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Transform or die

I had the fortune of attending a recent Sunday mass officiated by Fr. Dennis Paez. During his homily, he asked the crowd: “Do you think Jesus will just remove this virus? No, he is not doing that so soon. Because it was meant to make people transform. Until we transform, the virus will remain.” And those words are indeed very powerful because they make you reflect on what changes the world needs—from us as individuals, from us as corporate leaders and from us as leaders.

What does transformation entail? It means taking stock of what we are doing and how it can be done differently. Take a simple test and see if you can transform and help this virus go away.

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On another note, an astrologer I follow says that this period will really spell major changes in the world and in people. Something about the planet Saturn being in Aquarius and other planets being in their new places. I’m no astrologer, but I just cannot help but relate it to what we have seen that are unprecedented.

Community pantry – Did you ever think this viral phenomenon would cross the seas and inspire netizens from Iligan to Pampanga? Read and smile as you see ordinary people put out their “extras” and allow community members to partake of their excess while teaching people to take “only what they need,” not what they want. Indeed this shows there is enough for everyone’s need, not for everyone’s greed.

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Now, let’s look at transforming our kitchens and dining table fare:

Pork shortage – Do you not think it is a sign to start eating other proteins or other meats? We have been overeating meat, anyway. Maybe the high prices of pork are not just economics but a way to sway people into eating more fish or chicken, or being plant-based.

But, no, the government will solve this the traditional way. Import more to balance supply and demand and stabilize prices. Maybe economists should read astrology and also reflect on making a change in how we treat supply and demand. The Universe gave us ASF or African swine fever, maybe to lessen our pork consumption, too. But, we defy the Universe and we control prices, but we do not tell people to eat less of something.

Avian flu – Is this not telling us to eat less chicken? To stop inhumane treatment of chickens in crowded coops, to stop disease spread by chickens and other fowl? No, we are a chicken-eating country and we do not want to change.

Foot and mouth disease – Did we not have issues with eating beef, too? Besides the fact that cows are the biggest methane producer and affect greenhouse gases, beef has to be largely imported as we have no major cattle industry to speak of. Neither do we have a significant dairy industry. So because of the World Trade Organization rules, we import Western cows’ milk and other dairy products like cheese and yogurt.

Bottom line: Eat what is available locally. Do not eat in excess. Eat a balanced diet or adopt a flexitarian diet: Meatless Monday. Fish Friday. Chicken and pork some days. Mostly plants and vegetables but make sure they are organic and safe to eat.

Are we ready for more lifestyle changes?

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Next is business. Is business still following the 1970 Milton Friedman quote: “The purpose of business is to generate profit for its shareholders?” After the profit, do Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?I think we should also transform the way we do business and the reason we are in business. Until we transform, we will die. Either the business dies first or we will.

The old idea of capitalism must transform into a new capitalism. Until we change our business model, we are all doomed to suffer this virus for a very long time. You can already see the chaos it is doing to society. This is cathartic so we can change the way we address issues, the way we solve problems and the way we conduct business.

So I believe in what Fr. Dennis said: Until we change, God or The Almighty will not let this virus end. In the meantime, we try all sorts of pivots and adjustments to OLD STRUCTURES to our dismay and disappointment. What we need to do is close the old book and open a new one.

Why do they say this will last for maybe another two years? Because it is taking pretty long for people to change. Either they wait to turn belly up on an old business concept or they find a fresh new idea that serves the people and is kinder to the planet. It is no longer a “tree hugger” statement that executives used to laugh at. IT IS A REAL GAME CHANGER. Change your business model or die. That is the imperative. INQ

This article reflects the personal opinion of the author and does not reflect the official stand of the Management Association of the Philippines or MAP. The author is Member of the MAP Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and Chair of the Philippine Coffee Board.

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