Person holding a card


How to lead through inflation

Ram Charan, Business Consultant, Author, CEO Advisor

Companies that look at the recession as a means to learn, look inward and improve, and uncover opportunities are poised to lead.

Ram Charan, Business Consultant, Author, CEO Advisor

Ram Charan, Business Consultant, Author, CEO Advisor

Are businesses prepared for an economic slowdown? Concerns for the economy's health are rising as high costs, hiring slowdowns, and salary stagnation continues. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, supply chain issues, and other factors have also contributed to increased costs in the United States and abroad. Inflation is more than about rising prices. Its cumulative and pervasive influence squeezes margins, eats cash, threatens working capital, and throws all plans in an array.

In such a scenario, anxiety is common. Yet, there is reason to be optimistic. A period of economic discontinuity like this provides a massive opportunity for savvy business leaders. They can take some strategic steps to avoid inflation hazards and lead by positioning the company to thrive when the business cycle stabilizes. This blog discusses real-world examples and recommendations to help leaders navigate turbulent times.

Having lived through inflation as high as 21% in the 1980s and two severe recessions, I know we can overcome this adversity. With some simple yet strategic steps, you can prepare for the downturn and stagflation and feel your psychology shift from anxiety and fear to optimism and excitement.


Person video chatting


Luck favors the prepared. There are three simple rules for companies to follow.


For savvy leaders, economic changes during a downturn can have many benefits and are not necessarily devastating. They don't resort to broad cutbacks and mass layoffs but explore the hidden opportunities, adapt and create new revenue streams to keep profits up. The idea is to spend smart, not less. This way, they can grow their businesses and expand market share while others struggle to survive.

Companies that look at the recession as a means to learn, look inward and improve, and uncover opportunities are poised to lead. The new capabilities they acquire lay the foundation to build a better future.


Leaders who look for opportunities for growth and scale in a period of economic discontinuity come out stronger to lead in the face of inflation and a looming recession.

They are mindful of what matters to their employees. They invest in business operations that can minimize the need for layoffs and cutbacks. They can become more agile and resilient despite challenges by preparing thoughtfully for the downturn.

Person video chatting

Learn more

About Ram Charan

Ram Charan has guided hundreds of companies through many tough business challenges. In the early 1980s, he helped GE preserve its teetering credit rating in the face of double-digit inflation. In Leading Through Inflation, he brings the same common sense and wisdom that made his book Execution, coauthored with Larry Bossidy, a long-time New York Times bestseller.

Learn more about Ram:

Ram's new book “Leading Through Inflation: And Recession and Stagflation” discusses how businesses can persevere through inflation and how technology can make companies truly resilient.