The business of Business As Usual

Business As Usual. What does this term conjure up in your mind? Words or phrases and their association in our minds. It is an interesting field. For me, the term has a negative connotation. Although I haven't analyzed why in a deeper sense, I am sure it was because I heard it in a negative context the first time. The first association stuck with me like the first impression. Since I associated it in a negative manner, I have used it in my speech and other modes of communication to convey undesired impacts. 

Hearing it in a meeting for the first time after having moved to UK, my senses became alert. I was expecting a doomsday prediction by the speaker. But nothing happened. He carried on with his speech. The usage is normal, and it does not have any negative connotation. It was just in my head. More importantly, you encounter this word very often when you perform planning. What is Business As Usual? In a simplistic terms, it means normal day-to-day operations. While planning, you should never hamper the normal day-to-day operations to implement something. Life goes on. Similarly, after implementing a new capability, it is important we transfer knowledge to people performing day-to-day operations for the new capability should help them do their jobs better. With these principles in mind, it is quite normal to come across this phrase in different modes of communication. In an acronym-infested industry, it is also known as BAU.

Speaking of Business As Usual, a friend of mine talks about a project whose aim was to supply all employees with a laptop running Windows 7. You may argue Windows 7 is old. But the employees are using laptops running on a platform that most of us has abandoned four years back! Interestingly, these kinds of projects are very common. There are challenges like overcoming fear and getting your target audience to adopt the new platform. Typically, you leave your laptop with the technicians who has set up a special command center in the building. After a few hours, you pick your upgraded laptop if you already have one of the acceptable models or a new laptop if you were using on a really old model. This process is working fine. But what happens when a new employee joins? He/She is given a laptop running the old Windows version. This forces the new employee to visit the command center soon for an upgrade. Is it not a waste of time and efforts? What happened here? Whoever designed the process forgot about BAU?

Tags: Musings,Business,Planning