The lexicon of the Financial Times defines business acumen as “keenness and speed in understanding and deciding on a business situation.”
It goes on to clarify: “In practice, people with business acumen are thought of as having business ‘sense’ or business ‘smarts’.”
This skill is something that can be seen in a street vendor or in the leadership of a Fortune 500 company. Plenty of people in jail have it, too, whether petty criminals or Enron executives. Think of it as a superpower that can be used for good or evil. But in itself it is knowledge, and knowledge is good.
So how is it that some people can have the knowledge and skills to achieve consistently better results than others?
It’s not luck. And it’s not (apparently) an innate skill. As the FT lexicon states, it comes from a combination of business experience and formal training. It is connected to entrepreneurship, and the sooner you started your own childhood business (lemonade stand, mowing neighbors’ lawns, baby sitting, dog walking, making a fortune from baseball cards…) the more likely you are to have become a successful entrepreneur.
We can’t help you with that, at this point – but we can help you catch up! Andromeda Training is in the business of providing a rapid and insightful business experience combined with formal training in the creation of financial statements and the most useful tools for analyzing, forecasting and planning, in order to achieve business success.
However, business acumen involves more than being competent with numbers. It involves everything from vision to common language, from teamwork to information flow. Within a large corporation, especially, it can only be achieved if it is part of the corporate culture.
Creating business acumen typically involves the entire process of culture change. That is something that our largest clients, from Michelin to Saudi Electricity, have always factored in to the financial learning programs that they were buying, and why they have found our Income/Outcome workshops so successful.
I will review the various aspects of business acumen training in upcoming posts.