The holy grail of post-recession business will be profitable growth. The very idea of profitable growth is full of contradiction, as growth generally requires investment. With revenues unlikely to outpace that investment in what economists are predicting will be an anemic, drawn-out recovery, companies that have already been doing a lot of cost cutting will have to become even more efficient. This will put unusual pressure on executives to place the right bets when it comes to investments (based on strong customer insight and market knowledge). And it will require excellent management abilities and flexible, responsive, lower-cost IT.