Strategy in the Age of Superabundant Capital
For much of the past five decades, financial capital was considered a scarce resource. Today, however, capital is abundant and cheap, and the authors expect that to be the case for another 20 years or more. They point out that global financial assets have been growing faster than global GDP, and they explain why that trend is likely to continue. They note, too, that as the supply of capital has increased, the cost has plunged, making it possible for many large firms to borrow funds for next to nothing. What all this means is that companies can no longer sustain competitive advantage simply by allocating capital skillfully. In this new climate, the authors argue, business leaders need to lower hurdle rates and change their investment strategy, moving away from a few big bets and instead pursuing numerous small, varied growth opportunities. Not all will pan out, but embracing the risk of failure is necessary for success. Executives must also recognize that human capital is the truly scarce resource today. Organizations need to manage their workforces as carefully and rigorously as they manage their financial assets, unleashing and supporting the talent within their organizations.