“We created pure magic.”
Ray Vigil, Humana’s Chief Learning Officer
Business Acumen Improvement Throughout Your Organization
Business acumen is an almost intuitive and applicable understanding of how your company makes money. It includes a thorough understanding of what drives profitability and cash flow, a market focused approach to the business, and an overall big picture understanding of the business and its interrelationships.
To improve business acumen it certainly helps to have strong quantitative, analytical skills and know how to use financial statements and key ratios. But there is more to understanding what business acumen is.
Business Acumen: The Critical Competencies
To consider business acumen more deeply, the skills and competencies that are most needed are the following:
- Financial Acumen: It is important that leaders and employees have a comprehensive understanding of what drives profitability and cash flows.
- Market Orientation: In addition to recognizing how their business operates internally, it is important that leaders have a deep understanding of the external environment or what we call market orientation.
- Strategic or “Helicopter” Perspective: In many organizations, leaders grow up in specific functions or business units and are asked to execute on tactical priorities. Business acumen requires an overall big picture understanding of the business.
From our experience in working with companies for over 25 years, it is mission critical that leaders and employees throughout the organization have the appropriate capabilities in each of these areas to ensure success. It should also be noted that business acumen is an extremely broad topic and also includes mergers & acquisitions, global mindset, innovation and more.
Business Acumen Delivers the Skills for Long-Term Results
Investing in business acumen is essential in driving long-term results and increasing profitability. Arming employees with a sharp sense of business knowledge promotes individual growth and raises the profile of the organization by capturing the essential skills and knowledge needed to:
- Identify problems and opportunities in internal operations and external business
- Create & innovate options to address problems and opportunities in a manner that creates economic value for the company
- Develop an execution pathway to deliver the desired results
- Monitor, re-adjust, improvise, and learn forward.
Do You Have a Business Acumen Gap in Your Company?
How many of your leaders can make the following statements?
- I understand the big picture. I understand how individual business decisions are interrelated, and my impact on company value creation and the customer experience.
- I possess a deep understanding of key financial levers and the tradeoffs and benefits of executing the company’s business strategy.
- I recognize how external marketplace realities are affecting the company’s ability to drive revenue and profitability.
- I appreciate and embrace new initiatives
- I understand how my company delivers shareholder value.
Most companies need to guide their leaders through at least one or more of the statements above.
- Start Building Your
Company’s Business Knowledge and Skills
Improve Your Leaders’ Business Acumen
BTS provides managers with basic to advanced business literacy to promote better decision-making and improved performance throughout the organization. BTS’s business acumen programs blend consultant-led workshops, online learning and interactive business simulations to create the optimal learning environment for all levels of your organization.
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