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3 April 2020 – To guide executives through the uncertainties resulting from COVID-19, Makati Business Club launched a weekly webinar series with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). 

The first session — “Leading Through COVID-19 and Beyond” — featured insights from BCG managing directors Anthony Oundjian in Manila and Peter Tollman in Boston. The discussion examined the impact and implications of COVID-19 in the Philippines, and how companies and leaders can respond.

With one of the strictest lockdowns in the region and among developing countries, the Philippines is at risk of slumping into a deep economic shock if labor, capital, and productivity remain inactive during this period. While a recession is inevitable, Oundjian stressed that the Philippines can still mitigate the economic damages through effective policy and leadership. Oundjian also shared that increased work-from-home and other digital adaptation is a “microeconomic legacy” of COVID-19, an economic change that will last beyond the crisis. 

Tollman focused on the leader’s role in the crisis through a three-step roadmap: 1) Tackle immediate priorities by decentralizing decision-making, 2) Prepare for economic rebound by seeking advantage in adversity, and 3) Plan for the new reality post-crisis by resetting team operations and accelerating the adoption of digital technology. Tollman encouraged business leaders to establish visibility during the crisis by purposefully engaging with stakeholders, clients, and next gen leaders. Tollman added, “If [executives] don’t communicate and listen actively, [executives] won’t know how to respond effectively.”