearer and closer – (we’re not there yet, we’re still in the awkward bit in the middle) – but whatever the future brings there’s much that will continue from the old normal and one set of things in particular that should always be kept front of mind when considering making a change.
Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, introduced me to the difference between Principles and Values. Principles are constant, they exist whether you’re aware of them or not. Values are selected and most often are based on one’s beliefs. The difference is important because if your values clash with principles there will only be one winner in the long run.
From the perspective of business in the next normal I suggest it’s worth keeping these seven clusters of principles in mind.
1. You are in charge of you. You always have options. You are free to choose. You are responsible for the choices you make.
2. Everything is created twice. You imagine it before you plan and create it. The better your imagination, the more likely you are to create something remarkable.
3. Time is finite. There will always be things to do. How you invest your time will determine the results you get.
4. All long term, highly effective relationships require mutual benefit. If a relationship is too one sided, for too long, it will not be mutually beneficial and therefore will not be as effective as it could be.
5. Effective prescription requires effective diagnosis. Effective diagnosis results from asking the right questions – and properly listening to the answers.
6. Two or more highly effective people will achieve more together than each could on their own.
7. You must invest in production capability in order to maximise output. If you never service a machine it will, in time, perform less well and eventually will break. (The same principle applies to people).
There are countless principles, or natural laws as I like to think of them. Many politicised societies, religions, social structures, industry sectors, companies and even families and individuals try to go against them by choosing instead values of their own creation.
If not immediately, in time these become exposed for what they are – fundamental flaws. So as you navigate through these choppy waters and try to imagine what the future in your world will look like, please keep in mind that natural laws will always prevail and it’s these principles that should form the bedrock of all your decisions.
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