Navigating to a New Normal

Navigating to a New Normal

As with so many of us, not a week goes by without me speaking with numbers of business owners about the challenges that confront us in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Such conversations have become part of the so-called, ‘new normal’ we are all adjusting to.  The commonplace reality of such conversations is blindingly obvious to us, I guess.  So why mention the obvious in this, the first blog post for the reinvented SPICE Framework website?  (

I suppose one reason is because, the changes so many businesses are facing in the tsunami of change brought on by corona virus have been evident for a long time.  As a business, we’ve been researching them and speaking for them since about 2010.  In fact, it was in 2013 that I attended an excellent professional development programme at Salford University entitled, ‘Innovation in Hard Times’.  I came across the course manual only yesterday, as I was carrying out an all too infrequent clear out of my office.  There the manual was, at the bottom of an untidy box of papers.  Leafing through it, I was reminded of a major theme in the programme, volatility.  I remember the programme leader speaking very persuasively about the need to build strategies for coping with volatility in rapidly changing business environments.  I remember sitting in the lecture theatre, already aware of talk of the so-called ‘VUCA World’ (more of this in future blogs) and feeling what was being shared was somehow prophetic; somehow predictive of the way the world was turning.  Little did we know then that the world would not only turn but tumble about on its axis, thrown askew by an unseen virus.

Leafing through the programme manual, it contains great material so many businesses would do well to take up and use in their response to the coronavirus pandemic, their response to the current levels of volatility in the business environment we all share.

Reflecting on what I have been reading, I am reminded, as has been the case on so many occasions in the past decade, we need to learn new lessons and unlearn others as we respond to the volatile environment that is ‘our new normal’.  This leads me on to one of the reasons for developing this new website, and to a metaphor I would share with you.

The metaphor relates to a change in language and thinking.  We’ll use, on the one hand the word ‘planning’ and on the other, to the word ‘navigating’.

Think about anticipating a journey.  The word planning is substantially about what is already known.  So maybe you will pack up food and clothing and organise travel arrangements.  Perhaps you’ll get out a map or search the journey you will take on-line.  I don’t know if you would agree with me, but planning is all about what is known.  So what happens if you don’t know where you are going.  Maybe you are going to set out to a new place no-one has been to before.  Whilst of course some planning will be needed, but the real skill will not be map reading, it will be navigation.  For map reading, along with planning is for the known world, the world others have travelled.  Navigation is about travelling into the unknown.  It requires different skills.

I’ll be writing in another blog about a story from the classics about the value of foresight over hindsight in uncertain times.  For now though, I would like to invite you to consider the skills and attributes required of a navigator setting out into a potentially volatile and uncertain environment.

We’ve developed our website, anticipating navigators, anticipating it might provide resources for people wanting to travel into new spaces and new experiences, however unwelcome.  We’ve used our experience and all we’ve learned over ten years to develop resources to help you navigate and to help you manage hard and volatile times.

I hope very much that you find our website interesting and that would you join us and work with us as we seek to support you develop your competencies as a navigator establishing our new normal.

Written by Michael Croft

May 28, 2020