• Institute of Corporate Directors

The CoVid-19 Phenom

Updated: May 29

Into the Unknown

In only the first quarter of 2020 we have already faced a couple of end-of-the-world scenarios. In January we had to deal with the fallout of Taal's near eruption. In February, the Coronavirus (CoVid-19) made itself known and today we are faced with the seemingly exponential rise in CoVid-19 patient infections. With any potential vaccine still far off on the horizon, it feels there is little hope left, if any at all.

We have been hearing news all around the world about the number of confirmed cases and deaths, country lockdowns, travel bans, and strategies on how to respond to the outbreak (Figure 1 presents a summary of cases as of 10 March 2020).

Closer to home, there is a growing fear and paranoia among Filipinos as the reported cases rise and as the government implements community quarantine. As of 10 March, Philippines has 33 confirmed CoVid-19 patients (Figures 2 & 3 below shows details of confirmed cases in the country).

Even in ICD, its Board, Program Committee, and Management decided to postpone the 26 March 2020 Corporate Governance Conference (CGCON): How T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Creates Sustainable Businesses. A project close to my heart as I have been working with an amazing team for almost a year or so in order to deliver a one of a kind conference with global speakers, tech innovators and business leaders. In terms of operations, we are also introducing online meetings and interviews, as well as ensuring protocols are in place for the safety of employees and other stakeholders.

What amazes me, as the potency of the “panic-high” subsides and fluctuates, we see businesses respond likewise. Instead of fear, companies embrace reality and do the best course of action. Board of Directors are called for collective leadership towards reviewing the strategic direction, oversight, policies and accountability in this challenging time. Business community plans are being prepared. Compressed work hours and telecommuting are suddenly being implemented. CEOs and management teams are rethinking their business models and approach. Online meetings, events, and other platforms are being explored. Suddenly, the world is becoming smaller as travel restrictions and quarantine periods are imposed. Moreover, there is a growing awareness and attention to health, good lifestyle and hygiene. Things are happening fast and everyone has to respond because in a crisis what else is there to do but the next right thing.

I sometimes wonder, when will this all end? How will this all end?

As I reflect on this and as I listen to the playlist of Frozen the movie with my 19-month old toddler, I never thought that the movie would help give perspective to what we are currently experiencing. Into the Unknown indeed. A verse in one of the Frozen songs rings in my head:

"This grief has a gravity, it pulls me down But a tiny voice whispers in my mind You are lost, hope is gone But you must go on And do the next right thing... Can there be a day beyond this night?" Just like Princess Anna in Frozen, who in the movie, faced seemingly insurmountable odds, we, too, face the same: a local shortage of testing kits, people hoarding masks and medical supplies and a never ending stream of new cases. Similar with the seeming demise of Queen Elsa, the Philippine business community is threatened with unprecedent crisis never seen before. I cannot stop thinking, has CoVid-19 dominated our lives?

We are shaping history. Maybe history is also reshaping us. I ponder once more on what CoVid-19 will mean as I hold my daughter’s hand while humming together the song. While accepting the need to grieve, encourages us to continue, to keep on moving, and to do the next right thing against all odds. Take one step and another and another until you see the light.... Together.... Into the Unknown.

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