Preparing for the New World by Adi Ignatius, Harvard Business Review

Never make predictions,” the baseball legend Casey Stengel once cautioned, “especially about the future.” It’s a good general rule, but we’re going to indulge ourselves this month anyway. In this issue a trio of McKinsey authors offer a sobering vision of the changing economic landscape—and some interesting ideas about how to manage it.

In “The Future and How to Survive It,” Richard Dobbs, Tim Koller, and Sree Ramaswamy argue that we are at the end of what has been a remarkable and long-running era of global growth. The business environment is about to become especially challenging for Western multinationals, which will have to cope with both a slowdown and agile new competitors.

Global revenue will continue to increase, they write, but profits will fall back to earth. That will create winners and losers, of course, and the authors offer suggestions on how Western companies can improve their chances for success.

Those companies, they say, should give in to paranoia and acknowledge the preponderance of new rivals. They should radically self-disrupt before others disrupt them. And they should wage a veritable war for talent to attract and keep the best managers and technical staff.

The article makes a convincing case that the boom is over. But nimble companies can still prosper—as long as they’re able to adapt to the new normal.

Source: A version of this article appeared in the October 2015 issue (p.14) of Harvard Business Review.

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