Speeding up in a slowing economy

Inflation often signals a change in the business cycle. In this collection, we offer our best thinking on how companies can prepare and respond.

OUR LATEST ON ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY

Something’s coming: How US companies can build resilience, survive a downturn, and thrive in the next cycle

Leaders can both shore up defenses and prepare for growth—if they heed the call for transformational change.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Strategic courage in an age of volatility

– Today’s challenging environment requires business leaders to hone their edge in three critical areas: insights, commitment, and execution.
Article

Global Economics Intelligence executive summary, August 2022

– Growth moderates globally in an inflationary environment; the US Federal Reserve emphasizes its tightening course; Europe faces... near-term energy volatility.
Article

Global Economics Intelligence executive summary, June 2022

– High energy prices stoke inflation; central banks chart tightening course; supply challenges persist and industry struggles to... meet demand.
Article

How inflation is flipping the economic script, in seven charts

– The troubling trend is spilling over into every corner of the global economy, with dramatic effects. McKinsey Global Publishing... looks at the latest data.
Article

Tackling inflation and margin pressure in the sporting goods industry

– The sporting goods industry faces new challenges from inflation and an emerging economic downturn, adding to existing pressure... on input costs and supply chains. Now is the time to act.
Podcast - McKinsey Global Institute

Forward Thinking on war in Ukraine, inflation, and cooperation in a fractured world with Jean Pisani-Ferry

– An eminent European economist discusses the economic challenges arising from the war in Ukraine, the spreading economic turbulence,... and the need to work together to nurture global public goods.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Navigating inflation: A new playbook for CEOs

– Few chief executives have faced the challenge of leading a company through an inflationary spike like today’s. Lessons from... strong leaders and bold action can help CEOs make the decisions that only they can make.

Latest Themes

Seven ways that companies can respond to uncertainty

A robust resilience playbook

It turns out that in economic slowdown, not everybody fares the same. We looked at the path traced by more than 1,000 publicly traded companies in the last crisis. The top 20 percent pulled some levers that others did not: they built a safety buffer in their balance sheet, they cut costs faster, and they invested in growth.

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Strengthening the balance sheet

Article

How distributors can build momentum in a slowdown

– The outperformers in distribution can gain ground during these unique, uncertain times—and enter the recovery poised to create even more value.
Article

Pricing during inflation: Active management can preserve sustainable value

– Industrial players are paying more attention to their pricing strategies to cope with inflation and ensure sustainable impact.
Article

How capital expenditure management can drive performance

– Want to reduce project costs and timelines while increasing returns? Undertake a top-to-bottom reassessment of your capital investments... at every stage of the life cycle.
Article

Using analytics to address inflation risks and strengthen competitive positioning

– In the new inflationary environment, company leaders can protect their business and gain competitive advantage by deploying analytics-aided... strategies.
Podcast - McKinsey Global Institute

Forward Thinking on the transformative role of intangible assets in companies and economies with Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake

– “William Blake talked about the dark Satanic mills, these inhuman pieces of tangible capital. Intangible capital is in some... ways about what makes us human. It’s about ideas, and it’s about relationships. It’s about expressiveness. Some people may ask whether we should be making that the basis of the economy. But we would argue that this is actually making those things that matter to us as humans more central to our thriving.”
Article

Unlocking cash from your balance sheet

– Opportunities to free up cash may be hiding in plain sight. Here are six strategies for releasing cash from your balance sheet.
Discussion Paper - McKinsey Global Institute

Getting tangible about intangibles: The future of growth and productivity?

– Companies that master the deployment of intangibles investment will be well positioned to outperform their peers.
Article

A data-driven approach to improving net working capital

– Better performance relies on greater visibility into processes and decisions. The right combination of technology, capabilities,... and mindsets can make all the difference.
Article

Moving from cash preservation to cash excellence for the next normal

– Companies can build on their initial response to the pandemic to elevate their cash-management capabilities.
Article

What’s keeping you from divesting?

