From the McKinsey Classics Newsletter (February 2011):
Every business wants additional earnings. It can find them in two ways: improving its current operations or developing new capabilities that could enhance its long-term corporate performance.
Top managers traditionally bore down on operations in recessions and mounted transformational initiatives only in good times. Many still do.
But as a 2003 McKinsey Quarterly article noted, “extreme operating pressures force line managers to make do with existing capabilities despite the need to adapt businesses to a relentlessly changing marketplace” — an adaptation that usually calls for basic, long-term change.
While the article was written from a recession perspective, the lesson to be learned is that long-term change is inevitable no matter what state the economy is in. Every business, large and small, should pay attention to trends and early indicators of pending changes. Making smart and timely decisions to take advantage of any new opportunities is key to business survival, let alone growth.
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