As we write this preface, the business world is experiencing what looks like one of the most far-reaching financial crises in living memory. Banks, car-manufacturing companies, government agencies, nations, states, retirement funds, and overall confidence have all taken a pounding. One of our favorite management theorists is Niccolò Machiavelli (circa 1530). Machiavelli would have reminded us that you should never, never, never waste a perfectly good crisis.

As we work through this financial crisis, businesses will need to rethink how they operate. No longer will it suffice for firms to go through periods of spending for growth and then periods of rationalizing cost to increase margins. Today’s global business ...

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