– Active portfolio management can create significant competitive advantages. Still, executives routinely shy away from separations.... Here are six common roadblocks and some tips for breaking through.
Article

A primer in resilience: Maximizing value beyond earnings

– Empowering the finance organization to take decisive action to strengthen the balance sheet is critical to achieving organizational... resilience.

Protecting the P&L

Article

Defying cost volatility: A strategic pricing response

– While input cost increases and volatility are challenging, they present an opportunity to improve pricing and institutionalize best practices—but margins will likely suffer if these are not executed in a strategic way.
Article

How to deal with price increases in this inflationary market

– The return of inflation makes price negotiation a more demanding—and strategically critical—capability.
Article

Winning the race with inflation: The pricing opportunity for industrial companies

– As inflation rises, industrial companies must take a new look at pricing.
Article

Maximizing agile productivity to meet shareholder commitments

– Large organizations’ commitments to financial results are at odds with traditional agile methodologies. Adapting them to... meet enterprise-wide goals is key.
Article

Seeing the savings: Toward transparent management of portfolio companies

– Early in the COVID-19 crisis, sponsors and portfolio companies collaborated to find ways to conserve cash. The next step, delivering... the savings, requires heightened diligence and discipline.
Podcast

Cash preservation in response to COVID-19

– How to establish a cash culture that balances urgent short-term needs with longer-term competitive considerations
Interview

Zero-based budgeting gets a second look

– Digitization is breathing new life into a ground-up budgeting approach that debuted in the 1960s. Here’s how CFOs and other... business leaders can make it work in their own organizations.

Operations: Shoring up supply chains

Article

Delivering the US manufacturing renaissance

– The stage is set for a manufacturing resurgence in the United States. Can the country’s producers make it happen?
Article

Taking the pulse of shifting supply chains

– Our latest survey shows global supply chains on the move.
Article

Supply chains: To build resilience, manage proactively

– Supply chain upheavals show little sign of abating. Companies can address them by reconsidering outdated, short-term strategies... and beginning the hard work of building structural resilience.
Article

Transforming supply chains: Do you have the skills to accelerate your capabilities?

– Despite progress over the past several years, companies are still struggling to build the capabilities that their emerging digital... supply chains will need.
Article

To improve your supply chain, modernize your supply-chain IT

– Global distribution issues and increasingly complex supply chains are forcing companies to modernize the tools they use for forecasting... demand and planning how to meet it.
Article

Risk and resilience in consumer-goods supply chains

– Consumer-goods makers’ supply chains are weathering enormous strain. Here’s a quick look at how to strengthen them... for the future.
Podcast

Diagnosing the pain in your supply chain

– The COVID-19 pandemic has knocked global supply chains off their axes. But CEOs and other leaders can build resilience into their... operations and reset supply chains for the next inevitable disruption.
Report - McKinsey Global Institute

Risk, resilience, and rebalancing in global value chains

– Companies need an understanding of their exposure, vulnerabilities, and potential losses to inform resilience strategies.
Article

Turn slow-moving inventory into fast profits

– For industrial-services organizations, slow-moving inventory can be a drag on financial performance. Why not transform it into... a profit booster?

Growing through M&A and innovation

Article

The ten rules of growth

– Empirical research reveals what it takes to generate value-creating growth today.
Article

Choosing to grow: The leader’s blueprint

– Driving sustainable, inclusive growth requires the right mindset, strategy, and capabilities. Here are some steps that could help... foster successful growth.
Article

Fear factor: Overcoming human barriers to innovation

– Worries about failure, criticism, and career impact hold back many people from embracing innovation. Here’s how to create... a culture that accounts for the human side of innovation.
Interview

In conversation: The CFO’s critical role in innovation

– By embracing discipline and well-defined processes, innovation teams can make finance leaders their biggest allies.
Article

