10 tips to build a great company in the “new normal”

By Sigurd Granmark, All In

As businesses step into a post-coronavirus future, a great company culture is what's going to separate the winners from the losers. In this article you'll find ten operational and cultural tips that you can implement, to start your journey as a successful company transitioning into the “new normal”.

Employee; “I'd much rather work from home by myself, than at the office with you guys.”
Leader; “Great! Good call. Keep up the good work.”

Since you've read the dialogue above during a pandemic, the conversation between an employee and her/his leader might seem both reasonable and understandable. But this article is about the “new normal” and how to navigate towards a post-coronavirus future. And to do that, it's imperative that leaders take action today, having a pro-active approach as opposed to just sit around and see what happens.

Over the past decade, me and my colleagues in All In have studied and analyzed more than 1.000 companies. The ongoing discussion about how and where we're going to work when we transition into the “new normal,” is a classical case study on how private and public sector are approaching an organizational challenge.

Businesses today are very much focusing on how to optimize what appears to be best fit solutions to "new" challenges flourishing as a consequence to the pandemic that we're facing (in this case: working from home). But by doing that, the solutions they come up with are actually a consequence of the problem, and not necessarily the best solution of the problem.

Sigurd_BgPicture: Sigurd is one of the most sought-after speakers in Norway on topics such as culture, organization, management and digitization.

Globally we see statements from companies of all sizes, telling us that their employees see themselves being more effective, focused and even more happy working from home. The classical approach to this challenge for companies today is trying to find a long-term solution for home offices to keep our employees exactly that; effective, focused and happy. But, it's an interesting observation that companies are concluding a long-term solution, based on a short-term experience, in a global crisis where staying home is recommended.

Now, imagine that we're now post pandemic, and that this is in fact the “new normal.” Then please read the conversation between the employee and her/his leader again;

Employee; “I'd much rather work from home by myself, than at the office with you guys.”
; “Great! Good call. Keep up the good work.”

Remember that organizational development and changes affect us individually, and not in teams and spreadsheets. What did you feel reading it this time? Was the employee being impolite? No, she just stated the actual consequence and reality of a “more effective, focused and happy” home office culture.

And she probably will be exactly that…. in a short-term perspective. But if we look at it in a long-term perspective, the long-term solution definitely isn't to stay at home and use technology to communicate with other humans. We need technology for our companies to survive, but we won't survive without humanity.

We've got this all wrong. The problem isn't the employee or the home office. The actual problem is that employees would rather be working from home by themselves than at the office with their colleagues. The problem is the office. Fix the problem and a new solution will present itself!

The solution is to build a great company where people would rather go to the office than stay at home. A great company is a place where human, financial and sustainable growth is achieved. This will create a highly effective, focused and happy organization in a long-term perspective. The solutions are attached to the problem, as opposed to being a consequence of it.

Trust the human needs and fundamentals in business. In the "new normal," a great company culture what will separate the winners from loser. Below you'll find five operational and cultural tips that you can implement to start your journey to become a successful company transitioning into the “new normal.”


1) Have fun and be playful. Everything is easier when you have fun, and it starts with the leaders of the company. Don't be vain!

2) Meet each other to influence in a positive way, not to impress one another. Having a great company culture is when we come home to our families being better than when we left. Yes, that is possible.

3) Focus on internal development, not change and motivation. People prefer to evolve rather than to change. People who continuously develop are motivated.

4) Build an organization around the people that want to be there. Fix the problem.

5) Health will be a competitive advantage for nations, companies and employees. Make their life better by creating endless energy. Serve healthy food, mandatory training, bonuses for healthy/climate choices to and from work, sleep courses and mental training. In 2020 the only “vaccine” for Covid-19 is good health.


6) Set crystal clear qualitative and quantitative targets for the company, departments and for every employee. Make sure that the goals make the world a better place.

7) Be employee driven. Let the employees themselves describe the best way to achieve her/his goals. Your job is to facilitate and secure that they maximize their time on goal driven tasks. If you want engagement; ask questions.

8) Make sure that you add maximum value for the customer or receiver of your products and/ or services. Measure external impact, not internal effort.

9) Set a limit for the maximum number of internal meetings per week (8?). 100% of the meetings should have an agenda and a clear goal. 50% of the meetings should be scheduled for 30 minutes or less. Maximum 20% of them should be longer than one hour. Remember that we want people to look forward to coming to the office.

10) Be as flexible as possible to everything that involves time and place. Let the achievement of the goal, and the value for your customers and colleagues, be the performance indicator. And go All In to make sure that the indicators are great.

Join Steve Wozniak, Erin Meyer, Alex Osterwalder, Francesca Gino, and many others, September 29-30 at Oslo Business Forum 2021: Rethinking Business