Succeeding in Uncertain Times

Succeeding in Uncertain Times

          
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Succeeding in Uncertain Times

Management in a Two-Speed Economy, Strategy
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  • It is spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Temperatures are rising, the leaves are in bud, and the green shoots of a new season are all around us. These changes inspire optimism. Many observers are seeing reasons for optimism in the global economy as well. As it happens, spring 2011 also brought signs of economic optimism. But the green shoots of recovery turned out to be less robust than many hoped.

    The plethora of conflicting economic signals and interpretations is confusing and undermines the ability of company executives to take a long-term view. The result for many Western companies has been to hoard cash and shy away from long-term investment. We have argued for a long time that structural issues argue for slow long-term growth in the West and better growth in the East and the South. Since September 2008, rather like a broken record, we have made the same arguments. Our fundamental point has always been this: companies should accept that we face tough economic headwinds in the West, obsess less about short-term indicators, recognize that low growth is very different from contraction, and grasp the initiative.

    The main purpose of this paper is to argue that we can and should lift our sights above the economic news. Many companies have found ways to prosper in spite of external constraints. Below we describe the actions that some of them have taken. The future, after all, belongs to those who take their destiny into their own hands.

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