Business as Usual

Charlene Norman
3 min readFeb 12, 2024

Business as usual is an umbrella term that covers all standard, day-to-day business operations. I really like the definitions buried in the Cambridge Dictionary. “Things are continuing as they always do despite a difficult situation. The state of continuing in the usual way.”

Yesterday was the start of a new series on the podcast. I’m looking at the state of business as usual. And then, I’ve lined up a most exciting guest from the UK who has been in the trenches of changing the business-as-usual mantra to something more like business as NOT usual.

You may question why I have so many more European guests. The truth is, they are 30 years ahead of us North Americans. And since I am all about shining the light on the best way forward, I only share things that have already been time-tested.

Most of us (especially in North America) are so wedded to business as usual that we get blinded by the ramifications.

For example,

Centuries ago, the whole purpose of being in business was to make a profit and line the owner’s pockets. That morphed into profit-making, paying the banks and lining the owner’s pockets. Until 30 or 40 years ago, when it morphed to make more profit, line the pockets of the senior leaders, and richly reward the shareholders.

This is why the wealthy are getting wealthier, the poor are getting poorer, and the working class is shrinking. This is why the planet is losing its natural resources at an alarming rate; our days are filled with more smog and less clean air, and our tolerance for nuance, discussion, and understanding has taken such a beating.

For example,

Less than a hundred years ago, man got the brilliant idea of saving time. Although what for was never quantified particularly clearly. So, everything from washing machines to buggies and lawnmowers to farm equipment was simplified, glamourized and motorized. Our eating habits changed with the first frozen dinners and kept changing as perfectly healthy recipes were dialled up, tuned up and turned out with more and more salt, sugar and chemical additives. Saving all that time gave us more opportunity to watch TV, enjoy leisure pursuits and then, especially over the last 30 years, be held hostage by cell phones.

This is why humans are unhealthier today than ever before, why obesity has reached epidemic proportions, why our bodies are permanently embedded with microplastics and why depression and neurological disorders are at an all-time high.

I am not saying the good old days were great; far from it. There was a lot of bad in all the good old days. AND, there is STILL a lot of good in these bad new days.

I am saying business as usual was and is a colossal lie. Business, as usual, has brought about every single societal problem we currently experience. From the class/wealth structure, the lack of affordable housing, the birth of few opportunities for young people, the opioid crisis, the cost of education, raising children and making a life for one’s family and one’s self. To the insane and ridiculous social media pressure put on everyone who owns a cell phone. No wonder so many don’t feel like they do enough, can function enough, will ever look or be enough.

Enough!

The push for wealth and free time has left us hollow and empty. THAT is what business as usual has done to society.

And despite what might sound like ugly cry comments here, there is still hope. There is still light. And there is still a better way.

Knowing that, seeing that, and believing that is why I get up every morning cheerful, excited and thrilled to be alive. If you need a dose of upbeat pragmatism, consider listening to the 4Cs podcast. It might be the best 20 minutes in your week.

Because, truthfully, we don’t have to live with business as usual. Or life as usual. We can create the world we want.

Together, yes, we can.

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Charlene Norman

Inspiring good humans to make a difference for all on Planet Earth. Podcast host, author, and community leader. Fanatical about change for the highest good.