As we hit the end of the first half of the year, we can welcome the month of June with renewed vigor and paradigm in the coming days. Some entities may be doing a mid-year evaluation against market share and sales target goals set forth at the beginning of the year. This time also allows brands to be more agile by recalibrating strategies and tactics that address unforeseen competitive, technological and socio-political activities rapidly taking place for the past months. There are victories to appreciate, pains to grip, and chaos to contain, which managers must recognize to generate strong financial reports in a volatile and ambiguous global market.
At this time, it is also fitting to review the non-quantifiable metrics businesses aim for, such as the “soul of a business.” Michael Czinkota, a professor at Georgetown University and University of Kent, acknowledges that managers must not only care about the bottom line. He noted that “companies are focusing too much on hedging risks, ousting their competitors, maximizing profits and expanding assets, and forget the cardinal rule of human decency: reverence for others.”
This should remind us that the consumers who fuel our pockets should be felt and understood as beings beyond transactional numbers to calculate, figures to hit, and puppets to control. Sometimes, a short-term loss may be needed to allow sustainable returns. Businesses can reap the benefits of a long-term paradigm as consumers repeat their purchases and gladly initiate unprompted positive word-of-mouth. One step back resulting from a potential profit loss may lead to meaningful leaps when done in the context of sincerity, courage and truthfulness for the welfare of others.
“Don’t hate the player, but hate the game,” is a popular euphemism used when we put the magnitude of accountability on a system built for survival rather than contest the actors and actresses controlling a script. At De La Salle University, where I teach, we impart in our future business leaders the relevance of confronting a wounded world in need of heartfelt honesty and raw authenticity. But the acid test comes outside the classrooms; as we are shown by the dog-eat-dog complex world to act otherwise. We had been conditioned to be blind to appreciate a bigger picture. At times when we decide to say, “game over,” others may refuse to get out of the playing field revolving around deceit, manipulation and coercion. But we have a personal influence to make a choice.
We can encourage ourselves and start all over again, this time with more clarity and discernment on how we can truly address others’ needs. We may also choose not to become the player to begin with, even at the expense of being doubted for the open relational intention beyond a one-time commercial transaction. We can hate the players, quit the game and find a battlefield not meant for conquest but for reverence.
We can reset to a starting point mid-year. We can forge a stronger second half. We can recognize in the middle of the journey that achieving targets does not necessarily equate to stronger relationships. At times when we are about to go to sleep, it is possible to ponder on the essence of winning; that a higher score does not always equate to a victory one can be truly proud of. We can rebuild what had been damaged real-time, all the time. As we turn the page of our calendars, we must be reminded that resetting mid-year is no less than re-setting any day of the year as we accept misleading expectations to clarify, permanent scars to deal with, and souls to nourish in our business and personal pursuits.
Ireene Leoncio is an aspiring global citizen who was born and raised in Manila. She is a faculty member of the Marketing and Advertising Department of the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business of De La Salle University. Leoncio earned her master’s degree in Washington D.C. and is an incoming PhD Marketing research student in the United Kingdom. She worked for multinational companies managing global brands in Manila, New York City and the San Francisco Bay area. The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty and its administrators.