For change to happen
BUSINESS MATTERS (BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE) - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - June 13, 2020 - 12:00am

There was a time when initiating change in organizations was met with much resistance. When things were doing well, sales were increasing, growth was happening any attempt to change this would be resisted. Success, however, is never a one-shot deal. Success has to be sustainable and replicable. Changes and innovation initiatives have to be implemented. But rarely do these things happen. The only way that one can survive in a world of change is to create a lot of experimentations inside the organization.

There are all kinds of new commerce and experiments going on as people are testing and developing new business models. I have seen the transition of companies and industries from analog to digital. I have seen the transformation of manufacturing companies into becoming a service and solutions providing company. I have carefully observed the changes in consumer behavior brought about by the changing demographics and lifestyle. And changes continue to happen. I had to reinvent and innovate in order to stay relevant and pertinent in a world that continues to change.

In the old days, a strategy was always thought of as initiatives or movements that started at the top. The old coffee-drinking guys would come together, plot out a plan or a strategy and they roll it out in the organization. What happens in modern times seem to be a need to realize that strategy needs to roll up, not roll down. There has to be a constant attempt to try out business ideas. The entire company should be a laboratory of experiments. Most of these experiments fail as they always do, but when these experiments are small, you can afford some failures. To keep pace with change, you have to dramatically flatten the pyramid. And we must give more scope to people on the frontlines to try new ideas and to experiment and then to see whether they work or not.

When my daughter-boss Rachel and her team comes to me, she does not ask, “Dad, what are your plans and what do you plan to do?” She says, “our team has come up with an idea. And we want you to try this and that.” She would explain the rationale behind their strategy, and the only question I ask is: “What would you want me to do?” Sometimes she tells me what she needs in terms of support is funding. Sometimes all she needs from me is “pawis” (effort). Most often time, she would say, “We do not need you to do anything, but we just wanted to let you know about this new thing we want to try out.” The innovation takes place this way.

In more traditional organizations, if I have a new idea. I take that and present it to my boss. My boss now takes it and present that to his boss and sometimes forgetting to give the credit to the one who came up with the idea in the first place. Guess how much time it takes just for the idea to be given fair notice and review? Months? Good if the idea is still relevant but, in most cases, it no longer is.

For the idea to fight its way up the chain of command, expect that there will always be a person or a few more who can shoot down and kill the idea. Frustrating? You bet! And here is the rub. The same executives who took their sweet time to sit on the idea and eventually kill it would be the same people who would mouth cliché’s like, “I want you to think out of the box.” “We have to embrace innovation.” Not conscious that they are the “box” that fetters ideas and prevent innovation from happening.

The good news is that COVID-19 may be the catalyst for the change we have always wanted to happen. This unprecedented event does not have to happen to make us change. It has enforced change upon us.

And so, perhaps that which we wanted to do that have been stifled by corporate bureaucracy and executive egos will now have minds and hearts open for new ideas? I honestly don’t know. Sometimes God brings in a situation that forces us to change. Every person is now open to new ideas brought about by this unprecedented health threat. Maybe this time, change will happen.

(Bring your family, attend and take part in a live Webinar via Zoom this July 8-9, “Raising Future Leaders - Values, Virtues and Attitude with Chinkee Tan, Nove-Ann Tan and Francis Kong as they present winning ideas on Money Management, Online Education and Life Skills for Success. For further inquiries or registration email: or contact April at 0928-559-1798 or Abby at 0917-533-6817.)

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