In the transit zone: Growth at the epicenter of transformation | Inquirer Business
MAPping the Future

In the transit zone: Growth at the epicenter of transformation

When disaster strikes, the first order of the day is to examine the numerous factors that may have triggered, worsened or diminished the effects of such catastrophic events. The objective is to keep a ‘stable’ perspective and not to add internal upheaval to an already overwhelming external one. The leadership challenge is to be the steady anchor that will resist being pulled in many directions without the discipline of risk analysis.

Arguably, there are actions that are needed to mitigate immediate risks, but steps must be taken to avoid the pitfalls that a knee-jerk reaction may cause. We cannot sacrifice the future to stave off the present hurdles. It is why we plan—not for guarantees but to consider possibilities and therefore be ready to take them on when called for. It is when we have the luxury to turn over various scenarios and map out responses that we elevate from reactive to proactive.

Recently, the UN World Health Organization announced the end of COVID-19 as a public health emergency, although it did qualify that it remains a threat. The pandemic is one of, if not the biggest, challenge we faced in this generation and the inadequate preparedness for such catastrophe exacerbated its effects. History is littered with health crisis so one would think the experiences should have been early warning devices to be more prepared when another one hits. Yet when it did happen in our time, the world was not ready.


We did not build on the lessons of SARS in 2003, H1N1 in 2009, Zika in 2016 and other similar health scare episodes when billions of losses were racked up, especially in those countries that got hit the most. It might be human nature to discount series of experiences because they were managed; we coped and we survived. Business recovery and continuity plans that should have been immediately activated when there were recurrences might not have even considered the scenario of a world that would stand still. There was overconfidence in the ability to respond, and a microscopic virus taught a humbling lesson.


After two long years of lockdowns, restrictions were gradually eased. The year 2022 was the halfway house when we tested the waters and started the transition process toward what we all now accept as a different future. In this world of in-betweens, business operation is recalibrated to align with the country’s directions and the global developments, while keeping an eye to the up-and-down swings of COVID. One thing is sure, recovery and progress are common agenda, and competitiveness will determine who will lead and who will lag behind. In this transit zone, growth is at the epicenter of transformation.

Growth is not just a responsibility of one, however. The problems are too big and the cost of slow action is too high for convalescing economies also dealing with the adverse effects of inflation. The call of the times is for both public and the private sectors to work in tandem for faster recovery. In trade, the government can open the doors, but the more agile business sector can concretize the pledges into fulfilled investments. In social welfare, government takes care of the marginalized, and the enterprises look after the welfare of those they employ and help generate livelihood that can cushion the impact of uncertain times.

Many observers say that things might get worse before it gets better. We see global conflicts escalating. We look with worried eyes at these clashes, and foremost in our minds is the question: Is the world on a collision course? Hopefully not, because we are also seeing shifts in alliances. These alliances might just herald pockets of greater integration and cooperation that will balance and moderate the superpowers. Countries are redefining recovery in terms of greater regional cooperation, evident in the rise of trading blocs. Analysts warn of the waning years of globalization, but we also see movements toward multilateralism that—if governed rightly, holds a promise of developments distributed better.

If so, there will be realignments that can potentially enhance cooperation, collaboration and integration as we all define what is next for the world. Such alignments will influence the ability to attract investments, identify trading partners and explore how these advantages can be used to cascade benefits all the way down.

The pandemic experience should have taught the importance of building resilience into the organizational DNA. That resilience goes beyond the usual business continuity plan to a deeper engagement with societal development. The wisdom of the crisis is in the realization that building back stronger is possible if we all work together and collaborate better. The world cannot afford a collision; thus, let us put ourselves on a cohesion course. INQ

The 2023 MAP International CEO Conference will focus on alignments as captured by its theme “On a cohesion course: Leadership in the age of unlimited possibilities.” Invited speakers will represent major blocs intended to give delegates information to understand their directions and how businesses can work with them and through them. Register early for this Sept. 12, 2023 conference to be held at Shangri-La The Fort and avail of discounts.

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