By Bob Moritz
We live in challenging times. Recovery, bailouts, stimulus, reform, regulation—this dizzying menu of unfolding events has led to an abundance of widely diverging views, all vying for attention. As you might expect, the state of the economy continues to divide economists and business leaders into negative and positive camps. And there’s plenty of evidence to support both sides. Where do I stand? My position is one of optimism—a position that I believe I share with a growing number of successful businesses. Let me explain.
There’s no question that the optimism we felt in January about the recovery has been dampened by a turnaround that is slower than expected. Unemployment remains high, the housing market is stagnant, and deficits are raging. But those developments are not the whole story. On the brighter side, corporate profits are up, financial stocks rallied at the prospect of substantive reform, and dealmaking is accelerating. Therefore, while uncertainty continues to reign in our economy, there is plenty about which we can be hopeful. And many businesses—PwC included—are not allowing a sluggish recovery to derail plans for moving their organizations forward.
Over the past few months, my conversations with CEOs have borne this out. They’ve pared back their optimism a bit, but they’re certainly not throwing in the towel. Some companies are accelerating their strategic agendas. They are, in a sense, retooling to adapt to new circumstances and taking advantage of opportunities in technology, cost containment, talent availability, and global business.
In short, there’s a new dynamic in play, one in which both caution and optimism coexist. Right now, there’s a delicate balance between the two. But I believe that positive forces will win the day, and when that tipping point occurs, normal business behavior will come roaring back.
In the US and globally, signs of this are already observable in, for example, significant gains in industrial production, robust export growth, and gradual improvement in credit availability.
Like many companies, PwC is responding to this new dynamic in positive ways. We’re moving forward with our strategic agenda by growing our business in ways that reflect our confidence in the future. For example, in August, we announced our intention to acquire Diamond Management & Technology Consultants, Inc., to build on the expertise and resources we need to better serve our clients and stakeholders and to grow our firm. We’re not retrenching. We’re looking ahead, anticipating our future needs and those of our clients.
You might have noticed that this issue of View features a new look and displays our new logo, changes that go a lot deeper than just new colors and a new type font. We changed our visual identity and brand expression to better reflect changes in our organization as we have adapted to the changing marketplace. Like you, we understand it’s a new day in which the watchwords are insight, relationships, trust, and value.
So, in which direction should companies be heading as this new era unfolds? The choice is clear. You can succumb to paralysis engendered by fear, do nothing, and let your competitors pass you by. Or, you can acknowledge risk, adapt to it, reset your priorities, and move forward aggressively on your strategic imperatives.
I think you know where I stand. President John F. Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life.” The economy is gradually improving, and we need to watch it carefully. But as we do, let’s embrace change and bring the right focus. That is the surest path to short- and long-term success.
That’s my view. What’s yours? We’d like to know. Send us your comments at pwc.com/view.