In Focus: How to Achieve Meaningful Growth in a Flat-Growth Environment

When it seems that the economic gods have hit the pause button – aka ordained that the economy shall now be sluggish  — senior executives can either hunker down, look over their shoulder or look around — for a strategy that will enable their firm to pull itself up and out of the rut of stagnation, onto a trajectory of modest, single-digit growth.

The latter option does not imply a Pollyannaish view of the world. In the flat and difficult environment in which most countries and companies operate these days, numerous companies are discovering that they can buck the trend. One- or two-percent growth – or even negative growth – may be the norm, but as in any endeavour, the norm is merely an opportunity to raise the bar.

Some of the articles in this issue of the Ivey Business Journal describe very different – but effective – strategies that senior managers can deploy to achieve meaningful growth in a flat environment. Some look outside – to adopting an emergent strategy that evolves as markets and conditions themselves evolve, and to looking for the seams in emerging markets, seams that, properly considered, represent opportunities to establish a foothold. Others look inside, to strategies that can extract growth from existing clients to modifying pricing policies and strategies. 

I would also like to draw your attention to the article by Peter Voyer, who writes about Leadership. In a way, Peter’s perspective is a refreshing change from that of an academic, or a practitioner or consultant. But it’s also more compelling, probably even unenviable.  Peter is a senior artillery officer in the Canadian Army and he recently returned from an assignment in Afghanistan. An Ivey PhD, Peter writes about the qualities that a leader on the battlefield needs to have and why leaders of corporations and other institutions need to have the very same qualities.

I hope that you derive good value from reading the articles in this issue of the Ivey Business Journal. Moreover, I hope that, to some extent, they inform your own approach to Leadership, growth and the other activities in which you and your colleagues engage to improve the practice of management. 

Stephen Bernhut