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  • Writer's pictureAcumen Learning

Big Picture: Dilbert

After Training Resources


At its heart “business acumen” means knowing how your company makes money, and making better decisions around the money you make, no matter your role.

A company that doesn’t know how it makes money isn’t likely to make more.

When we teach people to “see the big picture,” we'll often ask a pretty simple question, "How does your company, specifically, make money?" Too often the responses are laden with overly complex pontifications about some statistic that's pretty meaningless… but hey, it sounds smart.

The bottom line: Avoid unnecessary complexity and remember what Einstein said…

"Everything Should Be Made as Simple as Possible – But Not Simpler."

Acumen in Action™

Pull up, or print out, the Dilbert Comic Strip and discuss the following with your team:

  • What do you think, do we make our business and/or our jobs more complex than they need to be? In what ways?

  • Sometimes business and our jobs are complex, and there's nothing wrong with that, but what's the impact of unnecessary complexity?

  • Are there complexities, such as an overburdensome process or a term that only makes sense to our team, that we can eliminate?

  • Share the quote from Einstein. What do you think he means? How can we apply this thinking to our jobs?

  • As a team lets try and describe in one sentence what our team does and in a second sentence describe how we contribute to our company's money making process.

The Take Away

Don't avoid complexity, part of having business acumen is being able to focus on practical actions while staring complexity in the eye… and hopefully you want to be trusted, and called upon, to help solve our team's biggest and most complex problems. At the same time, don't get mired in unnecessary complexities and inconsequential details. Stay focused on the problem at hand and quickly filter out anything that's not relevant or helpful.

If you and your team have the book Seeing the Big Picture (Greenleaf, 2012) start on page 6 and read to the end of page 9, how can business acumen help us cut through business complexity?


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