“Here at Dal and here in the Rowe School of Business, we are embracing creativity and adjusting to what will be a new normal for management. We are pivoting, not just our academic courses to a post-COVID-19 new normal. We are also pivoting our research, our ways of working together, and our ways of thinking about work and organizations.”
Dr. James Barker
In February of 2020, our world changed. And we have all experienced that change together in the COVID-19 pandemic. A change that has affected everything that we do. How we conduct ourselves with each other, how we work, how we learn. Everything has been shaped, everything has been moved, everything is different. Words that maybe only a few of us had heard before like, Zoom, Teams, enhanced collaboration – even TikTok – are now part of our work vocabulary and work lives. We have brought so many new elements into our workplace in the last five months as we all have struggled to adapt to a situation none of us has ever experienced.
We like to use the words, “the new normal” to talk about how life is going to be different and will remain different after the pandemic. What is important for us, as we think about organizations, as we think about our businesses, is to start to understand what that new normal is, what it means for us, and how we move with it, especially how we engage in that new normal positively and effectively.
We learned quickly within the pandemic that we faced a constant push of new knowledge out to us all, from knowledge about social distancing, face masks, and about how to work together on-line: How to be more present in virtual meetings. How to dress for a virtual negotiation. How to lean into the camera when you want to make a point during on-line collaboration. Steadily and surely, we are beginning to learn how to make our new normal more productive for us.
With that thought in mind, I want you to know that here at Dal and here in the Rowe School of Business, we are embracing creativity and adjusting to what will be a new normal for management. We are pivoting, not just our academic courses to a post-COVID-19 new normal. We are also pivoting our research, our ways of working together, and our ways of thinking about work and organizations.
Just to speak for myself, much of what I have done in the last five months has been changing the pharmacy safety research that I do to account for the new normal of community pharmacy in Canada: identifying and assessing how our pharmacists can effectively and safely navigate the changes wrought by COVID-19. Here in the Rowe School and the Faculty of Management, we are actively learning how to manage in this new normal and continually working to feed that knowledge back to you. You will see this new knowledge, not just in the classes that you are taking, you will see it in our research reports and presentations, workshops and blog posts, everything from now on is going to be shaped by Covid19 and focused on what we can learn from our experience with the pandemic.
We are also rapidly identifying, assessing, and making available to you other emerging knowledge that you can use to navigate your own new normal of work. And we are collaborating with our peers around the world to ensure that we can move useful knowledge out to you quickly. Dal MBA students who have recently taken our Management Skills course will know the work of Phil Clampitt from the University of Wisconsin. Phil sent me a copy of his latest thinking about how to manage in the Post-COVID-19 organization for me to include for you in this post: Phil Clampitt Seven Lessons Learned from COVID-19.
Experiencing and engaging within the last five months has been a struggle for all of us. We are all struggling together. The pandemic has shown how closely interconnected, interrelated and interdependent we all are. How much our ability to cope with this pandemic depends upon how we deal effectively with that interrelatedness, interdependedness, and interconnectedness so that we can move forward, so that we can shift and address the potentialities of our movement, so that we move in a positive direction. As you go forward in your own navigating of the new normal, remember that here at Dal and at the Rowe School and Faculty of Management, we are working hard with you and to support you in that forward movement.
Editor’s Note: First published August 11, 2020