Examples of Strong Business Acumen
Those people who can take a good idea and translate that into the economic value of that idea, to the company. And not just being able to frame the idea in the financial and business implications of that idea, but also how to tactically drive that idea forward to execution. In fact, I heard this quote "strategy is for amateurs, execution is for professionals." So having an idea being able to execute on that but being able to see the financial and business and strategic impact of the company, from that idea, I think is a great example of business acumen.
Another one is when you make ideas come to life, how does that look in relative terms to the industry you’re in. How does that give you a competitive advantage? What does that do in relative terms to your competition? Being able to frame these ideas through the lens of that broader business model that you operate within I think is vital to elevate the credibility of your business ideas.
One other thing I would argue is also when you think about your impact on the financials. Your impact and what it does to the profitability of the company, what it does to contribute to the cash flow of the company, what it does to help you grow and expand and drive market share and drive faster speed to market with the products and services you develop. These all have a financial impact. Those that have good business acumen can translate ideas and decisions and actions into proof points, or data, that impact the company positively in the direction the company wants to be going.
In the classroom, I’ve seen several things play out that really have an impact. We work with a lot of commercial teams globally who sell to big companies. We’ve found that those sales teams that spend the time reading their customer's letters to shareholders, listening to their analyst calls, looking at the financial trends of their customers, and then aligning their solutions in that language using the metrics that their customers are using, have a much better close rate, much deeper revenue per account, much deeper profit per account when they are speaking the language of the customers and then aligning their solutions to it.
Other things we’ve seen are more operational teams who are looking for ways to optimize. They are looking for ways where they can standardize or centralize certain things. Their ability to speed up decision making, their ability to eliminate redundancies, also the opportunity to work cross-functionally, and more collaboratively, have allowed in multiple instances, decisions around delayer certain decisions, and make better design decisions as they start to operate across different functions. And in the classroom, we’re given a great opportunity to cross collaborate and ideate on different things that are happening to help drive down costs in the business, without compromising quality and speed to market.
So, you see these different examples of commercial teams driving value to customers as well as operational teams who are driving a better operating model to drive down cost. Both of those examples have a great contribution not just to the company's performance but also to the customers that you serve.
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