i2a Consulting, a UK management consultant working with global businesses, has unveiled a blue print to help firms run "sustainably successful" businesses over the next decade and beyond.
i2a’s thinking around good business is based on an extensive analysis and critique of business practise and socio-economic trends over the last 30 years which it has encapsulated in a short "Guide to Good Business in the 2010s" aimed at senior directors of large enterprises.
The guide centres on three core themes which, i2a predicts, will impact the success of businesses in the 2010s. These themes are:
* Transparency: The twin revolutions of the active consumer and social media over the last 10 years, together make it impossible for big business to ‘manage the message’ in a way in which it used to. Poor practises and shoddy treatment of customers will be exposed more quickly than ever before and reputation will be damaged that much quicker than in any other era before now. Conversely, companies that are happy to engage with their consumers through Social Media, and other more instant and informal communications methods, will find this a highly effective route to engendering brand loyalty.
* Regulation and innovation mix: The blame for the 2008-10 recession has been placed firmly at the door of the bankers. It is therefore inevitable that the trend towards tighter regulation, ostensibly to discourage unchecked risk taking in the quest for short-term gain, will continue unabated over the next 10 years. More executives will inevitably be caught out for failing to bring shareholders (and other stakeholders) with them when awarding benefits packages. Companies will also have to get better at measuring, monitoring and managing risk in order to report risk exposures more efficiently and accurately internally and to regulators. As a counter to this scrutiny, businesses will continue to develop ever more sophisticated and innovative services and products to create value and drive profitability. Regulators will continue to play catch-up to close up anomalies and loop holes.
* Embedding values into behaviours: Corporate behaviour will have to travel off the mission statements in the headquarters of global firms and live and breathe right through their supply chains. There will be less tolerance of ethical ‘blind spots’ which will damage reputation of big businesses faster, partly fed by trends detailed in #1.
Previous decades have seen firms exploiting looser regulatory, health and safety and employment laws to produce products more cheaply overseas but at what cost to those workers? This will come under increasing scrutiny this decade as poor practices or exploitation will become transparent more quickly and tolerance for misdemeanours will more quickly and decisively impact both corporate reputations and ultimately sales as customers vote with their wallets.
Alan Holroyd, partner at i2a Consulting, comments: "The last 30 years have trends which we believe will shape business practise over the next decade. What is interesting about these changes is that none of them have yet played out to their conclusions. All, if considered properly by the board of directors of big businesses, offer potential solutions for building and sustaining success or Good Business as we prefer to call it.”