Habit Change at Pandemic Speed
Four hours, four weeks, four years, forty years. How long does it take for you to change? The more time we spend in this new online collaborative operating environment, the more it becomes part of our operating system. We are changing right before our eyes!
We usually are slow to change how we do things. We are even more reluctant to change how we work, meet, and deliver service to each other. Unless we are forced, we don’t change.
The pandemic forced us to change. It forced us to work, meet, and serve using online video tools. We thought it was weird at first. But with each day that passes, it is becoming less so. Now this is normal.
I see it.
The new technology platform is the online community.
Here is a list of the tech platforms I worked on and made money from in my lifetime. Each provided opportunities to start and build multi-billion dollar businesses.
The mini computer
The personal computer
Networking and client-server
The cell phones using iOS or Android
The online community was always there but not really used. There was a cultural barrier. When we work together, we must be together. We insisted on this. Sure, we would use products like Slack to “collaborate,” but we used it as a better alternative to email.
But this pandemic changed it all.
We now collaborate using the best online tools we can find. We have accepted working remotely. We’ve accepted seeing each other on video when we talk. In fact, we may come to prefer it.
When I get up in the morning, I now think about my first meeting. This dictates when I have to shower and shave, even though I’m working from home. Now it is just how I operate.
The other day I had a meeting participant share his observations on the other participants in the video conference.
He said, “You, Charlie, one-upped me with your background. John, you look like you are dressed to play golf. Mike seems to be settled into his kitchen.”
I didn’t take it as judging us. I took his comments in the spirit of better connecting us through his observations. He lowered the barrier to connectedness by telling us what he saw and how it made him feel.
Companies are aiming to be the standard.
Zoom became the inter-business video conferencing standard overnight.
Microsoft Teams is aiming to be the new work video standard.
FaceTime for Apple and Duo for phone are competing to be the personal video standard.
The internet and phone platforms connected us. These online community products allow us to work together seamlessly from anywhere. This brings a whole new level of productivity and efficiency.
No more travel.
No more conference rooms.
No more security.
No more disease transmission.
Just collaboration and productivity.
We are learning the rules for this new remote collaborative environment. The next cultural barrier is overcoming presence. Will we accept not being present? Do we need closeness? Do we need to touch, shake hands, hug? Do we need to look into another person’s eyes to connect? How do we network with large groups of video attendees? Can I really meet new people this way and make friends?
The other night, Kathy and I hosted a video dinner party. It was a lot of fun. Everyone had to show up on time with their meal in front of them. We made sure we had a comforting background and sat right next to each other. My computer was in front of us. And right there (on my laptop) was my son and my niece. Great time.
Last night I received an Evite from my daughter for a video birthday party for my grandchild. The event was specifically for video conferencing. It was clear when reading it. No explanation was necessary. It was normal.
I suspect there is some level of presence that is necessary.
For me, family and friends must be in person. I can not imagine this any other way. Video is not a good substitute now, even during this forced isolation. But work?
Our presence at work will be less necessary the longer we work remotely. There will be a tipping point even in overcoming this need. When this happens, much of our society and economy will change as we now know it. And I don’t know what that means.
As these products become more embedded in the way we communicate, other products will be built around them. This will be the next tech platform to build on. There will be many new businesses working in all the major industry markets—education, government, healthcare, media, construction, etc. The point is, every industry will be impacted by the online community.
The new rule will be, “If we can do it online, then we should do it online.”
In business, economics and efficiencies always win in the end. This assumes we can overcome inbuilt culture. And this pandemic is defeating culture.
Talk about cultural change.
If the Masters Golf Tournament is played in November instead of April, then the new normal is shaping up to be pretty interesting.