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Understanding China III: Vision

America is enmeshed in the most debilitating worldwide financial crisis since the Great Depression and, like it or not, to the degree it will be ameliorated, China will have to play a major role. Good, consistent bilateral relations between America and China are essential for the peace and prosperity of the 21st century. What’s more, if there is no strategic ...

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Leadership Imperatives


As you read this, Barack Obama will have been inaugurated as the U.S.’s 44th chief executive. Fittingly, as the U.S. turns a corner with new leadership at the helm of the federal government, we explore in this issue two facets of leadership governing private enterprise: the prospects for growth and opportunity in international markets and what companies are doing at ...

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Wall Street’s Leadership Crisis

When Congress and the regulators begin their hunt for villains in the financial crisis, they would be wise to look beyond people. Structural issues, like the 90-day financial reporting and guidance cycle, should receive their share of attention and blame. Requiring quarterly reporting puts CEOs under constant pressure from Wall Street to think, act and invest for the short term.Pressure ...

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Looking For Growth In All The Right Places


What are the sources of corporate growth? If you take a middle-of-the- road view of markets, as many executives do, the answers may surprise you: averaging out the different growth rates in an industry’s segments and sub-segments can produce a misleading view of its growth prospects.Most so-called growth industries include sub-industries or segments that are not growing at all, while ...

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Business and Social Contribution

In 1970, Milton Friedman argued strenuously that the social responsibility of business is, above all, to increase profits. In an article for The New York Times Magazine, he pointed out that without profit there are no wages paid and no enterprise with a surplus to offer anyone. Today, many business leaders and activists alike would counter that companies have a ...

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Routers in the Sky

Born in Kashmir, raised in Bombay (now Mumbai), Pradman Kaul came to the U.S. at the age of 17 in 1963 to study engineering at George Washington University and never looked back. He joined Comsat Laboratories, where he teamed up with the nucleus of engineers who would form Digital Communications Corporation-the company GM would buy in 1986 after it had ...

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Are Your Employees Truly Engaged?

Few industries are more cutthroat than retailing. Competitors are subject to rapidly changing trends, and the whims of a fickle public can make a store that’s hot one year pass’ the next. Witness the recent demise of CompUSA, only a few years ago a $4 billion computer retailer, as an example of just how quickly things can turn south.Winning the ...

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Succession Without Tears


CEO succession practices have witnessed a sea change over the past decade. In the not-so-recent past, anointing a successor- regardless of what official corporate policy might state-was often the purview of the sitting CEO. He or she assessed the field, handpicked one or more promising contenders, and winnowed them over time, eventually championing a nominee to the board, which then ...

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DECISION TIME for Immelt and Buffett


Going Big” has been a popular theme of corporations worldwide.The underlying premise is that size and diversity is a way to hedge your bets and assure that you have the ability to avoid unpredictable downturns. Two great companies, General Electric and Berkshire Hathaway, have successfully adopted this theme.In 2006, GE generated $163 billion in revenues, 12.65 percent net profit margin, ...

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How Investment Bankers Think

Just to survive, investment bankers must be both smart and savvy, and to prosper they must be extraordinarily smart and savvy.  Business executives can learn key principles of business and finance by examining how the best investment bankers think-a sophisticated system of reasoning and procedure that generates consistent, high-quality financial output. In addition, we explore the personality of investment bankers-what ...

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