Don’t Agonize, Organize!

Business owners must take action move quickly, do things that they need to do. Now!

In a CNBC report a few weeks ago, a bold and factual declaration sums up the impact of the COVID-19, “Coronavirus wipes out $1.7 Trillion in US stock market value in two days!” I am not fanning an alarmist mentality here, but it is clear that investors are fleeing the riskier assets amid intense fears about the slowdown in global growth caused by the deadly virus. It didn’t help that the World Health Organization (WHO) already raised the risk of a global spread of COVID-19 to the highest level of alert and highest level of risk assessment in terms of impact.

Raising the rating to “very high” after several weeks in February and March that saw the contagion reach all the world’s inhabited continents is further justified with the WHO declaration that it is a reality check for every government on the planet to “wake up, get ready, this virus is on its way and every government must need to be ready! You have a duty to your citizens you have a duty to the world to be ready!”

Time to Act!  

For business owners, it is no longer an excuse to wait, to be complacent and to be caught unaware! It is time to ponder and ask yourselves these questions: Is my business affected? If yes, how significant is the drop in sales? If no, when? In Manila, Cebu or Boracay, hotels have registered sharp declines; some are registering single digit occupancy (OCC). RevPAR or revenue per available room is at a historical low. Whether you are in franchising, trading, retail, manufacturing, real estate or a service provider, significant declines should be expected. And it will soon compromise bottom lines. Are you prepared to just wait or do something? What if this continues in 2, 4, 6, 8 months?

Last year I flew to Europe to facilitate a strategic planning session for a diversified conglomerate with presence in EU. During the three-day planning session, I raised a VUCA challenge to its senior management team. In my opening day speech, my strategic team reiterated the critical need for the organization’s SBU (strategic business unit) heads to collectively focus, align and measure their initiatives. Additionally, I warned them to brace for impact should any regional or global event happen. That global event is presently unfolding, sales are diving, markets are spooked and there is so much uncertainty. Thankfully the group prepared!

We are now in the midst of a roller coaster ride because of COVID-19! And the best way to explain this is by way of managing VUCA.

Volatility       : The virus is spreading and markets are sliding

Uncertainty   : The Unpredictability of the situation is creating fear

Complexity   : Many extenuating events, confounding issues leading to chaos

Ambiguity     : Unclear and the haziness of reality causing confusion


The antidote of VUCA is to counter it with another version of VUCA positive values.


Vision             : Create conditions to accelerate growth, explore new drivers

Understand   : Manage Expectations, determine risks and rewards

Clarity          : Define Roles, Rules, Responsibilities, measure actions

Anticipate    : Be agile, adjust, prepare and address threats and opportunities


I also highlighted that reversal of fortune in any industry is happening and any misstep can cause the business to free fall overnight. With the COVID-19 spreading to Europe, the Middle East and North America with no chance of slowing down, local companies, big or small must be prepared. There is no more excuses.