Strategy Execution in the aftermath of the financial crisis

The Performance Management Research Platform from Vlerick Business School and the performance factory joined forces to investigate Strategy Execution in the Aftermath of the Financial Crisis from a CFO perspective.

Not every company will survive the crisis. But most will. And the future success of these companies will be influenced by the decisions and actions taken during the crisis. Those who haven't prepared may survive the recession only to find themselves overtaken by their competitors as the economy gets back to normal.

Take a look at these figures from an article in the Harvard Management Update (Baveja, Ellis, Rigby -March 2008). A recent study of more than 700 companies over a six-year period found that "twice as many companies made the leap from laggards to leaders during the last recession (90-91) as during surrounding periods of economic calm".

And most of these changes lasted long after the recession was over. A clear indication that what you do during the crisis determines your position when it's over. Or, just surviving the crisis isn't enough, companies must take advantage of the situation to strengthen their position. As Machiavelli said more than 500 years ago, "Never waste the opportunities in a crisis".

So the point is: you need to start -right now! -to prepare for recovery.

This document will provide you with practical advice to get it done. The information is a collection from our own insights and individual discussions with 25 CFOs based in Belgium.

The first part looks back and summarises 34 lessons learnt. As the crisis is not over, this may be a good checklist to see how you are doing. Most of the lessons are very down-to-earth but often, in times of crisis, those are the ones we tend to forget about.

The lessons are divided into 10 categories:

  • Adapt your analysis and forecasting to the new needs.
  • Work on the costs but also on the revenues
  • Sometimes it's good to let go of the old truths.
  • Remember: "Cash is King, Again".
  • Refine your budgeting process.
  • Work on other processes as well.
  • How about the people side?
  • Don't forget your partners
  • Organise flexibility for the future
  • Always guard your integrity

& Rankings

Equis Association of MBAs AACSB Financial Times