(Check out the free Strategic Readiness Inventory© and TPQ© tools at the bottom of this blog)

We are truly in the midst of a tectonic shift that rivals any major earthquake, social upheaval, or economic crisis in recent history. The ground is shifting, it continues to shift, and I think it will continue to shift for a while. The tectonic plates of our world are realigning.

I can picture those videos showing people stumbling and falling during major earthquakes as they try to find footing and balance.  Just like trying to stand in a major earthquake, it can be equally difficult to find firm footing during the worldwide dramatic shifts we are experiencing.

Of course, we want to find safety and help others find safety. Yes, continue to do that. At the same time, the landscape is changing and we need to be prepared for what is to come. That requires us to find some terra-firma and regain our balance, even when we get pummeled by aftershocks.

During the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906, Amadeo Peter Giannini, a small time novice banker, set up a makeshift bank while his own bank was threatened by the ensuing fires. He made headlines by helping citizens recover from the tragedy by loaning money on the spot with a handshake.

This small bank of an immigrant grew into Bank of America. By the time of his passing, it was the largest bank in the U.S. Today, BOA is the second largest in the U.S. because someone saw a need in tragedy. During today’s crisis, someone, somewhere is doing just what Mr. Giannini did. Some are large and grand opportunities. You might feel the grand opportunities are not in your mindset. But let us not miss the other opportunities that are right in front of us, no matter how small.

It’s easy to wax eloquent about tectonic shifts and historical events when we are wobbly. So let me offer a few TPQ’s© (Thought Provoking Questions) you might try to increase your strategic footing:

What opportunities do current circumstances create?

Just like Bank of America, there are opportunities out there. Not just big ones, but even small ones. Boy, do I wish I had bought Zoom stock a year ago. There are opportunities and people being successful and thriving. If it’s not you, are there any around you? For example, if hard goods orders drop, what does that mean for service businesses? I know of a business who works in automotive based heavy equipment business. They pivoted to bio-med and haven’t missed a beat.

What have I learned to this point that can guide me going forward?

We are nothing more than all of the experiences and knowledge we accumulate over a lifetime. A company is an aggregate of all of that for all of the people who work there. What have we learned that can help us? What do we know that can guide us? What do we see that is an opportunity?

Who are the winners and losers?

We know there will be losers in this economy, both companies and whole industries. We are seeing skyscrapers of business titans rocking and swaying from these shifts. Some will falter, others will collapse entirely. [I am not going to name names here.]

At the same time there will be winners. We are seeing some of them emerge already, like technology and bio-med segments. You may not be in those winning businesses or industries, maybe you are. Either way, can you see the winners around you? Find ways to pivot into that space and even draft off their slip stream? For example, if you don’t work in bio-med, there are companies in that industry that might buy your services. Start by listing the winners you see. Create a list of what you do, your competencies, and your secret sauce. Then start connecting the dots to see what you come up with.