The Next New Normal

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Anticipated Lessons From Our Pandemic Experience…

As a leader, it is critical to ‘be present’ and address the situation at the moment. However, solid leadership also requires mindfulness toward the expected lessons learned after the crisis is over. Demands on our attention concerning global public health naturally seem to be focused on global impact and solutions, local government leaders can not let themselves get too distracted from things that are within their scope of influence and control. 

The following is an early estimate of significant shifts that local governments may need to make on the other side of this crisis:

  1. Demand for digital meetings. Many communities are experimenting with public meetings conducted via video conference. Once residents realize they can participate in their community without scheduling themselves to be physically present, they will expect it.
  2. Emergency preparedness planning. Emergency planning is inherently difficult to accomplish because it is almost impossible to anticipate details about an emergency. However, regardless of how effective emergency plans are during the event, once people have experienced a crisis environment (like the one we have now) they will expect leaders to put a plan in place.
  3. Essential / nonessential employees. When a crisis event has a short timeline, people tend to endure and forget. However, an event that sends huge shock waves through an organization’s workforce will likely require a careful look at the value creation of each position.
  4. Outdoor recreation amenities. All communities have seen the demand for parks and trails substantially increase because of the interest in no-cost, healthy outlets for individuals and families. 
  5. Capital improvements planning. The federal government’s economic stimulus solutions to these types of situations will likely include funding for infrastructure projects. Those communities that are ‘shovel ready’ will benefit the most, and the way to get there is to have current infrastructure master plans.

On the other side of this event, it will be essential that local government leaders avoid becoming “generals that are preparing to fight the war that just ended”. Indeed, no one knows for certain what is going to change because of this crisis, but it is clear that because of the widespread impact on everyone, there will be shifts that will need to be made. 

We want to hear your thoughts! Please send them to: [email protected]

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