A crisis that forces you to cut costs deeply doesn’t need to leave your company weakened. (Not that you should relish being in a situation where the market has stalled or is in decline.) But if the circumstance forcing you to hit the reset button prompts you to rebuild your strategy around capabilities, it can be liberating.

When times are good, most executive teams aren’t inclined to look at their businesses through a completely new lens, even if the perspective gives them a chance of making their companies stronger. Of course, many companies undertake “growth strategies,” “portfolio strategies,” “five-year plans,” and so on. But in most of these exercises, the focus usually is “What else?,” “How can we grow more?,” and “How should ...

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