In my last article, I explored the word RESPOND.  It is a word that felt like it needed space, time and a calm pace to consider. 

The word this week is RESET. This word feels like it has a very different energy, it feels a sharper word with firm edges and in my mind, it is almost an onomatopoeia.

When I have been thinking about the concept of Reset in the context of how we are living through COVID-19 my mind runs around thinking of all the analogies that feel a good fit. Reset the clock is the one that I keep coming back to and this right now seems to be so accurate for our business.

We often look for ways to find comfort in the future that looks and feels like the old world we have come from, and for those that are looking into the future with dark glasses on, they will be eager to concertina the last three months back in on themselves and reset their lives back as if nothing has changed.  But the reality is that the Reset we are facing is a Hard Reset. The old playbook has been thrown out of the window and we are facing virgin territory. This is a blank canvas and we will have to imagine a whole new world, one where the art of the possible is the norm and the only thing that holds us back is our creativity and imagination.

I recently stumbled on an old article by Ian Davis from McKinsey & Company. It was written 11 years ago in the middle of the global financial crisis.  The quote that stuck out was this: The question is, ‘What will normal look like?’ While no one can say how long the crisis will last, what we find on the other side will not look like the normal of recent years.” How apt are those words today? What we imagined to be a global disaster at that point could possibly shrink into insignificance in the history books when we consider the impact of what we are living through globally today. 

All of a sudden, the unfamiliar is familiar and we are much more comfortable with this way of living and being.

I am keenly aware of how our perspective can change very swiftly. We have all seen how what was once considered impossible has become the norm. So many organisations 6 weeks ago would have said working from home was impossible and that it would take arduous planning, team consultation, scenario planning, time and money that they didn’t have, to even contemplate implementing such a bold idea.  But the fact that there was no choice in the matter, as people’s lives depended on us all working from home, focuses attention like nothing else and wonders never cease to amaze, but we have witnessed the perceived impossible become possible. 

It is also really interesting that even in just a few weeks, of ‘working from home’ we have rapidly adapted to this modus operandi without too much emotional opposition, there have maybe been some technical adjustments along the way but no real drama.  All of a sudden, the unfamiliar is familiar and we are much more comfortable with this way of living and being. Our brain synapses have created new neural pathways and we have formed new habits, and as creatures of habit, many of us are feeling, dare I say it a little less stressed and more ourselves.

Darwin didn’t talk about the survival of the fittest, he talked about the survival of the most adaptable.  Resetting our thinking about what we are capable of doing next will emotionally prepare us to survive in the future, be it an innovation revolution or a mindset revolution there is no denying it has been a hard reset of our perceptions about what is possible.

So, when we are thinking about how we Reset our thinking here are some tips that may help

Finally, my challenge to us all is to think about how you could reset and ultimately reinvent your organisation, making the most of the insights you have made over the last weeks.  Those leaders that are open to radical change will be much more likely to succeed the next iteration of business life. We all need to think the unthinkable, we can’t rely solely on our past reference points. We have experienced the art of the possible which has given me hope, hope that if we do think the unthinkable and act boldly, we can thrive and not just survive. The Reset button has been pressed and this has been a Hard Reset. 


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