Digital-savvy business leaders as coaches
BIZLINKS - Rey Gamboa (The Philippine Star) - September 19, 2019 - 12:00am

Chot Reyes, who has carved a name in Philippine sports as coach of many basketball teams that have won championships in the Philippine Basketball Association and for leading the country back to the World Cup as Gilas Pilipinas coach, wears a number of other hats.

One particular role that he plays is as founder and CEO of, a company that espouses and believes in custom-fit training programs focused on transforming top level management officers from being merely executives to coaches.

In the context of business management, Chot says that effective coaching skills from top to bottom have yielded “improvements in productivity, quality, organizational strength, customer service, and shareholder value.”

The subject of having exemplary coaches in upper management is key for companies that need to adopt a digital ecosystem and transform into a business concern fit for the era called the Fourth Industrial Revolution, sometimes referred to as Industry 4.0 or IR4.

As discussed in previous columns, a change in the way the world operates is happening, much like when manufacturing and mechanization were the buzzwords of previous decades. Today, we have artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and many technologies that are changing the way business operates.

While companies involved in technology, telecommunications, and media were among the first to be foisted into this digital era, many business sectors are quickly taking up the challenges. We’re seeing banks, insurance firms, marketers, and even governments aspiring to become more connected to their customers through the digital medium.

Master coaches

According to the Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends study, these kinds of businesses need a digital leader “able to build teams of engaged participants, partner with broader ecosystems, and promote a culture that encourages innovation, learning, risk-taking, and continual improvement.”

For many C-level executives who are seriously committed to bringing their companies to the digital age, external executive coaches are extensively employed.

The objective of external interventions, much like in the mold of Chot’s, is to create effective and agile leaders, or master coaches, who can connect and earn the respect and confidence of their people.

Since the speed of adoption of new technologies are so much faster than during previous industrial eras, top executives must be prepared and ready to improve the bench of leadership posts and to quickly build championship teams within their organizations.

Even if there is an enlightened master coach in the C-executive level, the rest of the organization often is unprepared to respond to the new challenges of digital technologies, much more, the whole organization’s digital transformation.

This is why successful companies that have managed to keep the cohesiveness of their organizations during the transition stages often refer back to the wisdom of not scrimping on human resource intervention investments like training, team building, and coaching.

(You may reach Chot Reyes at

Different disruptor

While the discussion on IR4 and technology is regarded as a new disruptor in the business world, we are also seeing how technology is changing another aspect of geopolitics, this time rooted in ideological conflicts that have initiated wars and border conflicts.

The big news in recent days has been the attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil processing plant and the Khurais oil field, causing the loss of 5.7 million barrels of Saudi crude production per day, and regarded by the Paris-based International Energy Agency as the largest disruption on record.

As more information comes to light, it seems that technology of expanded unmanned flights — particularly drones, guided missiles, and global positioning system tracking — had managed to score against the supposedly superior Saudi Arabia air defenses.

Some regard the attack as the 21st century equivalent of the Pearl Harbor bombing by the Japanese in 1941 that brought about World War II. This time around, the threat of a new world war seems too real.

The US had declared it is locked and loaded, ready to respond should there be a real threat to disrupting world oil supplies. Iran, which is being blamed for masterminding the drone and missile attacks, has responded by warning that US bases and aircraft carriers are within range of its missiles.

Economic impact

The attacks on Saudi’s oil facilities expectedly caused a surge in the daily price of crude, regarded as one of the highest in recent years. As of this writing, prices have lowered from an earlier spike that was about 20 percent higher.

With half of Saudi Arabia’s daily exports affected, and recent information that it would take weeks before normal production resumes, prices will remain higher even if Saudi and the US are committed to draw down on their stock reserves.

For the Philippines, which relies on about a third of its oil supplies from Saudi Arabia, there is scope for concern about the country’s ability to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of crude as well as products. Definitely, our 15-day inventory is not enough to cover for the event of severe supply tightness, although this kind of crisis is not yet on the horizon.

What is more worrying is the rise in prices, which would result in higher inflation, and ultimately, dampen economic growth for the rest of the year. It would be difficult to mount a new catch-up plan for this.

For now, there’s just speculation of how the countries involved in this global drama would play their cards. For sure, though, if there is an escalation of militarization from any one party, a $100-per-barrel crude oil price will not be far-fetched. That’s big trouble.

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