Times have changed, but people haven’t.

Because so much has changed in the way we live and work it’s easy to lose sight of what hasn’t, and that’s what really matters.

Remote working, social distancing and Zoom fatigue have all become part of our professional lexicon over the past year or so, and with these new terms comes a nagging sense that much of what we accept as normal about our working lives has changed forever. The net result being a temptation for leaders and managers to tinker with processes, abandon long-term strategies and challenge everything they thought knew about their teams and how to optimise their performance. But this would be a mistake.

Because whatever business models need adapting, human needs and values remain largely unaltered and so should our focus on supporting our people to perform in extraordinary circumstances. We still need square pegs in square holes, clearly understood standards and the tools and training to achieve them. These are universal truths before, during and after COVID.

Human capital is still the biggest competitive advantage available to businesses of all sizes and it’s essential we don’t lose sight of that whilst navigating this sea of change.

Thankfully, human DNA has been hard-wired to perpetuate the survival of the species for thousands of years and, whilst devastating, COVID-19 is not the first major obstacle humanity has faced and nor will it be the last. We are naturally programmed to adapt and to evolve which, along with the sheer power of the human spirit, is why so many people have shown such amazing levels of resilience during this crisis. This needs to be recognised and, where appropriate, rewarded.

If managers and leaders can avoid becoming distracted by mechanics or preoccupied with delivery methods and focus solely on supporting the right behaviours, the right results will surely follow.

Let’s not forget, we are fundamentally social creatures. We choose to live and work where others live and work, and today will be a huge psychological step forward as we are allowed to act on our natural tendencies once again. Just remember that whatever business sector you’re in, it’s your people that make the difference and they need to be treated as if they do.