Ernst & Young’s international magazine
Growing Beyond How high performers are competing for growth in difficult times
Since the credit crunch and the ensuing ‘great recession’ of 2007–09, companies worldwide have been battling to survive, sustain and grow in what have continued to be highly adverse economic conditions.
For many in management, this has been a completely new experience. The ‘win/win’ years of a global boom have come to an abrupt stop. Most of the assumptions of the previous decades, particularly the ‘borrow to buy’ approach, have proven to be false friends.
Like most organisations, Ernst & Young’s clients have inevitably not been immune. In order to help them navigate the huge change and challenges they have encountered, we have invested in identifying and creating practical insights to give them a strong basis on which to plot the right way forward.
In 2008, we launched a major programme of research to understand the challenges that companies were facing and to seek to identify any lessons or best practices that could serve as a guide. The resultant report showed how high performers were reacting to the first wave of the credit crunch in seeking out 'Opportunities in adversity'. In 2009, we built on this with a study that analysed the 'Lessons from change', again focusing on the actions of the high performers. In early 2011, a further study explored how the high performers were 'Competing for growth' by adopting new strategies for new markets and new products, and taking new approaches to managing the talent that is essential to achieving their goals. One year on and we have taken a similar approach with this Growing Beyond study, examining how high performers have moved forward to identify lessons that may provide insight and help for others. But is our model still valid? Is sustainable growth still possible?