The future that we will be
The four months of confinement and easing of restrictions until we have reached this new normal have undoubtedly been the most intense and strange in our lives. But the decisions that have been taken in just over four months will condition a substantial part of our professional and social future over the next ten years. Never has so much changed in such a short time or with so much uncertainty or intensity. It is many years, perhaps centuries, since we have felt so helpless, so fragile and probably so committed and supportive as now.
At LLYC we have summed up all these dilemmas that Covid-19 has left us with in two slogans that also have much in the way of a mantra: We are entering the era of the new normal; and we are at a turning point. We have just passed the turning point, that imaginary line when it is no longer possible to take a step back. We are entering a phase of new normal that is still a great question mark. No one knows for certain what it consists of or how to react to it. That is why it is so important to be proactive to this unknown reality. If you will allow me to refer to the play on words that is in the title to this article, we have to click on the fast forward button, and try to make out as far as we can, what the future holds for us after the pandemic.
We have dedicated this issue of the magazine UNO to this forecasting exercise. Participating in it are some of our clients who have in recent months displayed outstanding courage, originality, innovation, determination and transparency.
“Entrepreneurship has been vindicated. Many companies have generated empathy, proximity, emotion, adhesion and a sense of belonging”
Practically overnight they have found themselves faced by a real turning point. They have recognized the need to apply hitherto unknown structures and criteria, assigned a leading role and significance to communication, updated their corporate purpose and redefined their relations with customers and stakeholders. They have recognized the exceptional situation and demonstrated they are prepared to help; at the same time, they have asked for help and collaboration and have reinvented themselves as companies, as brands and also as social agents.
We also reflect on what is obviously a new role for companies. Over these months they have notably strengthened their social dimension. They have recognized and called for a much more active and coordinated role in the necessary economic recovery. We have learned a key lesson from past crises: don’t leave anyone behind. Companies will be inspected to the last detail to check whether or not they comply with these objectives. In exchange, they will have a greater capacity for dialog and much greater legitimacy than in previous periods. They will become a determining element for
Entrepreneurship has been vindicated. Many companies have generated empathy, proximity, emotion, adhesion and a sense of belonging reversing the disaffection with the institutions and even populism that are the legacy of the economic crisis of 2008.
The new normal has started with some territories clearly defined. The first and most important is health. Good health is no longer an assumption and a more or less polite desire; it is an urgent necessity and social demand. Society itself is the second territory. Values, consensus and convictions in our life together have suffered one of the greatest mutations in recent history. The scope and concept of democratic society itself has mutated. It must be reinforced, nurtured and reinvented quickly. It is no accident that within little more than a month two heads of Spanish banks have publicly asked for a new social contract and warned that agitation does not save lives or create jobs.
The corporate area is the third territory of the new normal. Entrepreneurship has been vindicated. Many companies have generated empathy, proximity, emotion, adhesion and a sense of belonging. They have assumed their role, acted with responsibility and established a new relationship with their shareholders, investors, professionals, customers and other stakeholders. In the future, profits will have much more meaning than a strict reference to the bottom line of an income statement.
The fourth territory is the intersection of the previous three: It is public-private partnership. We already mentioned some progress with respect to the COP25 in Madrid. The reversal of climate change, the circular economy, environmental commitment, sustainable energy and in general corporate social responsibility, had already taken a leading role. It will not take them long to recover and extend it.
The fifth territory is the result of the continued impact of the previous ones. Companies and their commitment lead to a new escalation for brands. Perhaps they are less aspirational and ideal, but they will undoubtedly be much more real, committed and participative.
The other territories of the new normal will come from a very different intersection: That formed by technology, particularly Big Data, the social media and citizens. If the social media have occasionally shown their worst face over these weeks, telework has been the great discovery of confinement. Many management values have reversed in only a few weeks of videoconferences that have been affected by families, unforeseen elements, complicity, attachment and commitment. It does not appear feasible simply to return to the previous routine; nor does taking a backward step in this respect.
The way of measuring behavior, taste and even desires will also change. The management of uncertainty will be another key aspect in the style guide for the new normal, as is the case with predictive capacity or much more open and participative systems for retaining talent. All this and more will be discussed in the following pages. I urge you to read them, to make them part of you and express yourself on them. The future of the new normal will be extremely open and will require everyone’s efforts. As tends to happen in the best stories, whether the fast forward takes us to the ideal destination will depend on the enthusiasm and conviction with which we undertake the journey.