Britains Most Admired Companies: How to survive and thrive in a challenging market

The best-managed companies adapt quickly to hard times and establish a lead that they hold onto in the recovery too. But what separates these high-performers from the rest? DAVID MANN, head of management consulting, Accenture UK and Ireland, reveals their strategic secrets.

Corporates are having to deal with a highly volatile recessionary marketplace. The credit crisis has spilled over from the finance industry into nearly all areas of business. There have been falling share prices, a depressed housing market, movements in fuel prices, bank ownership by taxpayers and erratic inflation figures.

The news is the same across the globe. Leaders, political and business alike, have been rocked by waves breaking from all directions. Few have experienced this kind of volatility before.

No surprise, then, that UK consumer confidence has fallen to its lowest point in over a decade, with further drops likely. This is rapidly translating into falling consumer spending - the British Retail Consortium said last month that sales had fallen for six of the past seven months. With no quick fix in sight, the duration of the downturn is unknown: many current market trends could persist for years.

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