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With a recovery tentatively underway, many executives are trying to ride the wave of short-term economic trends, making minor strategic adjustments to go farther, faster. Is this the right approach, or should you be looking beyond the immediate recovery to focus on longer-term trends that are reshaping business today? We got into trouble because we didn't pay attention to short-term trends. Let's not make that mistake twice. Short-term trends may have tripped you up, but the trouble started long before that. Profits have been deteriorating for years - for nearly everyone. It's time to face the long-term reality. Our investors are looking only at whether we can meet our quarterly numbers. That's all that matters. It's true - investors may be focused only on the short term. And it may well be easier to stay on the short-term path. But easier isn't always smarter. The business environment is filled with too much uncertainty. This is the time to move smartly on near-term opportunities. What if driving short-term performance improvements cuts your legs out from under you over the long haul? You have to come to grip with strategic challenges. They're not going away. There are always fires to put out - but there's also a rumbling volcano on the horizon. Pay attention to that one. You can't let short-term fires burn out of control. If you don't make it past the little fires, you'll be in deeper trouble.
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