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Sometimes in history, or more simply in professional or private life, events occur with such a high impact that they leave behind a legacy. At every moment of crisis, of “decline”, there is always a settlement and a natural and innate attempt to return to normality. Very often, however, the new acquired normality is quite different to the previous one and if the event is low enough, one does not even realize the difference between before and after.
When, on the contrary, the event is sudden and the consequent change must be equally rapid, it is much easier to realize the differences between the old normal and the new normal.
2020 has been a master of the speed of change, and passing over the worst repercussions of this crisis for once, the question is:
“If it has to be a forced change and the new normal will still be different from the old normal, why not try to make it better as well as different?”
In the space of a few weeks, during the spring, millions of people found themselves experiencing a context never experienced before: the mixing of the professional bubble with the private one. For those who had never previously experienced work from home, agile work, work for objectives, it seemed like a playland: – Meetings in pajamas with the camera off – I work on the PC with the cat on my lap – No boss “sitting on the shoulders” to check every key pressed – No more traffic jams – etc.. With the exception of the time saved in unnecessary traffic jams, all the other alleged benefits have proved ephemeral if not counterproductive.
As the weeks passed, all the negative sides of such a profound change emerged: the loss of much of the non-verbal communication, the time to consolidate relationships with random and relaxed conversations, the realization that a child screaming in the background is not the best. during an important meeting. Finally, a trend that is as dangerous as it is wrong has become evident:
Time spent in smart working, or in remote work, has value only if it is full. Only if for every single moment of the day (and beyond) there is a scheduled appointment.
Nothing more wrong than this!
In a perverse mechanism of the illusion of control, being able to demonstrate that one is involved in an event in which other “witnesses” are also involved, has become the new “clock-in”. Therefore, predictable scenes have become frequent: – “Sorry for the delay but the previous call went overtime” – “Nice, nice, very interesting concept but we have to finish it next time because another video conference starts in 1 minute” – “..ck! Ah OK now it works, sorry but I was mute”
Leaving aside the countless lexical “rapes” and the superfluous use of English terms that have multiplied in recent months (mostly in Italy), the correct answers and considerations for the previous examples would be in order: – “Did it go long because whoever organized it did not correctly foresee the necessary time or because you were not very effective in discussing the points on the agenda? Was there an agenda?” – “If you think the concept is interesting, and next time we will take some time to get back to the thread, when do you think you can think independently and with a cool head on this concept?” – “Yes, I confirm, you have changed. You have transformed from professional to acrobat” (“Being on mute” in Italian is often translated, wrongly, with “mutato” which literally means “i’m changed”. A kind of freaky change like having 6 fingers per hand or like Robert Bruce Banner to Hulk. Ed.)
So what is the .55 Party?
- it is an attempt to make inevitable change even better
- it has free membership and encouraged circulation, there are no cards or fees to pay
- it is the good habit to improve the day for all people with a busy agenda
Yes, but what exactly is it?
By ideologically adhering to the .55 Party, one assumes the commitment, for all the meetings that he/she will organize (conf, call, confcall, videocall, videoconf, webconf, videocallwebconf, and any other possible diabolical combination) to fix the deadline at .55 instead of the exact time. 5 minutes may seem short to disconnect but in a succession of appointments throughout the day in those 5 minutes there can be a coffee, stretch your legs, a cigarette, other “activities that cannot be delegated to third parties”, collect the package that the courier has thrown into the garden…
To be effective it will have to be a habit adopted by as many people as possible (a bit like contact tracing apps…) but with one step at a time it can be an easy way to make an inevitable change better.
By the way, it’s 10.55, now I mute and disconnect!