Three ways to develop your business acumen

Curium | 21 Feb 2014 | News | General

If you want to drive your career forward, it pays to have a holistic view of both your company and the wider business environment.  How do your departments and teams operate together? What is your company’s proposition and financial position? What are the latest trends in your industry and beyond? It’s not just the responsibility of the executive teams to answer these questions.  Developing your business acumen can help you to make better informed business decisions, consider complex situations from multiple perspectives and build credibility with your peers.  Here are 3 practical ways you can do this without giving up your current role:


Get involved in a project or company initiative

Projects provide a great opportunity to temporarily delve into a different area, learn from a new set of colleagues and gain deeper insight into the company.  A cross-functional project will give exposure to different departments, develop your operational knowledge and help connect the dots of your organisation.  A great example of a project you could get involved in is bid work, which can be an intense learning experience, or perhaps designing and running an event.  Participating in a company initiative such as an employee engagement programme will again help you to broaden your horizons and get your voice heard, if you’re able to dedicate some time around your day job.


Read, Watch, Listen!

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to information sources.  Books, magazines, websites, newsletters, blogs and social media sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter.  Reading will help you keep in touch with what’s happening in your industry and the wider business world. If you prefer to watch or listen, there are plenty of video or audio podcasts out there.  It’s amazing how much you’ll pick up if you dedicate just a little time each week scanning through your favourite sources, then sharing these insights in conversations with colleagues and clients.


Get mentored

An ancient proverb suggests that “the wise learn from the experience of others” and this can be a powerful way to develop your business acumen.  Surround yourself with people who are happy to share their insights with you, provide you with support and guidance, and help you to accelerate your own success.  Mentoring can have many forms; you may opt for a formal mentor through a company scheme, or you may simply choose to create your own ‘virtual’ team of advisors who you touch base with regularly.


Before heading back to the day job, spend a few moments and ask yourself how strong your business acumen really is? How much of the above have you engaged in recently and what steps can you take to further develop? Hint: If you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably already got a head-start on one of them!

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