Leadership in a VUCA world | Inquirer Business
Mapping The Future

Leadership in a VUCA world

12:04 AM March 20, 2017

The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) and the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), in collaboration with the University of San Agustin (USA) in Iloilo, held last October a two-day Management Educators’ Workshop (MEW) with 56 participants from 20 universities and colleges in the West Visayas region (Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Antique, Guimaras and Negros Occidental) attending. Many of the participants were university and college presidents, vice presidents, school administrators, deans and senior faculty members.

The MEW is a long standing project of the MAP with AIM.


Started in 1992, the MEW, designed for multiple higher educational institution audiences, and its variant, the Seminars for Management Educators (SME) for single educational institutions, have helped over 3,000 senior college and university officials and management faculty (both business and public management professors and teachers) rethink their management curriculum and subject syllabus, the various contents of their subjects, and the methods they use in ensuring their students learn enough to “hit the ground running.”

The MEW/SME has since become a major mainstay project for MAP, which is able to mount as many as two MEWs and two SMEs every year.


“VUCA,” the topic for this latest MEW, stands for volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, a catchy way to describe our current and emerging world. Wikipedia provides definitions for these four concepts as follows:

V = Volatility. The nature, dynamics and speed of change introduce catalysts.

U = Uncertainty. The lack of predictability, the prospects for surprise, and the sense of awareness and understanding of issues and events.

C = Complexity. The multiplex of forces, the confounding of issues, and confusion that surround an organization.

A = Ambiguity. The haziness of reality, the potential for misreads, and the mixed meanings of conditions.

A Harvard Business review article, “What VUCA really means for you”, provided a useful matrix to situate the four conditions using answers to relevant questions [https://hbr.org/2014/01/what-vuca-really-means-for-you].

The MAP-AIM and USA working group decided on the topic after some discussions.


The first day of the workshop was to provide grist for the mind mill.

Both the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) representatives, Jimmy Tolosa (who replaced Dr. Cesar H. Medina) and USA president Fr. Frederick C. Commendador, OSA, expressed their hopes and expectations that the workshops would help institutions of higher learning realign their bearings and improve both the standing of the region vis-a-vis other regions and the competitiveness of graduates.

To provide some anchors, four leading industry practitioners were asked to give their views on the expectations of organizations regarding the people they wanted to hire to run their organizations.

Helen Macasaet, independent consultant of the Supreme Court of the Philippines and former chairperson of the MAP ICT Committee, addressed the needs of the information and communications technology industry.
Olive Limpe-Aw, president of Destileria Limtuaco and MAP member, addressed the requirements of the manufacturing sector.
Jess Carpio, president of P&A Grant Thornton Outsourcing, Inc. and vice chair of the MAP Management Development Committee, spoke of the emerging trends and the evolving requirements in the accounting and auditing professions.

Former MAP president Greg Navarro, who is also managing partner of Deloitte Navarro Amper & Co., addressed the emerging requirements of good corporate governance.

AIM professor Federico Macaranas, also a MAP member, gave the introductory lecture on VUCA. It was followed by a workshop that focused on the challenges confronting the higher educational institutions in the region.

Macaranas also started the second day with a workshop that focused on answering the same questions raised the previous day, but the exercise proved more challenging and more fruitful for the participants.

The last afternoon of the MEW had AIM professors Noel Cortez and Mario A. G. Lopez give a lecture on developments in leadership theory and practice and a workshop on leadership requirements for the different schools in this VUCA world.

USA, based on informal feedback from the invited participants, had expressed its intent to make the Iloilo MEW an annual affair, bolstered by one or two SMEs.

The Negros Island-based schools also wished to conduct the MEW. Alternating Bacolod and Dumaguete venues were suggested.

Meantime, Jose Rizal University in Manila also revived its collaboration with MAP-AIM for MEWs and SMEs.

It looks like 2017 will be a very busy year.

The author is the chair of the MAP Management Development Committee and a professor at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM). Send feedback to <[email protected]> and <[email protected] >. For previous articles, please visit

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TAGS: Educators’ Workshop, Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) and the Asian Institute of Management (AIM)
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