The Gains of Pandemic Change



After a deadly two-year pandemic, the world is eager to start living again, but in a different environment. We are in the midst of the transition from epidemic to endemic, in the long process of transitioning to a more stable path of recovery and restoring the balance that we seem to have lost in the crisis.

This does not mean that the pandemic was bad because there are VICTORIES. The changes that we thought we could gradually implement have accelerated: the digital transition, the place of health care as an essential element of global development, the intensification of support for the fight against climate change, the rise of corporate activism, the importance of trust to ensure a stable market and government are finding ways to uplift the poor.

And if there are victories, there are big winners. We see Big Pharma increasing sales as demand soars, the rise of fulfillment centers, growing acceptance of artificial intelligence and robotics, hybrid workforce and workplaces , and micro and small enterprises that entered the market through buyers looking for alternatives.

As many as there are swings and misfires. Many businesses have closed or are barely surviving, and there are job losses which may put the social protection of those affected at stake. We have a healthcare system that is still groaning under the weight of responsibility for the pandemic, and COVID-19 remains largely unknown and may raise its peaks at any time. We are also on the lookout for emerging health issues.

Living in the in-between world. Today we are at a crossroads: forging paths that can redefine what was, what can be and what will be. Our country is on the cusp of a change in direction that is expected to result in political and policy realignments, which will impact the recovery process. History is a retrospective and time will tell if the effects of these movements benefited the country.

It is against this backdrop that we will pick up the threads and weave a new fabric for the future. We’ve been slowed down by the pandemic, but it’s time to move on. Our orientations will be enriched by the lessons that our collective experience teaches us. We need all this wisdom to initiate, manage and complete the transition process of our organizations. The road ahead will not be easy because while this pandemic period offers a chance to start over, it is also not possible to wipe the slate clean. We must build on the victories that have been displayed, even as we examine what lessons are taught by those who have fallen short of expectations or who have failed.

There are developments that have crept in so quietly and stealthily that we don’t even know we’ve come to accept them as normal, the same way we’re now learning to live with COVID-19.

Managing the transition process requires patience and discipline. It’s akin to a home improvement project, going through our room-to-room plans and considering what will still be useful and usable, what may only need cosmetic renovations or upgrades, and what may need to be removed for give way to the new spaces that we should create according to present and future needs.

Transition is not about making changes for the sake of changing; it takes foresight and planning. It prepares people and processes to face even the most uncertain future and to remain stable. It builds a solid foundation towards a resilient structure that can allow for growth and development, but also able to withstand the test of time and the harshest conditions. These are NOT all-or-nothing actions; more often than not, it will be a series of small wins against a big win. It will be systematic improvements in bits and pieces until the whole thing becomes fully functional.

Transitions connect the present and that future where we want to be. Having a transition plan can set a roadmap that we can follow that will lead to that future. Our experiences over the past two years underscore the importance of embedding original thinking and innovation into organizational DNA. The future we prepare for will depend on our ability to challenge and disrupt our own familiar structures that have served us for a long time and initiate the steps to build capacities and capacities that are imperatives of the times. Retooling, upgrading and reskilling the current and future workforce means prioritizing human resources as a means of dynamic and continuous development.

Leadership is important, but leaders are not infallible. The path ahead will be difficult for many, and no one should know all the answers. We must learn to solicit opinions and ideas and really listen. Create a CHALLENGE NETWORK made up of those who are Mavericks in the organization; those who always wonder; those who see the problems; the skeptics, even the pessimists, if you will. We need them more than those who say yes all the time, because they will challenge the status quo, keep us in healthy discomfort, and give us the push to push the boundaries. They will keep us grounded and on our toes. Think twice before dismissing bad news messengers. These are our early warning devices.

The challenge for leaders is how to stay relevant. The importance of learning from past practices and experiences while keeping an eye on a future signaled by trends that continue to evolve cannot be overstated. Therefore, value planning no matter how fluid times are. Even if the plans change or are completely abandoned depending on the conditions, they will provide the basis for our strategies and actions.

Most importantly, people need to know that their leaders care about them, are able to understand their situation, and invest in their development.

Working our way forward. Over the coming decades, society will continue to face serious global trends, including climate change, geopolitical shifts, peace and security, resource scarcity, ecosystem depletion and a growing social divide. . No matter who or where we are, we will be called upon to help develop solutions that generate shared value for communities and societies.

Governance will have to adopt new methods, learn to collaborate, forge alliances, create synergies and work with sectoral interests. We will need to engage in a fundamental rewiring of our relationships if we are to remain relevant to our stakeholders. Ultimately, the progress we enjoy can only be limited by our perspectives and our openness to ideas. Grow them, embrace diversity and inclusion and you can win them all. INQPlease mark your calendars for the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) International Hybrid CEO Conference on September 13th on the theme: “VICTORIES OF CHANGE: Thriving in an In-between World” from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. request/reservation, please send an e-mail [email protected]

The author is Vice Chairman of the MAP Health Committee, Chairman of the MAP CEO Conference Committee, President and CEO of Health Solutions Corp. and former Undersecretary of the Ministry of Tourism.

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