208-376-1701 bryan@bryanyager.com

First a quote: “Normal is nothing more than a cycle on a washing machine.” – Whoopi Goldberg

A large portion of my consulting practice, over the years, has focused on helping people and organizations navigate change more productively and successfully. One of my most frequent observations about human behavior, during times of significant change, is a nearly universal desire for things to go “back to normal.” I see this as a normal human phenomenon for many, if not most, people.

During large scale organizational change initiatives (think mergers, acquisitions, down-sizings, major technology roll-outs, or restructuring initiatives) almost everyone desires an answer to the question, “When will this change be over?” It often seems the prevailing human mindset is, “Let’s get this change over with so that we can all go back to normal.”

Unfortunately, my experience suggests many well-intentioned leaders would be all too willing to answer that question with a specific time frame or date. I agree; people deserve to be informed and even involved in the creation of plans, timetables, milestones, and completion dates of a specific change. I also believe we do people a great disservice when we lead them to believe at some point we’ll be “finished” with change.

If you have read many of my missives over the past year, you will already know that I believe “going back to normal” is entirely the wrong goal.

I believe the world would be a better place if we (all of us) became more focused on “going forward to better.”

When I gaze into my not-so-clear “crystal ball,” I see change in the future as never-ending.  If we’re not green, growing, and changing, we’re turning brown, stagnate, dead or dying. This is as true for individuals as it is for communities, companies, and countries. If we’re not growing and changing as fast as the world around us, we’re falling behind.

So, here we are, with more and more news stories about the “light at the end of the tunnel” or “things returning to normal.”  Social distancing restrictions are being reduced in more and more places. Gyms and restaurants are allowing more guests. The airlines are returning more of their fleets to full service. Families are getting together and reconnecting in person in larger numbers. And, it seems companies everywhere are revisiting their “work from home,” or perhaps more accurately, their “return to the office” strategies.

Can more and more of us expect a return to normal soon? For me, it depends on your definition of normal. I like Whoopi’s definition: “Normal is nothing more than a setting on your washing machine.” I personally predict the normal, as we knew it a little over a year ago, will never be quite the same.

The following quote seems to apply here: 

“No man ever steps in the same river twice,
for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

– Heraclitus 

Our world is no longer the same world it was in January of 2020. Nor are we the same people. We all have a chance to shape our little corners of the world for the better. I invite you to join me.  Let’s not go back to normal, but forward to better!

Are you expecting to return to the office environment in the near future? Expecting other big changes soon?

Here are a few tips for your consideration:

How will you love, live, or lead differently, or better, this week?

PS: Sorry I missed you last week, I took time to celebrate Easter, family and my Dad’s 93rd birthday! Thanks for all who sent notes of concern. Meant a lot!  We are all doing great!


Bryan Yager

“Expanding Your Capacity for Success”

I would love your feedback! Click here for 60-second survey. Thank you!

Do you know someone who might benefit from this weekly leadership minute? If so, please feel free to pass along the subscription link below:

Click here to sign up for my weekly leadership message entitled Monday Morning Minute.

Bonus Quotes:

  • “Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow.” — Vincent van Gogh 
  • “Everyone is normal until you get to know them.” – Dave Sim 
  • “Normal is not something to aspire to, it’s something to get away from.” – Jodie Foster 
  • “If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.” – Maya Angelou