Seeing the good in ‘goodbyes’

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IREENE LEONCIO

In the business world, a key success metric of a market launch is product longevity. A venture is deemed unsuccessful if products are pulled out from the market because there is a lack of ample demand that could generate a positive bottom line. This could be due to inadequate market research, poor allocation of resources, or an inability to keep the loyalty of customers. Other possible causes could be insufficient rationalization of a complex portfolio, or the successful pre-emption by competition.

To say “goodbye” to the potential of an endowed project is perceived as business damage. It is no surprise that managers fear the uncertainty and volatility of the market place.

Deciding to quit is often accompanied by several “what ifs.” What if the upper management’s decision to exit was made prematurely? What if the game-changing innovation to be killed just needs more promotional push? But these are the easier “what if” statements as we put the blame on external scenarios and other decision-makers, instead of managers admitting a poor professional move made within ones’ capacity. What if the culprit is the clouded judgment of managers who refuse to admit their mistake?

Last month, the Department of Tourism’s decision to part ways with McCann Worldgroup made headlines. The department cited its intolerance to an alleged “plagiarism” of a recently launched campaign similar to a foreign advertising. In the advertising world, winning a pitch for a client’s project is a celebration that fuels the industry. However, ending a contract may lead to a decrease in revenue.


On a personal note, I experienced anxiety when I treated an exit as a setback and assumed continuity as a badge of honor. Midway to my discernment, I came to realize that I used business thinking to assess a personal move. Our human time clock has an end, whereas businesses are managed as ongoing entities expected to outlive a person’s lifetime. In failing to see the good in “goodbyes,” at times it takes me longer than necessary to end toxic relationships, to discard unnecessary possessions or to exit a comfort zone that hampers my ability to experience life in depth.

In a couple of months, I will be physically separating myself from the people and place that I love the most—my students at De La Salle University and my home country, the Philippines. As I move to Europe this fall semester to take on further studies for several precious years, I am departing with an awareness of the beauty in uncertainty and the possibilities in ambiguity. I am ready to devour the bittersweet revelation of what the journey will yield.

I am saying “goodbye” to the community that had brought immeasurable joy and mesmerizing pride in myself. Teaching in my home country had been one of my greatest accomplishments, and had brought meaning to my 34 years of existence. I am not guaranteed of what is ahead in a different territory, but I am certain to celebrate the best and worst that come with my “goodbye.” I am exiting. I am detaching. I am seeing the good in the journey ahead.

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 DC 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.

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