I would also like to share an example about what is possible when the unexpected happens. Jan 2001 I arrived in Jakarta to take over the industrial service business for Siemens in Indonesia.
The day I arrived it rained heavily, which during the rainy season in Jakarta is normal. The following couple of days it didn’t only rain normally, it rained heavily. It rained continuously for four days and at the end of these four days a huge part of the city was flooded, including our own factory and warehouse, etc.
We manage to find a dry spot to sit down to have a look at the situation. It was pretty bad. Furniture had partly been damage beyond repair, certain machines the same, other machines and the electrical installation had also been heavily damaged. The organisation worked remarkably well except for this which made it easy.
It then occurred to me, “who else has this problem?” The answer was almost everybody else. To which I said, contact all our companies throughout South East Asia and get them to send to us everything they have of electrical installation material. Switches, fuses everything electrical we can get.The reaction was, “We have not budgeted for this”. So in my sarcastic way I said, that I completely understand that it was not foreseen 12 months ago that half the city would be flooded. It is now and we must react to the changing environment, budget or no budget. We have a business opportunity right now.
At the same time I said “Start calling all your customers and inform them that we can supply new equipment within days, and that we have installation people immediately ready to work.” Within days the word had got out in Jakarta that we could help and we got “flooded” with requests for help. Within the first week our competitors had had the same idea, some of them did not move since they spent time internalising the situation and did not have a budget for such a situation!!!!!
We were the only ones who managed to really take full advantage of the situation. We managed to secure new customers and turn what was a disaster into an advantage. We did it because we paid attention to the immediate situation and looked at what was possible. Obviously nobody could have planned for a flooding, the difference is that we did not allow the lack of planning to become our enemy, we made it our friend.