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In this quote, Rana Foroohar is sharing the results of a survey that asked CEOs about prioritizing long-term innovation versus short-term earnings goals. The survey found that 80% of CEOs said they would abandon investing in a project that could spur a decade of innovation if it meant missing their earnings targets for just one quarterly financial report.
This suggests many corporate leaders are overly focused on delivering profits in the immediate short-term, even if it comes at the expense of funding potentially game-changing innovations that may take years to materialize returns.
Foroohar appears to be critiquing an overly narrow emphasis on quarterly earnings among CEOs that could undermine long-term growth and competitiveness for the sake of temporary Wall Street satisfaction according to this interpretation.