• Tara Rethore

Welcome Back?

Updated: Oct 10

The Labor Day holiday in the US marks summer's symbolic end and a push to meet or exceed annual business targets in the remaining four months of the year.

Many of the executives I advise set their return to the office timeline to coincide with Labor Day. They see a natural symmetry in the transition from summer to fall. There’s a new rhythm and pace as students return to school, workers return to the office, and the seasons change. It's "normal".

On a recent episode of the Strategy & Leadership podcast, Anthony Taylor and I explored making your strategy work as you navigate new work norms and expectations resulting from significant, systemic shifts. In particular, we talked about the oft-spoken desire to return to normal - particularly at work.

Yet, is achieving “normal” sufficient – or even helpful - to meet objectives?

Early in the pandemic shutdown of 2020-2021, I asserted there was no such thing as a new normal. Further, as I shared with Anthony in this short video clip, focusing on return is a missed opportunity.

Return is about going back. By definition, going backward precludes moving forward. And it costs us the chance to learn from the experience.

Instead of simply returning to a way of working, thinking, or being, consider where you're heading (your destination or vision.) Then ask:

  • What is most helpful from the past to reignite?

  • What has lost its relevance?

  • What will serve you well and accelerate performance for the future?

The world has shifted, irrevocably. Making your strategy work requires future thinking.

Will you move forward or back?