The financial crisis of 2008 raised the question of whether we are facing a turn, resetting to a new normal or pausing before the resumption of growth. Knowing where you are is critical. Those who bet on future growth that doesn’t materialize will lose the race and even bankrupt themselves. But those who bet on decline when they are only seeing a pause will stagnate and they too will lose.
What’s hard to see from the outside is the way that the stakeholders will work overtime to assert that the curves are heading up. Vested interest is so powerful that they will honestly believe that the Sun is the Moon.
Great leaders will have the courage to call the turn.
Listening to Jim Collins talk about his new book How the Mighty Fall, in which he traces the five stages of ascendancy and decline, you can see that this is is going to be one of the enduring questions of our time.
The experience of living through the worst financial decline in 80 years and not being sure of what you saw will be an framing memory that will structure our perceptions. The fear of imminent decline will cast a long shadow into the future.s