“Port, hold … sit ready, ROW!”
In the sport of team rowing, the steersman calls the shots but it’s the efforts of each crew member working in tandem that gets the boat off the mark. By definition, competitors who develop a heightened sense of acumen on the water—an ability to make good judgments and quick decisions—move ahead of the field. Not surprisingly, teams which are aligned the closest are the ones who emerge victorious.
“All four … let it run!”
The same thing holds true in business. Leaders who have an in-depth understanding of how their organizations work and make money are typically experts at forming financial strategies and making operational decisions that impact the bottom line. In other words, they know business acumen like the back of their hand. However, in far too many companies, that’s as far as it goes: the rank-and-file flails wildly without direction—only experiencing fleeting satisfaction (at best) before calling it a day.
Think about all of this in terms of your own organization. If your employees are not aligned with your core purpose in particular and business acumen across the board, you are in command of a boat that does not have all its oars in place. More to the point, it may be time to address your crew.
Do any of these characters sound familiar?
- The rogue captain. This fella knows his stuff. He’s been around for years and likes to do things his way. Therein lies the problem: he doesn’t support initiatives, so much as reluctantly goes along.
- The brash lookout. In her defense, this sales leader hits her numbers every time. However, she takes losing personally and often will make her own rules to retain her preeminent standing. She makes waves, but a stronger anchor of business acumen would quiet the waters.
- Average deck-hands. You need good help to keep any ship afloat, but if your employees are really only doing enough to keep their own head above water, it may be time to raise the bar.
- The salty dog. Picture a first mate who has become a bit of a legend. He lives off past laurels but rarely brings anything new to the table. Most sales teams are bound to have one or two of them in their midst. No need to make them walk the plank; just encourage them to walk-the-walk (but talk-the-talk of business acumen with them, first).
- The know-it-all navigator. This lady has always brought good luck to the ship, but lately, she hasn’t been 100 percent behind a change in course. Her experience tells her there’s a better way, and unfortunately, gives her justification for rocking the boat.
Naturally, the above characterizations only scratch the surface, but they provide a good starting point for testing the waters in any discussion of business acumen.
When you’re ready to “touch it up,” we’ll show you how to start.
To see more business acumen examples, check out our eBook: Business Acumen Anecdotes.