Wow, It's been a month.

and it's not over yet, there's still time. But it will end, don't waste it.

A lot of companies have taken one nasty hit. Some of those companies won't get up, others will take time to get their footing again. Others are in pure survival mode, while others are trying to reinvent themselves. To put it in a word - chaos. With this slowdown and way less predictability than ever before, it does present a huge opportunity -- try everything you were afraid to do before and take on ideas that might be crazy enough to work.

At the speed of technology, now's a great time to review and reprioritize, focusing on infrastructure (things you can't usually change while everything is running) and experimentations (ideas you may have sitting on the shelf). Many of those critical need systems are now barely getting used and if you're not looking at upgrading, replacing, learning, trying out new things... I have more bad news about how much stronger your competition will be after this is over.

Replace the immovable

or update the dangerous

It's not just in software, but in "boring" things like infrastructure. After major disasters (hurricanes, earthquakes, etc) there's a time of rebuilding the infrastructure better and more robust than it was before. Why? We've learned since those were built and put in place - there's more capacity, more efficiency, simpler maintenance and so on. Before, everyone was using them at near capacity (which is good!) and replacement was an untouchable or flat out complicated ... now it's the first thing that is rebuilt.

That means update dependent libraries, software, operating systems, etc. Most places, especially smaller businesses leave devices in place without any thought of updating them. Why would they? They're busy running their business and trying to keep the lights on. Run all those updates, they're full of fixes and security updates!

Experiment and Experiment again

What does your organization have? No, not "the cloud", people and an office, but what is it that you have, that you do, that's better sorted out than anyone else? How can that amplify what you can do? Come up with a list for step 2.

What is your organization really good at? No, not what you sell, not your customers, no -- what are you so good at, no one can touch you? What else can you use that for? "What if we used -mechanism- for -something new-?" -- that's an idea for an experiment.

A good example

that shouldn't be

Locally, a pizza place closed up last fall. I liked that place, a lot, and was worried about what would take its place. This area has one of everything, and exactly one. All of them are good, so opening up another place wouldn't be ideal. In February, a new high end steakhouse opened. They had a month before all this hit. With every single challenge a new restaurant has already, I expected them to close up. Who would blame them? ...they got to work.

What are most restaurants good at? Wonderful food and even better customer service ... a lot that happens before that. Long before food shows up a relationship was started with farmers or distributors of all kinds. Those lead to the early morning deliveries of fresh produce (local, more often now than not) to give the kitchen what it needs. Then, hours of preparation begins. Years ago, the restaurant I worked at, prep took ~4 hours before we saw our customer -- and we weren't doing anything fancy.

This restaurant figured it out and started to lean on those strengths. Everyday, around noon, they'd post up the day's menu. They had a different take home menu, plus a number of "basket" options. All the prep, portioning and a recipe for a set price, per person -- first come first served. One day it was homemade bratwurst, 2 basket options (1 beef, 1 chicken), and a grocery list of fresh produce available. Just a week back, an easter menu -- get your orders in by friday, pickup saturday. It's a 3 course meal.

Great innovations happen during a crisis

have a clear goal and focus -- just don't let it crush you and your team

I've rarely come into a situation where failure is not only an option, it's the expectation. Those couple times in my career that has happened are some of the best, satisfying examples I have - and also the most stressful, hardest work I've ever done. Nothing says stress like "if we fail, 35 people are out of a job, overnight".

If you're like many people and in that situation it's time to try the things that are "stupid enough to work". Look at what you and your team are good at beyond the surface and start trying things. Use the GSD index, and stay focused. Brainstorm, use mural, use whatever you can to sift though and figure out what must be next. Don't just throw things at the wall either, have an outcome in mind to know if it's working or not. Reach out if you need help !

Bottom line -- now is the time to innovate and start executing, now!