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Business Acumen Blog

The Challenge of Being Functionally Brilliant

October 22, 2012

Filed under: business acumen,business acumen video,Video — Mike Wright @ 2:56 pm

You and I both know plenty of bright colleagues and peers who have years of experience and know everything there is to know about their particular function—HR, operations, marketing, sales, engineering, or some other role—but who would rather have a root canal than to have to give an opinion or interpretation of the company’s latest financial results.

And yet, business is a NUMBERS game.

When you are seen as only focusing on your function because you don’t understand the numbers, you can quickly lose credibility. That doesn’t mean you need to magically turn into an accountant to do your job well, but it does mean that you need to acknowledge the important role that numbers play in business.

Business Acumen: Doing the “right” things really well.

August 16, 2012

Filed under: business acumen,business acumen video — Mike Wright @ 7:42 pm

Too often in careers, people become narrow in their perspective – entrenched in their roles. They focus on what they have to get done today or this week (tactical) and lose sight of the bigger picture (strategy). In other words, they do a good job… but they either do the wrong things, or they do the right things for the wrong reasons (think about it).

If you want to be the type of employee that management can’t imagine running the business without, you can’t be just another corporate robot. You have to not only be willing to roll up your sleeves and get the job done – you also need the perspective that will help you do the right things really well.

Business Acumen Is Simple

August 2, 2010

Filed under: business acumen video,Ram Charan — Mike Wright @ 3:54 pm
When you come right down to it, business is very simple. There are universal laws of business that apply whether you sell fruit from a stand or are running a Fortune 500 company. Successful business leaders know them. They have what I call business acumen – the ability to understand the building blocks of how a one-person operation or a very big business makes money…

I’ve been in the business world some forty years now, beginning when I was a child in my family’s small business in India, then working as an engineer in Australia. I then moved to America and taught at both Harvard Business School and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School, and have been advising CEOs and boards of directors at companies large and small around the world. The one thing I’ve noticed is that the best CEOs – the ones whose companies make money year after year – are like the best teacher you ever had. They are able to take the complexity and mystery out of business by focusing on the core fundamentals. And they make sure that everyone in the company, not just their executive colleagues, understands these fundamentals.

You could say they have their self-interest at heart, since the company and the CEO are more successful when everyone knows how the business works. But it’s not just the CEO who benefits. People feel more connected to their work and have greater satisfaction from their job. And as the company has profitable growth – that is, both sales (the “top line”) and profits (the “bottom line”) increase year after year – there are greater opportunities for people to expand their careers and to make more money.

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Ram Charan: Managing in Tough Times

July 8, 2010

Filed under: business acumen,business acumen video,Ram Charan — admin @ 9:27 am

Surviving the recession takes intensity
Ram Charan speaks about his new book Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty. He tells CEOs to go “granular” — be aware 24/7 of their companies’ cash position (Driver #1) and customers’ needs (Driver #5).

Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference

June 9, 2010

Acumen Learning’s CEO, Kevin Cope has been invited to share his thoughts and ideas with Microsoft’s partners. Kevin will be hosting two different session, both focused on business acumen

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