Risk management is erring on the side of preparation rather than on the side of celebration

Is information that we get from politicians, celebrities, and business people reliable? Think about it. These are people who’s job it is to tell people what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear. Politicians want potential voters to think that they have a bright future that they will, presumably, be led to by said politicians. Businessmen making a sizeable investment in a country will always express their “bullishness” about the market of said country — because share prices rise on the back of positive perceptions. Celebrities will tell people what their sponsors, producers, and directors tell them to say.

Who then fills the void where being realistic on the bases of objective facts is the primary goal? It’s simple, really. People who don’t have agendas.

Relying on politicians, traditional media, and the business community for information on what the future potentially holds is like relying on a Toyota salesman for advise on what the best car to buy is. The Toyota salesman will give you the best options available — as long as they are all Toyota options.

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Take, for example, the way AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes gushes about the Philippines

“This is an amazing country. Every time I go there, I love it even more. In ASEAN, Philippines is probably the best economy right now. In past years, you’ve lagged behind but because of political reforms, openness, you are catching up with the best economies… Philippines is the one I keep telling people about during conferences, the one I’m most bullish about in ASEAN,” Fernandes told reporters at the sidelines of the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget last week.

Most Filipinos will eat all that up and fail to see Fernandes’s real agenda which, if people applied a bit more brain to what they read, can be gleaned from what Fernandes says next…

“Philippines has 2 million tourists, Malaysia has 20 million tourists. Something’s not right. You have a beautiful country. You have so much more to offer than Malaysia. We think we can contribute to that,” he said.

Fernandes noted the Philippines has a lot of tourism potential, which the airline can help develop.

But of course. When you run an airline in the Philippines, there’s lots of money to be made if the Philippines lifts its tourism game. It’s a thing called “growth potential”. If Malaysia can rake in 20 million tourists, it follows that the Philippines can potentially pull an additional 18 million visitors through its entry ports.

AirAsia needs those suckers. In a rare stroke of journalistic insight, that quoted ABS-CBN News report provides this notable bit of contextual information:

While AirAsia Philippines has yet to turn a profit since it started operations in 2011, Fernandes said he expects the unit to post a profit in the fourth quarter.

“I think Q4 this year but hopefully, we can try to do it earlier,” he said.

AirAsia’s Philippine unit is also eyeing an IPO by 2017.

There you go.

So now the right question to ask easily comes to us in hindsight following the above insight…

Why does AirAsia’s Tony Fernandes say that he is “bullish” about the Philippines?

Answer: Fernandes has to say all that — because he needs to talk up the market for Philippine tourism to get lots of bums on his planes’ seats. With an IPO for his beleaguered Philippine operations looming in the horizon, Fernandes as CEO needs to make AirAsia’s Philippine adventure work. Happy shareholders keep CEOs employed.

Armed with this insight, we now need to ask ourselves: When someone like Fernandes and, again, anyone with an agenda tells us that they are optimistic about the Philippines, should we be taking that as The Truth?

That’s not to say that being optimistic is necessarily bad. The point being made here is more about the benefits of applying a critical mind to digesting information served to us by people we are told to believe. When we are pessimistic by default and optimistic by exception, we become better managers of our destinies.

It means that we err on the side of preparation rather than celebration.

The above philosophy towards risk management is a close cousin of an ethic of focusing on results rather than promise. Unfortunately for Filipinos we apply the wrong sorts of thinking to the imporant task of charting our destinies: Pwede na yan (“that’ll do”) when it comes to preparation and bahala na (“come what may”) when it comes to foresight. It’s a recipe for absolute failure — which is why the Philippines is where it is today.

5 Replies to “Risk management is erring on the side of preparation rather than on the side of celebration”

  1. The question also applies to religion. The Filipinos who met the Europeans who first taught Catholicism didn’t seem to challenge what is being preached (At least that’s what I have read so far). Surprisingly, even now, a few Filipino doesn’t even try to question the religion they’re at. Either they are just keeping a tradition, easily convinced (naïve or gullible), or just wants to a sense of belonging – Not there for the right reasons. Mind you, God himself does not approve of blindly following him. I think He likes it (“blessed is the man who believes but didn’t see) but he encourages it too if a person will supply himself with reasons and principles for worshiping God (Romans 12:1) so that that person cannot be easily swayed when questioned.

    I’ve never seen a political debate so far where candidates are sweating out because the audience are grilling them for their promises and intentions for running. I saw them sweating because they danced as requested. They’re agenda are rarely challenged. And yet when a candidate wins and did something crazy, those who voted for him immediately asks for his “blood.” Who’s fault is it that you put a joke in office? You didn’t even ask what’s on his mind when he ran.

    Rizal said the youth is the hope of the nation. When he said this I think he was referring to the generation next to his. Unfortunately, most of the people even in this generation I think is still clueless on how to be critical minded. Am I pessimistic? I’m not. I said “most of the people.” I’m still confident with the rest.

  2. I have learned that nothing is certain except for the need to have strong risk management, a lot of cash, the willingness to invest even when the future is unclear, and great people.

  3. If you believe anything people say; then you are a born “Sucker”…

    People, especially ; politicians, salespeople, people with hidden agendas to promote; will say things to impress you; to blindside you. So that
    they can get your approval; or make a sale. Politicians do this; to get your vote and support.

    The best example is Aquino’s “Kung walang kurap, walang mahirap…” If you think clearly; you will never find a nation, on the face of this Planet Earth, Where there is no corruption. It is a “Pie in the Sky”, political slogan, concocted to deceive the Filipino people…plain and simple.

  4. His optimism sucks if he’s like the rest of the Pinoy crowd, like the unthinking and proud Pinoys and lame officials who think there’s a bright future ahead even without changing anything spoiling good opportunities. There are still great hindrances to the growth of tourism. Must also work on taking away the hindrances before imagining the number of chicks in unhatched eggs. Unless he’s prepared to lie to meet expectations.


    ang problema kasi lahat ng lang copy sa america or from the west. so, pag pumumpunta dito ang mga westerners, sabihin nila, “we have that already . .”
    everything is a copy from the west lalo na dito sa metro manila, urbanization gone wrong. who would want to see that? jeepney?

    sabi nga ng bayaw ko nung pumunta sila dito, “damn these jeepneys. i’m sorry guys but really these things are annoying they stop anywhere.” and i agree with him.

    my ideas for tourism

    Standard Housing:

    sana ung mga bahay dito is standardized na parang hut ung style pero pag pasok mo sa loob modern naman at modern materials ang gamit. eh hindi eh. kanya kanyang design. eye sore. bagsak kaagad tourism.

    an example of the house i’m talking about ung dun sa pearl farm, davao city along the beach. ung nakatayo sa dagat. LOL. sana kung ganun ang standard house natin. naaayon pa sa environment. takaw tingin un kasi base sa environment eh.

    more forest in each city lalo na sa barangays. each hut will have a coconut tree + cacao tree. hindi lang ma-enjoy ang coconut may cacao ka pa.

    Fire Trees in each barangay roads perfectly aligned

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