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strategy and business
 / Spring 2009 / Issue 54(originally published by Booz & Company)


7 Ways Forward

How to rebuild your capabilities for long-term growth in a time of turmoil.

Illustration by Felix Sockwell

In mid-September 2008, as the credit collapse acceler­ated into full-scale economic meltdown, the world’s attention naturally turned to triage and recovery. Booz & Company, which publishes strategy+business, was the first major management consulting firm to respond.

The firm’s experts quickly developed a set of guides for businesses making their way through the downturn, be­ginning with an article by CEO Shumeet Banerji (“Navigating through the Financial Crisis”), published on the Web on October 3.

It was already apparent that not all companies were equally affected. As Banerji wrote, “These times, though unnerving for some, will create great opportunity for many companies. Industry structure is fundamentally reshaped by discontinuity.”

How, then, can a leader ensure that his or her company ends up among the winners? That’s the question answered in the essays that follow. Adapted from Booz & Company re­ports on the downturn, each assesses long-term growth prospects from the perspective of an industry, function, or region. Together, they add up to a comprehensive view of the emerging post-meltdown economic landscape.

Art Kleiner

1. Manufacturing: Diagnosing This Downturn

2. Consumer Products: Some Brands Win

3. China: Cautious Activists

4. Aerospace and Defense: Assault on Risk


5. Telecom: Exceeding Expectations

6. Japan: Lessons from a Lost Decade

7. Finance: Facing the Liquidity Challenge

Afterword: Toward Holistic Recovery

Reprint No. 09104

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  1. Shumeet Banerji, “Navigating through the Financial Crisis,” Booz & Company white paper, October 2008: How the downturn may lead to a saner financial system and create opportunity. 
  2. John Kenneth Galbraith, A Short History of Financial Euphoria (Whittle, 1990): Analysis of historical bubbles (from Dutch tulip speculation to the Japanese bubble) concluding that the common root cause is leverage.
  3. Klaus-Peter Gushurst, Ivan de Souza, and Vanessa Wallace, “Taking a Calmer View,” Booz & Company white paper, October 2008: Explains why, for the financial-services industry, a sustainable new regime will emerge out of the severity of the downturn.
  4. Bill Jackson, Paul Branstad, and Shumeet Banerji, “Rethink Your Strategy: An Urgent Memo to the CEO” (PDF), Booz & Company white paper, December 2008: The bold moves a corporate leader must make in the aftermath of this crisis.
  5. Paul Leinwand, Leslie H. Moeller, and K.B. Shriram, “Consumer Spending in the Economic Downturn,” Booz & Company white paper, October 2008: Survey of American households portrays a differentiated response to the downturn: Outside-the-home activity shrinks, whereas brand loyalty remains.
  6. Leslie Moeller, James Ryan, and Juan Carlos Webster, “A Breakaway Opportunity for ‘Inferior’ Products,” s+b Leading Ideas Online, 09/16/08: As consumers trade down in their purchases, companies need to adjust their offerings.
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