Business acumen requires an understanding of finance, strategy, and decision making. Most managers and employees, however, are responsible for specific areas and they have little understanding of the impact their decisions have on other areas. When too much focus is placed on one aspect of the business, it is difficult to make decisions for the good of the company. In order to make effective decisions, it is necessary for you to examine the big picture.
Short and Long Term Interactions
When looking at the big picture, it is necessary to consider long term as well as short term interactions. Short term interactions are immediate, single exchanges, and they are necessary for the company to survive. Without looking at the big picture, however, short term interactions may hinder long term success. For example, you may damage a business relationship by using aggressive sales techniques, costing you sales in the future.
Long term interactions are processes or relationships that are essential to growth. Long term business success requires the long term interactions. The relationships with customers, vendors, and employees need to be carefully cultivated. Failure to cultivate relationships occurs when there is a lack of communication or communication is not respectful. Long term relationships help guide the future of the business.
Recognize Growth Opportunities
It is essential for every organization to recognize growth opportunities to ensure long term success. An opportunity is any project or investment that will create growth. Opportunities, however, can be overlooked when we do not pay attention to the big picture. Individuals with business acumen are constantly recognizing opportunities for growth. If recognizing opportunities does not come easily for you, there are steps to take that will ensure that you do not overlook growth opportunities.
- Identify market trends: Monitor changes in the market such as technological advancements.
- Actively research customer needs: Conduct market research and anticipate customer needs, which you will fulfill.
- Pay attention to competitors: Take advantage of a competitor’s weakness and learn from their strengths.
- Monitor demographic changes: Changes in demographics indicate potential shift in customer base or needs.
- Consult employees: Do not overlook employee ideas; encourage brainstorming.
- Monitor abilities of the workforce: Pay attention to employee skills. Offer training or hire new employees in response to growth opportunities.
Mindfulness of Decisions
Decisions need to be made carefully and mindfully. In stressful situations, it is easy to make decisions based on emotions or external pressure. Recognize these events which increase the risk of making a poor decision that can have long term consequences. Mindful decision making combines reason with intuition to come up with decisions that are based in the present.
Everything is Related
In business, it is necessary for each person to perform specific roles and functions. Every business role is related to each other. For example, poor production and poor customer service will affect sales. Too many sales returns costs the company money, damaging the profits. Each aspect of the business relies on the others. Most people only focus on their specific roles, without considering how they affect the other departments. Looking at the big picture allows you to see how everything is related, and it begins with the leadership. The leadership of the company is responsible for the culture and values. These guide the other aspects of business, which are: operations and marketing, finance and governance, and information and people.