COVID-19 has exposed the fallacy of dealing with life as “predictable.” While the virus has laid bare the fact that the future is completely uncertain, people still cling to the fallacy of “getting back to the way it was.” But as the great American writer Thomas Wolfe powerfully pointed out in his book, “You Can’t Go Home Again,” there is no going back in life. There never has been and there never will be. In fact, it is the illusion that we can, should, need to be, “going back” that robs us of our true power.
The illusion is universal and pervasive. When times are bad like now, people want to go back to the way it was (i.e., “normal times”). But even in good times folks pine for the “good old days” (which generally weren’t all that good.)
In Vanto Group’s global consulting engagements, our clients have been most effective in dealing with the current reality when their leaders confront the truth that there is no going back. When they see this illusion as an illusion, something astounding happens. It calls forth a massive resourcefulness, a resourcefulness that would not be needed if the past could return. However, we find that when leaders look forward into uncertainty, it calls forth the creativity and drive necessary to conquer the current reality being faced. After our clients give up trying to go back, they become like the Allies after the events of Dunkirk and Pearl Harbor.
There is no going back, there is only going forward.
Letting go of the yearning to “go back” is what gives us the power needed to create a future. A future we can commit to. A future we can stand for. In doing so, we can unleash the power, strength, and imagination which has always been at the source of human survival and development.
“You start out with one thing,
and end up with another,
and nothing is like it used to be,
Not even the future."
Rita Dove, Poet Laureate Consultant to the Library of Congress
Steve Zaffron, co-author of the best-selling book “The Three Laws of Performance”, Founder of the Vanto Group, one of Forbes’ “America’s Best Management Consulting Firms 2020 “
Gregory Unruh, Ph.D., Arison Professor of Values Leadership, George Mason University, Guest Sustainability Editor, MIT Sloan Management Review
Vanto Group is a global consulting firm distinguished by the extraordinary track record of our clients. We partner with clients from the private, public and non-profit sectors to address their most critical challenges and transform their organizations.
Our customized and proprietary approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of high performance with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. We embed the desired and necessary behaviors, processes and practices with our clients’ organizations, enabling them to achieve unprecedented levels of results with coordinated action, commitment and velocity. These new levels of performance and competitive advantage are both unprecedented and sustainable. Founded in 1992, Vanto Group is a private company with 16 offices in 9 countries.
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