Soriano: A disruption-ready culture

Enrique Soriano
·4 min read

Nikkei Asia reported that “Asian economists have revised upward their growth forecasts for the economies of Singapore and Indonesia, thanks to quicker rollouts of coronavirus vaccines. They revised growth projections for Singapore, Indonesia and India, from the previous survey conducted in December. Singapore is expected to achieve economic growth of 6.1 percent this year, up from 4.5 percent previously forecast. Indonesia’s gross domestic product is seen expanding by 3.9 percent, up from 3.6 percent in the last survey.” With the successful vaccination rollout in Singapore and Indonesia, we can expect their economies surging ahead this year and recovery back to pre-Covid levels for most of their industries in the third quarter of 2022.

On the other hand, Inquirer reporter Doris Dumlao-Abadilla remarked that the “Philippine economy may be hard-pressed to even grow by five percent this year as no relief is yet in sight from the Covid-19 pandemic a year since the outbreak, prompting a return to tough lockdown protocols. This was according to Romeo Bernardo, economist at New York-based think tank Global Source, who said in a research note dated April 5, 2021, that the present crisis was a “concrete display of what has kept us worried all this time and why we have not been able to shake off a more pessimistic outlook for the economy.” Personally, we are still a long way to go and whatever forecasts that will come out this quarter will be a moving target. If we follow the path of Singapore, the only thing that can take us out of this mud is relentless vaccination initiatives. I consider the latter a game changer if we want economic growth and recovery to start this year.

Anticipating the second wave

With a sluggish start for the country, we just need to acknowledge that the world has changed considerably and based on emerging trends that we are experiencing, survival and adaptability in the marketplace will ultimately define the kind of business DNA that will carry us through. A major enabler is leveraging the power of e-commerce in a business infrastructure. “Digital solutions have democratized access to experiences and conveniences for individuals and companies,” says Clay Cowan, a McKinsey partner. The road to recovery is full of trip wires and the remaining three quarters will be a defining litmus test for family enterprises. Family members must reboot fast and every organization must now embrace a disruption-ready culture. Is your business prepared to go through another cycle of disruption?

Know your market

The barometer of any business is the state of our economy. When there is employment, consumption increases and confidence goes up. For as long as there are jobs available, our gross domestic product goes up. Most of our industries are part of what economists refer to as primary cyclical industries and our decline and upswing patterns can be attributed to economic shifts. With the severity brought about by the pandemic, keeping things together during this tumultuous downturn can be tough. During strategic planning sessions where I was asked to facilitate, I would always hear from talented Boards that they always consider this economic cycle as a real turnaround. That is why planning and bracing for a post-vaccine recovery is important. The art of dealing with this pandemic is keeping the business afloat long enough for the economy to kickstart and recover.

Leadership

The business leader must take the lead and consolidate all qualitative and quantitative resources of the family in preparation for this disruptive second wave. In short, active family members must prepare scenario analysis covering the worst- and best-case situations. Planning is important so family members can specify the areas of intervention needed by looking at facts and figures and explaining what immediate measures are necessary. A good example is for the family to discuss debt mitigating measures, cash flow management, and austerity initiatives both for the family and the business. The company’s financial and cash position is the best source for objective decision-making and transparency is key in having family members buy into the importance of addressing mounting expenses covering employee salaries, supplier credits, loans and expenses for the family.