Develop your team’s business acumen at every level of your organization to improve engagement, increase productivity, and grow your business.
Everyone is aware that business acumen is important to growing business—and furthering your career. What managers and leaders often overlook is the importance of developing business acumen in employees at every level of the organization. Tweet this: Growing your business is too important to be left to the finance department and those at the top of your org chart. Everyone on your team contributes to the bottom line in many ways, therefore, each have an ability to improve it.
Our business acumen model involves four key aspects that make up business acumen: organization drivers, organization performance, external factors, and future trends. The first two, organization drivers and performance, are areas where you can easily involve your team to develop their business acumen and improve your bottom line.
Key areas of your organization and affect your ability to achieve organizational goals are your drivers. Drivers vary by organization and industry, but some examples of organizational drivers might include customer experience, operational efficiency, and product quality. There is no limit to the number of key organizational drivers you can have in your organization, but a good general rule is to focus on your top 2 – 5 key drivers.
Involving your team in organization drivers helps to put into perspective how their work fits into the bigger picture of your brand. For example, if customer experience is a key driver for your organization, many members of the team are involved in creating positive customer experiences. From your marketing and sales team, to production, logistics, quality control, and, of course, customer service. Create a Key Driver Model that incorporates the members on your team that individually contribute to this driver. The model should specifically state how each person contributes to that driver. This may be an exercise that you can do with your team or department heads to make sure that you are capturing contributions accurately.
Seeing an illustration of how they contribute to the key drivers of the organization helps team members see themselves in the big picture. Everyone can get stuck in the day-to-day drudgery of their job at times, and during these times it can become difficult to keep perspective on the importance of the work. It also creates an opportunity to cross-functional teams to work together to innovate how processes that affect that driver can be improved to improve customer experience and, by extension, increase profits.
Some leaders prefer to keep financial information a secret, while others are very open with their team about how things are running. Opening up about organization performance is a great way to start developing your team’s financial business acumen. You do not need to open up about absolutely everything that is going on in the organization financially, but talking about key performance metrics with your team consistently will help improve everyone’s understanding of how the business makes money and their contribution to it.
Understanding how the organization runs and makes money is key to growing your business and developing business acumen. Growing your business is too important to exclude the majority of your team, who are working on the front lines of your business, from understanding how the organization makes money. Include your team in how they contribute to the organization drivers and the performance of the organization to develop their business acumen and recruit them to contribute to the growth of the business.