Wave of change


The people’s assembly

The changes around us are simply dizzying. We have restaurants using robots to serve food. We can now pay with our smart phones instead of physical, tangible money. Some supermarkets, including ours, have automated check-out counters. I just read about the wonderful possibilities (and dangers) of ChatGPT — a natural language processing tool driven by artificial intelligence — from answering questions and assist people with tasks, such as composing emails, essays, and code. As a result, a number of jobs will likely become obsolete because of AI technology.
It’s amazing and frightening.

But changes are a part of life. There is nothing we can do about the constancy of change. That in fact is the very dynamic of life, it never stays still, life keeps on unfolding. We cannot control it. But there is something we can control — how we react and adapt to change. Charles Darwin perfectly summed it up when he wrote: “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”

The usual reaction is to resist change. There is a sense of stability and calm in maintaining the status quo. But there is also the danger of obsolescence, when you keep hanging on to the past as the future passes by. This happens a lot in business. Sometimes, everything seemed to be perfect when you start a business — you have a great understanding of the context you want to address, you have the right product or service, you have the perfect vision and mission and the strategy is spot on. But times change, and your business has to adapt.

This is the perfect explanation to our recent announcement that Vista Land & Lifescapes will aggressively pursue the development of 44 estates spread across 23 cities nationwide and our gradual retreat from low-cost housing. We will gradually shift from very low-end horizontal development to vertical and estate because that is the way of the future. This is us responding to the demands of the market and the economic and demographic shift of the country.

We have always been known for horizontal developments. Through Camella we have built beautifully designed communities in 47 cities and municipalities in 49 provinces across the Philippines. This strategy was tightly woven with the Filipino dream of owning a house and building a home for their families. But that Filipino dream has evolved primarily due to changes in our population as well as socio-economic standing.

Over the past years the country has had the largest generation of young people in our history. Based on the latest census, about 30 million young people between the ages of 10-24 account for 28 percent of the Philippine population. And their needs and wants have been shaped by the changing times. While owning a house with a backyard somewhere in the outskirts of Manila remains the dream for some, a growing number of young urban professionals in the major cities of the country have been attracted to the convenience and security of high-rise condominiums.

The millennials have embraced the trend of condo living primarily because of their location and accessibility. As they begin to build their own lives, create their own family, think of their kids’ future and other factors, millennials consider other important factors in purchasing their own home such as the location near their workplace, near transportation hubs, school and others that would entirely makes sense for them.

Herein lies the key difference between an entrepreneurial mind and a managerial mind. The manager is basically an organization person planning, organizing, directing, coordinating and looking at, and crunching the numbers. An entrepreneur may do all these as well but is primarily interested in understanding how his vision can be achieved. And a major component of that goal is understanding and reacting to the changes that happen in his environment. A manager wants stability but an entrepreneur expects changes and is prepared to act in order to adapt to these major shifts. And this is very important in the sustainability of enterprises.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “When you’re finished changing, you're finished.” (For comments, please send email to: [email protected] and/or http://www.mannyvillar.com.)