Enough of the 'New Normal' -- What About Old Values?

The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Enough already with every crisis of the quarter, shift of the market and global upset being called the "new normal."

Who started that phrase anyway?

The term, "new normal" has been attributed to technology investor, Roger McNamee, at a January, 2002 Fast Company magazine event. At the time he described the "new normal" as a time of solid opportunity to focus on great ideas and great execution in the midst of a changing globally competitive landscape.

As with most business phrases in our society, they soon tire from over usage. Such is the term "new normal." While fitting to describe any period of drastic change, this observer fears it is a very scary place because it can change too many rules of acceptable behavior, decency, accountability and reverence.

The "new normal." Is it "new?" Sure in the sense of different threats and opportunities and/or increased degrees of threats and opportunities.

Is it normal? Yes and no.

Yes, change is normal. No, because it creates disruption, confusion, complexity that threatens traditional thinking and behavior and tempts anarchy against traditional values.

There has always been a "new normal." It came with the advent of new lifestyle alternatives, public policies, economic shifts, war and civil unrest, technological innovation, socio-psycho-demographic changes, etc.

From my Boomer generation, the end of the Vietnam War, returning troops and all that came with it was a "new normal."

The assassinations of John and Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King and the violence and changes of the civil rights movement ushered in a "new normal."

The rise of unions in corporate America brought in a "new normal."

The transitions in management theory and style continue to usher in "new normals" in business.

Dysfunctional and/or absence of parenting, prescription drugging of children, and violence exploited as entertainment brought on a phenomena of children killing children and suicides which in turn gave us a "new normal" of metal detectors and law enforcements in schools.

So-called sex education curricula, presidential misconduct coverage, sexploitation in the media, and severely inappropriate dealings with child pedophilia and Internet pornography and chat rooms has brought about a "new normal" which continues to lower the age at which a child is still innocent.

Foreign and domestic terrorism ushered in an acceptable new level of security, fear, and awareness that evil has access to the heretofore strongest, most impenetrable countries and settings.

Media scrutiny and 24/7 information access has introduced to a "new normal" of leaders in all walks of life and their personal and scandalous deeds.

The digital age has brought us to whole generations who cannot hand write, speak, or be confident in relating face-to-face. This has created a "new normal" that make effective communications, service and everyday civility a struggle for employers.

In other words, any shift in thinking, behavior, and/or societal beliefs is enough to radically change many's approach to everyday life, business, etc. -- so much so as to redefine what "normal" or traditionally viewed was.

While terms help us to categorize and compartmentalize things, they seldom help us to understand or deal with the situation any better. In fact, this observer thinks it obfuscates the issue(s) and/or abdicates any responsibility or hope of "fixing it."

In other words, this is the "new normal" so accept it, throw out old values, thinking, skills, etc. and find new ones -- or worse yet -- let's assume we simply start over with whatever seems most efficient or easiest.

This often results in a "new abnormality" of rationalization, complacency or corruption. It is best summed up in a "Well, what are you gonna do?" approach.

Whether appeasement, laissez faire, or just plain "ignorance is bliss," this cannot be productive to the long-term sustainability of a person, family, community, firm, country or civilization.

Rome was an enviable power that went through so many "tipping points" and "new normals" that it fell under the weight of its own debauchery, lethargy, and abdication of noble values of productivity and governance.

Here are 10 business success rules that still apply in the "new normal:"

1. People buy from People.

2. People buy Trust.

3. Reputation is Brand is Reputation.

4. Sustained Values Create Sustainability.

5. Nice still matters.

6. Follow up/Follow through guarantees profitability.

7. Prioritized focus trumps everything.

8. Good people always have options.

9. Nothing is Worth Everything.

10. The most advanced technology is the human mind linked with spirit and integrity.

Innovation, resilience and success begin and end with a defined set of beliefs and values that direct your decision-making and daily actions.

There are no new rules to growing sustainable businesses, profits, or anything of worth except the old rules of hard work, honest dealings, perseverance, and risk-taking.

The key to succeeding in the "new normal" is still abiding by the "old values."

This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

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