The New Normal. Everyone is talking about it. Once we figure out what it is, then we will need to get used to it. The expression reminds of us “The New Economy” that was talked up shortly before the year 2000. We all know how that worked out. Personally, I’m hoping for a return to the Old Normal.
Regardless of the outcome, there will be changes. Hugging strangers may be out, social distancing will remain to some degree. We will likely pay more attention to viruses and vaccines.
Here’s a list of ten behaviors I hope will return:
1. Working in offices. The BBC recently reported James Gorman, the head of Morgan Stanley made the case: “If you can go to a restaurant in NYC, you can return to the office.”
Rationale: Assuming minimal health risks, working together means collaboration, spontaneous exchanges of ideas, building relationships, mentoring, teambuilding and pride in the firm.
2. Face to face client meetings. We’ve all gotten pretty good at video conferences, but the human element of sitting across from someone helps develop the bond. Someone traveled somewhere to meet with someone. It shows interest and commitment.
Rationale: Meeting in person lets you learn about their surroundings, meet their spouse and children, pick up on verbal clues and hesitancy that can be missed on a video call.
3. Lunches and drinks with colleagues and clients. When you share food and drink, both parties are sitting on the same level, considering each other as equals. Dining together is a form of sharing.
Rationale: People relax and open up when there’s food around.
5. Overseas travel. We aren’t there yet. Foreign borders should eventually reopen. People will be comfortable on planes and cruise ships. Talking about travel is a good way to develop common ground with HNW individuals.
Rationale: Some of our greatest friendships, along with some of the unlikeliest, have been made while traveling on vacation. We’ve kept in touch regularly through the pandemic.
6. Concerts and outdoor activities. Can you remember the last time you picnicked in a park, listening to music while watching fireworks? Dis you have a good time? Were you alone or did you assemble a group?
Rationale: Outdoor events are an ideal way to get to know people better, meet their friends and make new ones.
7. Fundraising galas. Many charities do event based fundraising. People buy tickets to attend an event, knowing a portion of the ticket price furthers the mission of the organization. 2020 was a washout for these groups, yet their expenses and previous commitments still needed to be covered.
Rationale: You are supporting a good cause while having a great time. In addition, these events tend to draw high profile people, providing an opportunity to meet them.
8. Getting back to the gym. Yes, I can bicycle at home. I now know why dumbbells were in short supply. I miss my gym buddies who provided encouragement, especially on dark and rainy mornings.
Rationale: People go to the gym for more than just exercise. It has it’s social component too.
9. Warehouse sales. Ok, there’s no business connection to the financial services industry. There’s a thrill to maneuvering through crowds after standing on line outside for a long time.
Rationale: Yes, you can buy everything you want on the Internet, but warehouse sales provide the thrill of treasure hunting.
10. Holiday parties. There are many reasons December has it’s festive feel. One is the series of parties you might attend, the dinner parties you host and the community events you enjoy.
Rationale: Big parties provide the opportunity to catch up with people you know, but have fallen off your radar screen.
11. Religious services at full capacity. Houses of worship were closed. Then they reopened at limited capacity. Everyone wore masks. Singing was off the agenda. Things are gradually coming back to normal.
Rationale: Religious institutions are often at the heart of the community. They bring people together, regardless of status, age or wealth, under one roof.
Yes, I realize some things will change. The pandemic has made me realize there were plenty of advantages the Old Normal provided. I didn’t realize it until they were taken away. We need to return to interacting with people again. Plus, there’s business opportunities in most these examples.