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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Management and The Growth Challenge

Robert Bruner, Dean of the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, observes:

"Economic indicators suggest that growth of the world economy is slowing. High commodity prices and fear about future conditions are driving investors and customers out of the market. What would it take to restore us to sensible growth?"

His answer? "Probably many things. But among these would certainly be good general management."

Recent research at Darden reinforces this notion in the context of the growing firm. Ed Hess, professor at Darden has been studying the role of general managers in producing long stretches of organic growth within companies.

Hess's research confirms that: ...building a stretch of strong internal growth depends on creating “a seamless, consistent, self-reinforcing alignment across strategy, execution processes, structure, leadership, culture, HR policies, accountability, technology, measurement and rewards. In other words, good growth leaders are able to think in a systems integrative mindset across functions."

Bruner's research shows that " be a consistent high performance company, strategy is not enough- you must be a great execution company. And to be a great execution company you need a deep bench of good servant leaders, high employee engagement, customer centricity, and a good technology platform across your company-especially your supply chain."

BOTTOMLINE: "This is the power of integration and alignment. General management is a way of thinking - a mindset which appreciates the integrative complexity of human behavior.”

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