business acumen

NEWSLETTER

Getting on the Same Page

November 27, 2012

So often in our attempts to get on the same page, we overlook the fact that organizations — like books — have many different pages. It's how all of the pages combine to create the entire book, or the entire organization, that is most important. In your company (and most others), the various functions and departments (the pages) have different areas of focus.

It's entirely appropriate for different functions to focus on the 5 Key Drivers (Cash, Profit, Assets, Growth & People) in different ways at different times. But with this focus, they need to make sure they are not sub-optimizing the whole. They must continually see the big picture and understand how their actions are affecting all of the drivers.

For instance, if senior leadership says that profitability is all-important this quarter and asks employees to identify ways to reduce costs, you should certainly follow that lead. However, you have to apply your business acumen to make smart, productive decisions. Cutting costs too much could adversely affect product and service quality, reducing customer satisfaction and leading to lower sales and… you guessed it… profits.

Apple's recent management shakeup is a good example of two executives who were either focused on the wrong thing or too focused on one thing: