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  • Writer's pictureGreg Cowling

Great Recession Learnings

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

This HBR article was written on the back of the last “Great Recession of 2007” and I was reflecting on it, given current challenges. The research looked at the actions and responses of many companies, identifying which of them struggled and failed, and which thrived and prospered. “Progressive” companies were identified that seemed to get the balance right; cutting back on costs but at the same time investing in marketing and R&D which put them in a position to ‘roar’ out of the recession ahead of their competition. While the article won’t provide all answers for challenged airlines, oil & gas explorers, or commercial property magnates, it does provide a useful framework for leaders to think about balancing attention and efforts at this time, to both controlling costs but also investing it the future. There was highly differential business performance for companies operating in the same sector after the last recession, often dependant on speed and agility of leaders to make critical decisions and adapt and reset swiftly. CEO skills coupled with wise Board counsel can seldom be more important.

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