Almost everyone has some degree of business acumen or commercial awareness. Most people shop around for a good deal when making decisions about their personal finances or considering a large purchase. Sadly, when people come to work they don’t always apply this existing skill. The result is that many organisations are less successful than they might otherwise be.
To encourage people to use and develop their business and commercial acumen organisations need to help their staff identify which decisions they have control over and to understand how their choices impact the performance of the organisation.
As a starting point, all staff should be encouraged to develop their understanding of how the organisation works. What is its primary purpose? Who are its target customers and what do they want? What can individuals do to provide a good match between customer demands and what the organisation can reasonably deliver? Individuals at every level need to be aware of the trade-offs. For example, offering a 20% price reduction may delight the customer, but what impact does it have on the organisation?
Depending on their responsibilities some people might need to understand more about key suppliers and major competitors. They could be encouraged to consider the wider marketplace and the organisation’s overall strategy until they reach a level where they need to develop a full overview of the organisation and to expand their business acumen further.
Business Simulation Games are an effective method for developing the necessary skills by:
- Developing confidence; a training activity is a relatively risk-free environment.
- Building a bridge between cause and effect enabling participants to see how their business awareness impacts performance.
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