A foundation for scalability in 2021

Many forward-thinking organizations have been considering ways to maximize their recovery potential, and scale back up over the coming months.

International initiatives like the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset recognize the once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape recovery and build back better, in line with global efforts around the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

What’s more, the UK Government launched its ‘Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’ in 2020. It aims to address climate change and economic recovery simultaneously, mobilizing significant investment to help the UK transition to a greener and more circular society, while creating thousands of jobs.

Any plans to scale operations in 2021 need to be built on sound foundations to optimize their potential. Executive teams should review their fundamental business structures and processes, to reduce areas of risk before embarking on a new growth journey.

Taking a standards-based approach to these preparations is the most efficient way to reliably achieve these goals. From quality to cybersecurity and sustainability, managers can use standards to benchmark current performance and improve existing systems. Here are a few fundamental areas to consider:

Authenticity and responsibility

The most robust recovery or growth plan should be both inward-looking, in terms of its alignment with long-term organizational imperatives, and outward-looking in its character and social responsibility. This need for authenticity and transparency has been intensified over the last year, given recent global events.

Consumers will name and shame businesses that simply pay lip service to responsible or sustainable practices. Embedding a specific social responsibility strategy at the heart of all strategic operations will help your business earn trust and credibility.

Intertwined with this, is the need for an optimal approach to your human capital. Companies who can effectively incentivize, support and develop staff over the long term can both reduce risk and increase productivity. This is to say nothing of employee health, safety and wellbeing, which also needs careful attention.

A changed operational landscape

It is widely accepted that the pandemic has accelerated existing behavioural and technological trends, bringing them to the fore several years earlier than expected – video conferencing for professional and domestic purposes, and the evolution of consumer habits and priorities, for example.

Having standards-based policies in place allows larger organizations to adapt more readily to these changes, as well as those yet to come. Not having to reinvent important processes, or rethink systems, also enables businesses to scale operations in accordance with the market with greater agility.

Evolving risks

In addition to these opportunities, the past few months has also heralded new organizational risks. Increased reliance on digital technology for both social communications and commercial operations inspired opportunistic cybercriminals to exploit various corporate vulnerabilities.

Further to this, as well as the potential reputational damage, failing to keep private data secure will likely bring serious financial consequences in a post-GDPR world. The pandemic also highlighted latent supply chain weaknesses during its early months, as well as the importance of maintaining well-developed continuity plans.

Thankfully there are several cybersecurity, supply chain protection, and business continuity standards available to build resilience in these vital areas.

Repeatable excellence

Finally, successful scaling demands a sound foundation, as well as the ability to monitor and improve fundamental processes.

Perhaps the most important element of this business bedrock is organizational quality which, when tuned appropriately, boosts all other areas and systems: streamlining operations, reducing risk, improving efficiency and cutting costs.

Ambitious executives can’t lose sight of the day-to-day, when thinking about the future. Standards-based management systems help businesses to maximize performance in both spheres.

Taking such an approach helps to instil a culture of continual improvement within your organization. It empowers staff to harness innovation more rapidly while clarifying and reducing functional vulnerabilities.