By now, I’m certain that many of us have repeatedly read sayings along the line of ‘don’t let a good crisis go to waste’, ‘use COVID-19 as an opportunity to make lasting change’, and ‘coping in the new normal environment’, and so on.

Over the course of the last few months, I’ve been reminded of a management concept learnt at a conference some years ago – it’s the ‘ctrl alt delete’, or CAD, concept. The idea is about being prepared to reset one’s thinking pattern when lacking clarity of thought. It takes courage and conviction but, over time, it can become second nature.

Using the CAD concept, some of the lessons I’ve learnt throughout the pandemic period to date and which are enabling me to thrive in the new normal include:

  • The importance of being resilient and reminding myself of my purpose. At times, it meant making some hard decisions and backing my own judgement
  • To keep embracing new ideas, trialling them and failing fast
  • The importance of practising gratitude and mindfulness.

At an operational level, our audit business has also been able to apply some of these lessons over recent weeks, including:

  • We were able to activate our remote working protocols with minimal disruption and went from doing 30 per cent of our work remotely to 100 per cent, without impacting our capacity to service clients
  • We refined our audit administration function to incorporate the use of overseas staff from the HLB Mann Judd Fiji office in an effort to counter the negative impact of being unable to bring in overseas secondees during the peak season
  • We accelerated our push to digitise our suite of workflow procedures to assist with training and maintaining audit quality
  • We increased our workplace wellbeing and health initiatives in better supporting our ability to effectively work from home.

The new normal will not resemble what we were all used to, which is a daunting predicament for many. But, it’s also an opportunity for leaders to further shape the future of work, business and family life.

This article was published in the 2020 Winter edition of Financial Times.