Winston Churchill once said: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

With the current COVID-19 pandemic and crisis we are facing, those words are truer now than ever.

And, here’s my hope: When the world goes back to “normal”, whether that is May 1 or June 1 or July 1…. It shouldn’t look like it did on January 1.

“Business as Usual” should be…. Different.

It’s not Business as Usual anymore.

Certainly, many businesses will struggle to recover or to reopen once the “Stay at Home” orders are lifted, and everyday life goes back to “normal”. People will have lost jobs, lives will have been lost, families will have changed. Already, the oil price drop has triggered bankruptcies; reduced consumer spending and stay-at-home orders have impacted hospitality, retail, travel, and supporting industries; and many small, mid-size, and large companies have been impacted.

For those impacted, I am deeply sorry.

And yet, I am a firm believer that change and opportunity should and will arise from this time.

Already we are seeing innovations and adaptations within businesses and individuals as they respond to the crisis and changing circumstances and opportunities. Numerous companies – from major chemical companies to small distilleries – rapidly shifting their operations to produce hand sanitizer. Automotive manufacturers producing respirators. Medical device companies boosting production of facemasks and other medical necessities for our front-line medical workers. (Let’s not forget the thousands of sewing hobbyists who are making facemasks for their communities.) Healthcare companies fast-tracking testkits for COVID19 and developing vaccines, medicines and other solutions. Chemical companies as essential businesses; single-use plastics being lauded as sanitary and necessary; cloud computing growing massively; a Zoom video account in every home and business; grocery store workers being celebrated; and a new appreciation by millions more of grocery-delivery services (Thank you, shoppers!) and no-contact delivery of …. everything.

Some of these innovations and opportunities are temporary. Others will transform lives and businesses over the long-term.

Where will you stand when we are back to “normal” and can conduct “business as usual”. Will it be the same? Or will you, and your business, be different?

I hope you take this crisis… and don’t waste it.

Consider this:

  • Adopt the “temporary” simplified approval process as the new decision process.
  • Rethink working protocols. Embrace work-from-home more frequently. (As one client I spoke with said: “I’ve been hoping to work from home for years! I hope I can do it at least a couple days a week in the future.”)
  • Speed up your innovation process. If you can take a new product to market in 10 days during crisis, why should it take 10 months during “normal” times?
  • Take on a new business / product / market. Where are the opportunities? Or get rid of an old one.
  • Examine your business planning processes and build in scenarios… up-front… rather than when you’re in the midst of one.
  • Embrace agile and resilience in your company, your leadership style, and your approach to business and life.

When the dust settles and we’re back to “Business as Usual”, I hope it’s not.