In the last few decades, corporate leaders have been spared the tremendous difficulties that come with trying to drive a business in an inflationary period. Few—except for the most long-tenured board members—likely have any memory of how to do it at all.
The dire effects of inflation happen quickly and a recession—which could soon result from Fed action to rein in an overheating economy—compound its effects.
Inflation consumes cash, eats margins and lulls managers into a false sense of security as inflated revenues rise. A company’s situation can erode very quickly, leading to takeover or bankruptcy. Those who react slowly or choose the wrong strategy and tactics will be weakened. But, those who are fast to react and flexible in their approach can not only survive but thrive in this challenging environment as they seize opportunities afforded by less nimble and smart competitors.
The key challenge is to grasp the reality and change your organization’s psychology. But how?
Ram Charan is a world-renowned business advisor, author and speaker who has spent the past 45 years working with many top companies, CEOs and boards. In the 1970s, Ram was hired by GE to develop a program to train their managers in how to lead through inflation, making him one of the few experts on the subject with practical experience in the world today.
Ram has authored over 25 books since 1998 that have sold over 2 million copies in more than a dozen languages. Three of his books were Wall Street Journal bestsellers, including Execution, which he co-authored with former Honeywell CEO Larry Bossidy in 2002, which spent more than 150 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He also has written for publications including Harvard Business Review, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Time, Chief Executiveand USA TODAY.
Author, Choose Your Customer: How to Compete Against the Digital Giants and Thrive and Islands of Profit in a Sea of Red Ink; Senior Lecturer, MIT
Partner, Simon-Kucher & Partners
Americas Performance Improvement Practice Head and Global Head of Cost Transformation Solution, Bain & Company
No one will face greater challenges in managing successfully in an inflationary environment than the CEO. You must not only oversee a major shift in the way the company does business, but also a major shift in the psychology of every manager. Ram will detail how to shift your activity, your focus and your strategy for what lies ahead.
Cash is king in an inflationary environment and finance is the keeper of cash. The CFO’s role must change—fast, helping every member of the company understand not only how inflation will impact their own sales and operations, but also that of customers and rivals. Make sure you’re ready for this difficult chapter of your career.
The single most critical problem managing for inflation is pricing. Often, sales and marketing have a psychological aversion to raising prices, the result of frequent customer kickback and demands for discounts. That psychology must change—and it can. You’ll learn to build courage, buy-in—and greater accountability—in your organization’s ranks.
The phrase “people are our most valuable resource” will never prove truer than in the days, months and years ahead. Now is the time for you to bring a laser-sharp focus to the evaluation of senior people to ensure they fully understand the nature of the environment and are willing and able to take the offensive, adopting flexible strategies and tactics and, if necessary, sacrificing resources for the sake of the company’s overall situation. You’ll learn the essentials that CEOs and boards will need from HR—and strategies for delivering what’s needed.
In an inflationary environment, the board of directors has an even deeper obligation to probe and understand the company’s value chain. As a director, you rely on the CEO and CFO to provide that information and you must be sure those leaders take the time and effort to educate the board. Are you prepared to ask the key questions needed to keep the business on track?
Ram Charan, world-renowned business advisor, author and speaker
Ram Charan, one of the world’s most well-known and highly-regarded strategic advisors to boards and C-Suites, will offer his framework to prepare your company to battle inflation and the potential for slowing growth—one of the most difficult tasks that will ever confront management. In the 1970s, Ram was hired by GE to develop a program to train their managers in how to lead through inflation, making him one of the few experts on the subject with practical experience in the world today. As one of the few experts alive with deep, hands-on experience with the nuts and bolts of how businesses must adapt operations in a time of rising everything, Charan's framework will detail how to shift your activity, your focus and your strategy for what lies ahead.
Adam Echter, Partner, Simon-Kutcher & Partners
Bad news: If you haven’t been raising prices—not just once, but multiple times—over the last 18 months than you’re well behind the curve and headed into dangerous territory. The good news: No matter where you are with this tough project the experts from renowned consultancy Simon-Kucher will have practical, pragmatic strategies and tactics to help. There’s nothing more central to fighting inflation than mastering this core competency, and they’ll help you get better at it—fast.
Jason Heinrich, Americas Performance Improvement Practice Head and Global Head of Cost Transformation Solution, Bain & Company
Even as many companies deal with inflation by devoting more energy to adjusting prices or finding new sources of growth, cutting costs remains an important part of managing in this economic environment. The experts at Bain Consulting will share strategies to not only shed costs but also reinvest in programs that deliver not only greater resilience but also the stronger purchasing and pricing capabilities that will help you prosper long after inflation subsides.
Jonathan Byrnes, Author, Choose Your Customer: How to Compete Against the Digital Giants and Thrive and Islands of Profit in a Sea of Red Ink; Senior Lecturer, MIT
In an era of rising inflation, not all revenues—or customers—are the same. And some customers become downright dangerous. Who are your profit peaks, where you make your real money? Who are your profit drains, bleeding your cash and time? How do you know? What mechanisms, what metrics are essential? MIT’s Jonathan Byrnes, author of Choose your Customers: How to Compete Against the Digital Giants and Thrive unpacks the customer-segmentation strategies you need now.
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