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Clearview® Performance Systems brings you ... ® ... a Culture of Results & Engagement®

Here's the next in our series of weekly managerial TIPS (Techniques, Insights, and Practical Solutions)
to help you better engage your team in the activities that lead to higher performance.

CORE Bites Issue #73
(May 5, 2020)

Are You Longing for the Day We Get Back to Normal?

According to Google's Coronavirus Search Trends, the search phrase, "Will life ever be normal again?" spiked dramatically during this past week as discussions start turning toward a gradual re-opening of the economy. Sadly, but understandably, the phrase, "Will life ever be sane again?" was also a frequent search request.

I'm sure you'll agree, both are reasonable questions.

But while I understand (and appreciate) the cognitive rationale behind these questions, let me take off my psychologist cap for a second and venture into the realm of the anthropologist to grapple with a phrase that I find very disconcerting. The phrase I'm referring to is "New Normal."

Anthropology is the scientific study of human behavior and past societies with a focus on patterns of behavior and cultural meaning, including norms and values. And—as it relates to the notion that there will be a "new normal" when this current challenge is over—anthropological studies have shown there isn't really such a thing. There is only ... "Normal."

Now, before you argue that many things are bound to change as a result of the coronavirus outbreak (the "new"), let me point out that while the idea of "normal" is comforting, normal is nothing more than a feeling of control. We are creatures of habit. And normalcy—defined as routines, habits, structure, practices, or simple frameworks—provide a sense of control that is challenged when life is turned completely upside down (as it is today). Things change over time, and while these changes might be "new" to our way of doing things, they're really part of the evolutionary journey called life.

One of the most admirable traits about humans is our ability to adapt. Over several millennia, the human species has dealt with many, many, many challenges and we persevered. How? In every case, once a new threat or vulnerability was exposed, our intellect and ingenuity figured it out ... and we marched onward. Life is a series of changes—some small; some big. And we may grumble and complain; we may lament about the way things were. But given time, no matter what situation we find ourselves in, we adjust.


You are leading during a time of crisis. If "normal" is nothing more than a feeling of control, then your leadership focus—especially now—needs to be on the routines, practices and habits that create a sense of stability and safety and, ultimately, provide some feeling of control for each individual on your team.

High Value Activity (HVA) Action Steps

With new routines forced upon us that revolve around stay-at-home mandates and moving from in-person interactions to mostly virtual ones, everyone feels like "normal" has been completely turned upside down. This week (starting today), pay attention to derailing thinking-patterns that may exist on your team and provide a contextual (putting things in perspective) rewrite. The HVA below will give you some structure for this discussion:

Taking Back Control: During any crisis, it's natural that people will feel fear. But there's a healthy level of fear and an unhealthy one. Fear becomes unhealthy when people let their emotions dictate their behavior, instead of taking a more rational approach. Unfortunately, 24x7 television and Internet COVID-19 sensationalism only serves to exacerbate the level of fear people have. To help an individual reduce unhealthy fear and regain control, there are two excellent 'choice-domains' you can suggest/recommend (choose the one that most closely aligns with what you know of this person's personality and temperament and where he/she is emotionally/intellectually at this point of time):

  • LEARNING Domain: The guiding principles for an individual within this domain are: 1) Stop obsessively consuming things that harm me, from news to food; 2) Verify all information before 'believing' it or sharing it; 3) Start letting go of things that are out of my control; 4) Identify when my emotions are tied to my decision-making (and rethink my position based on a logical, rational approach); and 5) Make myself aware of the situation-at-hand and think about the best way to act (thereby eliminating herd mentality).
  • GROWTH Domain: The guiding principles for an individual within this domain are: 1) Find a purpose; 2) Think of how I can help others (use my skills to service others in need); 3) Live in the present with an optimistic focus on the future; 4) Do the things that keep myself emotionally happy; 5) Seek ways to adapt to the changing landscape; 6) Practice gratefulness, calmness, patience; and 7) Work on relationships with the people around me who matter the most.

I'd love to hear how these HVAs work for you!

Neil Dempster, PhD, MBA
RESULTant™ and Behavioral Engineer

Quote of the Week

"The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence - it is to act with yesterday's logic."

— Peter Drucker —