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  • Writer's pictureTom Doorley

A Better Recovery This Time: (re)Ignite Growth #1

Updated: Jun 17, 2021

Our recovery from the 2008 global recession was historically slow as this chart from the NYT demonstrates:

In 2016 I analyzed, in Columbia’s Business School's magazine Ideas and Insights, the primary sources of this laggard recovery. It was due, in short, to business leaders who appropriately hunkered down at the outset of the meltdown but stayed in the bunkers too long. (note: Fed policy also played a role, but I did not want to open that rabbit hole.)

With this memory emblazoned in our minds as the Covid Storm hit we, and others, began a journey to find ways to do much better this time. Our approach was to convene a set of conversations, webinars, with a sharp focus on how to (re)Ignite Growth as the storm abated. Our goal: to share our learning and experience and that of our ‘friends of Sage’ with as broad an audience as feasible. Some, like McKinsey and Company, provided deep research. Our tact was to leverage the insights of CEOs as they fought through the storm, in real-time.

And we learned a lot. For example, from a wise governance guru: “The challenge for leaders is to take, in the face of the crisis, growth-oriented risks. It is a tough job to balance sustaining the enterprise with building a new future, but that’s what great leaders do.” And we found great leaders following his lead. Our panelist Karen Colberg, co-CEO, of King Arthur Baking, described how they kept moving forward with a major rebranding program initiated just as the crisis hit. She could have set it aside as demand for their products overwhelmed capacity; instead, she drove forward. It is what great leaders do.

As our learning grew we created a model to describe the elements of how to (re)Ignite Growth, which is relevant not just for responding to this crisis, but for any organization whose growth has turned from robust to moribund and for any cause.

In future notes my Sage Partners and I will delve into the elements of this powerful model.

Recent economic indicators show a far stronger rebound this time, e.g. WSJ June 3rd “The Recovery is here and without Parallel”. While collectively, we are not yet fully out of the Covid Storm we can see the end from here. If we can continue to keep the (re)Ignite Growth lessons in mind we will see a new [normal] with strong job creation as improving economies deliver the promise of a better future. We at Sage Partners are proud to have contributed to this future.

Sage Partner Thomas Doorley III contributed this Sage Advice.

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