Business acumen is defined as the behavior that produces a keenness and quickness in dealing with business situations. Good outcomes are the result of business acument. In order to manage effective business operations or to be an effective employee, a person must possess strong business acumen. It precedes leadership, and leadership takes time to cultivate.
While there are numerous traits that may define business acumen, growing your career is the result of possessing five core elements:
- Intelligence – It takes a specific type of intelligence to read, analyze, and explain financial budgets and reports. Those with business intelligence can do these things with ease. Their intelligence grows because they continue to absorb magazines, books, white papers, and any information that complements that growth.
- The Ability to Strategize – Those who possess this element are well aware of the strategies it takes to implement key business initiatives. They move quickly and focus on how the team can contribute the minute they get wind of a challenge or project.
- The Skills Needed to Communicate – Leader who possess this ability are excellent writers and communicators. They have the ability to communicate down or up their organizational ladders. They can communicate effectively with staff, mid-level managers, and executive teams.
- The Will to Innovate – A lack of resources presents no problem for leaders who possess this ability. They thrill at being able to overcome obstacles that others cannot. They waste nothing and are always resourceful and innovative. They are efficient and highly effective.
- Accountability – Leaders who possess this component know the importance of accountability at every level. However, they understand that they must be the one to lead the charge. They elicit buy-in from their teams, and they’re able to integrate buy-in with everything they do.
Business acumen is the key to each and every person’s career growth. Without it, success and effectiveness are impossible to sustain. It’s up to each individual to examine and close their own professional gaps.
Start by being honest. Realize that you are where you are largely because of your education, experience, and abilities. Are you the type of person to take charge or sit on the sidelines? Do you wait for the order to charge, or can you gauge the battle and make preparations well ahead of time? Are your business instincts sharp or dull? Do you have what it takes to elicit buy-in from others?
Business acumen helps create a complete business professional who is ready and prepared to take on the world.