There is no going back to how it ‘used to be’

Nostalgia is a trickster. It will tell you how much better things used to be, easier, all sunshine and four-leaf clovers. It will say it will be better when everything goes back to how it used to be.

Nostalgia is wrong. 

There is no going back

We can’t go back. There will never be going back. We physically cannot unless you have been hiding a time machine in your garage. (If you have, let me know. I have a proposition.) 

Look at everything we have navigated and endured. There have been some hard lessons and vital pivots. We have talked to people that have been launched out of the career they thought they were going to have and companies that had to drag their teams through a steep learning curve. 

It’s easy for many of us to feel like we have barely made it. Every day seems to bring another layer to the chaos.

Let’s acknowledge what we have accomplished in spite of it. Most important, let’s prepare to keep marching forward!

How do you keep winning forward?

  • Don’t settle for “Good.” Anything less than great isn’t going to help your organization recover. Boom or bust, it has been stressful as the markets have thrashed all over the place. Give your employees the opportunity to rise to the occasion. 
  • Don’t relax. Your people are tired, but breaks are hard to come by. Cascade your strategic plans down through the whole company.
  • Don’t fear the unknown. Covid taught us that some mad pivots can’t be forecast. That’s a lesson we can take to heart without letting it paralyze anyone’s efforts. Set focus areas. Develop those goals. And most important: Execute! 
  • Do prepare to pivot. Focus areas and goals may change for some (or all) individuals in your organization throughout the course of the year. Don’t set it and forget it. Managers should meet with their team members at least quarterly to review progress updates on all goals. Those dedicated opportunities to connect and adapt are invaluable.  
  • Do give yourself quality tools. My grandpa used to say that half of doing a good job was having the right tools for it. Without them, things can get… messy. Time is wasted. Resources are down the drain. You deserve to have what you need to make your life easier and give your workforce the best chances for success. Remember that tools are more than gadgets and gizmos we give the employees to do a job. The mind is the most valuable of all tools. You have talented employees right now with a mind for coaching. Sharpen those tools.


  • Do start (or keep) coaching. Your employees will be more productive, engaged, and invested through coaching. Get a system in place that will help you guide your performance management in a way that communicates what you need from them, empowers them to own their accomplishments, increases overall capabilities, and tracks all of it throughout the process. 

Gary Markle is speaker, consultant, author and CEO of Catalytic Coaching, Inc., and is an investor and business partner at Energage, a Philadelphia-based employee survey firm. Energage is The Washington Post’s partner for Top Workplaces.

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