The Lopez Group is primed for a post-pan - demic reset with the Lopez Learning Synergy Summit (LLSS), themed “The Great Reset: Shaping the Way to A New Future.” The First Balfour-sponsored summit tallied 1,314 registrants— the highest ever—and, at its peak, had 933 attendees watching online.
Mercedes Lopez Vargas, chair of summit organizer Lopez Group HR Council, officially declared the summit open as she introduced First Philippine Holdings Corporation (FPH) president Giles Puno, the afternoon’s keynote speaker.
The three-parter’s first segment, “Reflect: Conversations on the Business Landscape,” was anchored by PwC managing director Raoul Villegas and UnionBank of the Philippines (UB) chief marketing officer Albert Cuadrante.
Villegas delved into the characteristics of a BANI (brittle, anxious, nonlinear and incomprehensible) world and the tools organizations can use to prepare for it.
BANI, which replaces the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) model of the 1980s, was cre - ated by anthropologist and futurist Jamais Cascio nearly a decade ago; in 2020, a few weeks into the pandemic, he expounded on the concept in his article, “Facing the Age of Chaos.”
Villegas said techniques from classical thinking, like inversion (working backwards from multiple scenarios), second-order and third-order thinking (“these are the primary events, what are the secondary and tertiary events?”), probabilistic thinking (the probability of certain things happening while taking into account their magnitude if and when they happen) and thought experiments (imagining outcomes or solutions to problems) can be utilized to overcome modern-day problems.
Ways to improve thinking
“These ways to improve thinking are never going to go out of date. I also submit to you that the senior management of the Lopez Group has already been applying these principles very well,” Villegas concluded.
Cuadrante shared how UB, one of the country’s largest banks, is dealing with a BANI world through “reverse BANI.”
INAB stands for intelligence (being data-driven in one’s analyses and strategies, and leveraging technology to refine external and internal data); nurturing (taking care of both customers and employees); agile (remaining ahead in a BANI environment hinges on agility); and boldness (UB took “digitize or perish” to heart as it embarked on its digitalization journey in 2016).
Cuadrante pointed out that digital transformation is not only about technology. The other elements—digital business strategy and culture, staff and customer engagement, process and innovation, and data and analytics—are needed to ensure the transformation is wholistic but “more importantly, sustainable.”
An insightful panel discussion with First Balfour president Anthony Fernandez and Rockwell Land chief revenue officer Valerie Lopez-Soliven followed the presentations.
LinkedIn Talent Solutions country manager Bhavana Chauhan and TaskUs director for wellness and resiliency-Asia Vina Paglicawan, PCC took over for the penultimate segment, “Reimagine: Conversations on the Future of Work.”
Shift to green skills
Singapore based Chauhan elaborated on the shift to green skills and jobs they are already seeing on their platform—jobs which she said are the catalysts for realworld change.
She cited the results of their Global Green Skills Report where the share of green talent in the workplace rose from 9.6% in 2015 to 13.3% in 2022, while 10% of all job postings over the past year required candidates to possess at least one green skill.
Green skills, Chauhan explained, enable the environmental sustainability of economic activities, while green jobs are occupations that require extensive knowledge of green skills.
She suggested that leaders invest in upskilling current and future green talent by, among others, hiring diverse talent with green skills and by reimagining some roles as most green skills come into play in jobs that are not usually considered green.
TaskUs’ Paglicawan interacted with the audience through a brief mindfulness activity before offering a tool to counter BANI—“RAAT” (resilience, attention, adaptation, transparency).
RAAT, which is another concept from Cascio, involves demonstrating resilience as leaders; paying attention to the things around us as a way to gain clarity and self-awareness; adapting and having a growth mindset; and being transparent amidst incomprehensibility.
“What we can do as leaders is be transparent. We can tell our people ‘I don’t understand this, I don’t have an explanation for this’ and ‘Let me figure it out as we go along,’” Paglicawan noted.
The fruitful discussion capping this segment was joined by Beth Nasol, Energy Development Corporation (EDC) head of HR management.
Updates on clusters
The summit allowed attendees to get updated on the various clusters of the Lopez Synergy in Action (LSA) first launched during the LLSS 2020. Through the LSA breakout sessions, participants learned about the latest of the social responsibility efforts across the Lopez Group, specifically on the humanitarian, livelihood and environment clusters, as well as the intercluster initiative in Lobo, Batangas.
Presenting for the humanitarian cluster were Sikat Foundation executive director Catherine Cabrillos and EDC emergency management expert Dr. Ted Esguerra; ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. integration and area development head Jen Santos for the livelihood cluster; and First Gen CSR senior manager Janice Dugan for the Lobo initiative. OML Center executive director Dr. Rodel Lasco, meanwhile, discussed the Philippines’ sea-level rise problem.
For the third segment, “Reset: Conversations on Sustainability,” Madridbased Acciona sustainability manager Elena Mendez, UA&P Center for Social Responsibility executive director Prof. Colin Hubo and Global Reporting Initiative country manager Ma. Katreena Pillejera exchanged insights on decarbonization initiatives and the role of businesses in building a more resilient future.
Another highlight of the summit was the message delivered by Sec. Toni YuloLoyzaga of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources who called for the urgent prioritization of shared values, synergy, commitment and collaboration to confront the climate emergency.
“… The Lopez Group has already adopted the mitigation hierarchy principles of avoid, minimize, rehabilitate and compensate across many of your projects and programs. I would urge you, then, to please continue to spread the word. Together, we can change the mindset that we are in a zero-sum game wherein economic development always comes at the price of environmental destruction,” she stated.
FPH Group chairman Federico R. Lopez, in his closing message, talked about the steps to solving climate change as well as the world’s transition to net zero. (With Dolly Ramos)