A recent survey by Mercer Management Consulting shows that, finally, executives at global companies have put down the ax and put out the welcome mat. Mercer interviewed 123 senior executives from $1 billion-plus companies in 11 countries regarding their growth strategies. Sixty-nine percent of these executives said achieving significant growth will be a more important strategy in the coming two years than it has been in the past two years. Specifically, most of the executives said they will focus on better meeting customer needs to achieve growth (71%, up 15 percentage points from two years ago), as opposed to cutting costs and making organizational changes, down 6 and 13 percentage points respectively during the same period. This is a strategy shift that Mercer has been tracking for the past 18 months, the Boston-based company said. Additionally, expansions, mergers and acquisitions appear to be waning in terms of growth strategies, with a 7-percentage point drop. Analysis based on this research is in the new book "How To Grow When Markets Don't" (2003, Warner Business Books) by Adrian Slywotzky and Richard Wise.