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As the National Capital Region moves into general community quarantine, there has been a lot of talk surrounding how the “new normal” will be like and its perceived duration. Let us be clear that nobody knows the full extent of the “new normal.” From a business point of view, it is anybody’s best guess how drastic the changes will be in the coming months.

The post-lockdown business landscape is anything but stable, and enterprises will have to rethink their respective business models to adapt. Instead of relying on false optimism, more companies must look for a more grounded perspective on how to thrive through these trying times.

The quick and real solution is to have an honest and realistic conversation on your current market positioning against new evolving risks. The property market, for example, is cyclical at best. However, we cannot assume past cycles to recur and follow a similar plot line into the foreseeable future. The past decade has been nothing short of impressive, fueled by historically low interest rates and unforeseen market liquidity. We have to thank the global financial crisis for this expansion, but COVID-19 may change the rules yet again.

However, some key ingredients from the past will not change. The next 10 years is still expected to be as dynamic if we allow foreign investments in the Philippines. For this to happen, a collaboration enabled by public policies involving several industries and key government agencies such as the Philippine Economic Zone Authority must take shape and be prioritized immediately. Included here are tax reforms, which not only encompass corporate income taxes but levies on capital, property, and interest incomes as well.

Despite this quickly changing reality, it is still imperative for business owners and stakeholders to look long-term and focus on creating solutions with longevity. A successful pivot will make any company or business distinct if they tirelessly innovate on strategies and invest in technology to help recover and survive the crisis.

In the real estate industry, landlords have been quite conservative and meticulous in granting concessions. Very few have given discounts, but are more open to accommodating flexible terms when it comes to payment or other collections. As we live through a public health crisis, considerations must be equally extended to all—businesses and clients included. Goodwill might have to take a sidebar as the rest of the world grapple with the extreme global impacts of the pandemic.

Beyond just business, there is also a lot of opportunities for growth on a personal level. With decreasing social interaction due to physical distancing and contactless preventive measures, harnessing real relationships should also be a point of focus. It is important to be more present, to detach from your devices and invest your time in people and things that truly matter. It can be as simple as paying more attention to your marriage or family. You can also choose to further your education or improve your skills as better uses of your time.

Charity should also start at home, without it being too grand or costly. By simply lending a hand to a struggling colleague, or helping mentor a worker to help further his or her career, these invaluable sessions can be quite impactful throughout their lives.

As we navigate into unknown times while adapting to the “new normal,” it is tempting to focus on our own self-interests. However, the only thing we need to normalize is the pursuit of the infinite game. There are no winners in an infinite game, and the rules are always changing. We have always played to win, but these are times when many will be losers. And, as mentioned, the rules have begun to shift. COVID-19 is a tough reminder what game we are playing.

This piece was also published on the Philippine Daily Inquirer on its July 26, 2020 issue. Click here to view.