The flip side of large M&A deals

– Research shows there is a 50-50 chance that companies pursuing large M&A deals will outperform industry peers. Here are the... four actions executives can take to increase those odds.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

How one approach to M&A is more likely to create value than all others

– Two decades of research show that, while large deals still have their place, programmatic M&A strategies continue to create... gains in excess total returns to shareholders, at lower levels of risk.
Article

The power of through-cycle M&A

– How companies can use deal making to accelerate strategic shifts during the COVID-19 crisis.
Article

A blueprint for M&A success

– Programmatic M&A can help companies build resiliency, but this approach to deal making requires a solid game plan—one... that will guide proactive deal sourcing and opportunistic deal evaluation.
Article

Are you a growth leader? The seven beliefs and behaviors that growth leaders share

– A new survey highlights what separates growth leaders from the pack.

The M&A blueprint prompts business leaders to conduct a thorough self-assessment along with a comprehensive market assessment.

Flexing organizational muscles

Article - McKinsey Quarterly

The Great Attrition is making hiring harder. Are you searching the right talent pools?

– People keep quitting at record levels, yet companies are still trying to attract and retain them the same old ways. New research identifies five types of workers that employers can reach to fill jobs.
Article

Choosing to grow: The leader’s blueprint

– Driving sustainable, inclusive growth requires the right mindset, strategy, and capabilities. Here are some steps that could help... foster successful growth.
Podcast

Redefining the modern CEO

– COVID-19 and other recent global crises have necessitated a redefinition of the role of 21st century leaders. In this McKinsey... Future of Asia Podcast episode, we explore what it takes to be an excellent CEO in today’s ever-changing and challenging global environment.
Report - McKinsey Global Institute

Human capital at work: The value of experience

– Human capital represents two-thirds of wealth for the average individual—and work experience contributes almost half of... that value.
Podcast

Stave off attrition with an internal talent marketplace

– Is your best talent hiding in plain sight? An internal talent marketplace helps match existing employees to open roles—in... novel and sometimes unexpected ways.
Podcast

Leadership lessons from the world’s best CEOs

– The authors of the new book CEO Excellence, who interviewed dozens of the top-performing chief executives, share their... most memorable encounters and stories.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

‘Great Attrition’ or ‘Great Attraction’? The choice is yours

– A record number of employees are quitting or thinking about doing so. Organizations that take the time to learn why—and act thoughtfully—will... have an edge in attracting and retaining talent.
Article

For smarter decisions, empower your employees

– Fully empowered employees make good decisions and resolve problems. We explore how various leadership and management styles can... best support them.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

The CEO moment: Leadership for a new era

– Challenged by the global pandemic, CEOs have made four shifts in the way they lead that hold great promise for both companies... and society. Will they build on this unique moment, or return to the ways of the past?

Safeguarding data

Article

Cybersecurity trends: Looking over the horizon

– McKinsey examines three of the latest cybersecurity trends and their implications for organizations facing new and emerging cyberrisks and threats.
Article

Securing your organization by recruiting, hiring, and retaining cybersecurity talent to reduce cyberrisk

– Shed the conventional methods. Talent-to-value protection defines the most important cybersecurity roles that demonstrate the... greatest reduction in risk for the enterprise.
Article

Financial institutions and nonfinancial risk: How corporates build resilience

– As nonfinancial companies move from enterprise risk management to a resilience-based approach, their experience in nonfinancial... risk can provide a model for banks.
Blog Post

What you need to know about data and data privacy

– Over the past two years, organizations have faced increasing pressure to embrace digital technologies and meet evolving consumer... expectations—and this trend will only persist in the coming years. As data becomes embedded in every decision, interaction, and process, managing data effectively and ensuring data privacy will be crucial.
Article

Safeguarding against cyberattack in an increasingly digital world

– There are actions businesses can take to safeguard their organizations from the growing risk of cyberattack.