Uy: Crisis Management

Jedd Uy

A PERSON’S true character comes through in the moment of a crisis.

Make no mistake, this is, as everyone puts it, a “Black Swan” event—an event so big and expansive there is no real possible way to prevent or prepare for it. Could anyone have stopped the Great Depression or (pretty recently) the Asian Financial Crisis? Hindsight is twenty-twenty, so it’s easy for us to answer yes and point out the cracks that led to the dam breaking. But the (ugly) truth of the matter is that when situations as big as those (and the Covid pandemic) come up, we have to scramble for solutions and contingencies to prepare for whatever is to come.

This brings me to crisis management. Of course, we want to respond as quickly as we can, but we need to make sure our responses are informed. So much noise is being generated now by the Internet, and it’s easy to get paralyzed into inaction. What it really boils down to is the willingness of those in charge to help the people below them. Are you concerned with profit, or are you more concerned for the people who work for you and do business with your establishments? Of course, the CSR (corporate social responsibility) answer is the latter, but actions speak louder than words.

I’ve seen people act decisively, directly, without caring if they make a centavo for their efforts. Theirs is only to alleviate the burden for those in the front lines who are the first to make contact with the sick. This is why it infuriates me to see people actively disobeying the community quarantine. These “woken warriors” downplay the gravity of the situation and think it’s the common cold. If I may be blunt: the people who have to suffer the consequences of your need to be anti-Government (and probably anti-vaccine) are the ones in the medical field, so stop acting like a petulant five-year-old.

I’ve also seen people pussyfooting around making decisions that would (obviously) not be best for business but would be for the employees. This is not an easy choice to make, as a business does need money to keep operating. To them I impart the words of my guakong: “Money can be earned again, but loyalty, once broken, cannot.” Now is not the time for the bottomline; now is a time to ask “what we can do for the nation” in whatever capacity.

My point is that this crisis will pass, and then what will we be left with? Will we like what this “storm” has revealed underneath all our bluster and poise? Are we able to live with ourselves when we have been taught to “love your neighbor as yourself” but do the exact opposite? Or will we be able to look ourselves in the mirror and say we handled it as best as we could?

Practice crisis management well, people, because it will reveal what character we have underneath.