Skilled In Business Insight?

Ever wonder how managers become highly skilled in business insight into your organization, how they obtained the knowledge and skills to become highly proficient. I’m here to tell you it does not happen overnight. It takes experience, trial, and error, and yes failure to truly understand the business awareness of your organization. So how do you obtain the practical experience and confidence needed to become skilled?

"A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well" - Jeff Bezos

The manager must pay attention to their industry, both internal and external. First, he or she builds expertise in their functional discipline. Understand how the departments and the drivers of their organization on how they relate and work with each other. A good manager understands the agenda, issues, and concerns of the people they work within their organization. See things as others do; in other words, they walk a mile in their shoes.

Secondly, they look outside. Learn about the competition and customers. A manager that practices good business acumen will often use the S.W.O.T approach to know the organizations’ strengths and weakness, identify threats and potential opportunities that come their way. Additionally, the manager needs to be up to date on local, regional, state, and national level policies that affect their industry and business. They need to determine what the current status is in comparison to where they need to be and when?

When you know what is going on, you can maximize your contribution and better able to put forward ideas and suggestions that pass the business practicality test. Make it your business to learn about the company.

Skilled in Business Insight

Someone that knows how businesses works in organizations make money.

Someone that keeps up with current possible future policies, practices, with the competition, and in the marketplace.

Someone that uses knowledge of business drivers and how strategies and tactics work.

Fourteen Tips To Develop
Skilled In Business Insight 

1. Need to be better informed? Read more. Look for information on new and emergent thinking. Understand what you have read into information that is relevant for you. Make notes on why and how it may be useful

2. Want fresh insights? Get close to your customers. Look for ways to gather feedback from some customers and strengthen the organization’s relationship with them. What do customers want from your products and services? What is the biggest customer complaint? What delights them?

3. Not up to speed? Watch the right sources. Watch the news and business channels. They often have interviews with business leaders and reviews by industry experts, as well as general reviews of companies. Watch online business presentations and TED talks.

4. Are you baffled by catchphrases? Learn the jargon. Listen for and learn the meaning of standard business terms, acronyms, and abbreviations. Like the accounting term EBITA, which is an acronym, but most business people say it as a noun.

5. Ready to continue your education? Take a class. Formal education classes provide a supportive and structured approach to learning about business. They offer the opportunity to come together with a group of like-minded people learning together. Eaton Leadership Model Competency Guide - Professionals. (n.d.). Retrieved from

6. Want to learn from the pros? Surround yourself, with wise counsel. Find a business mentor. Look inside and outside the organization. Console someone whose business skills you can emulate — someone who would take an interest in your career and helps you think.

7. Need access to expertise? Join a professional industry network or association. Join the professional networks or associations for your industry. Join one of their special interest groups to get a closer look. Sign up for newsletters and publications.

"Business, more than any other occupation, is a continual dealing with the future; its a continual calculation, an instinctive Exercise in foresight" - Henry R. Luce

8. Have a Superficial understanding of your business? Think like an executive. Read what you can about the organization. Study your annual report and other relevant communications, including financial statements. Learn about the structure, systems, functions, and processes.

9. Narrow insight? Broaden our perspective. Analyze the business from multiple sources. The big three angles are finance, marketing, and customer service. There’s a tendency to favor one source of information over others. It’s natural and consistent with education, training, and experience, but to truly understand the business, all three of these broad perspectives need consideration.

10. Want to stay ahead in the game? Become a student of the competition. Part of knowing your business is knowing how you stack up against other players in the marketplace. Use the same online sources that you used to gain Intel on your business and the customer’s business to learn about your competitors. Analyze their web sites. Read up on customer reviews of their products or services.

11. Are you feeling cornered? Go on a company to tour. Knowledge is embedded and often hidden in the social fabric of our organization. Branch out from your day to day activities to get into that knowledge. Volunteer for cross-functional assignments, committees, projects, or task force that include people outside your function and topics outside your area of expertise.

12. Think about your part of the business? Consider the assimilation points. What happens in one area always affects everything else. Identify your key stakeholders. Recognize their priorities and implications of your actions on them. Communicate the rationale behind the decisions you make.

13. Are they stuck in tactical mode? Engage with the strategy. Successful organizations have well thought out plans. They know where they are heading, and how they’re going to get there. They understand their competition. They know where they have a competitive advantage. For a strategy to be successful, individuals need to understand it at a local level. Actions and decisions made need alignment.

14. Struggle to recommend ways forward? Deconstruct your thinking. Questions can help you think things through. Help shape and test ideas. Break complex problems down into smaller, more manageable problems. Ask yourself: What’s happening now in the organization? Positive or negative? What’s causing it? Is it resulting from external forces (market conditions, customer trends) or internal influences (management style) of the products or services? Working through your thinking is a great way to gain insight into how the business works.

If you think understanding the business doesn’t apply to you

…then remember that being part of the organization involves understanding how it works. Break down complexities. Clarify the concepts. Develop a comprehensive vision of how the business operates.

If you make your decisions without considering the business context

, …then take a step back to think through the business implications of your choices. Even logical decisions can sometimes be at odds with strategy. Think holistically. Think context. Think organizational priorities and goals.

If you’re too busy to learn about the industry and market,

then understand the importance of developing greater discernment. Taking time to look more broadly will open your eyes. It will help you foresee what’s coming your way.

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