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Commercial Acumen

In a world of constant change, it’s important to know you have a team capable of making the right decisions in the short and long-term. You need both commercial acumen and business acumen.

At Elgood we work with clients in the private and public sector to not only define and build commercial and business competencies but also help them define how these skills will deliver their strategy.

Defining commercial acumen and its place in the business

We believe, commercial acumen asks the question ‘how do we do what we currently do better?’. It considers the current competitive landscape and the things driving the market such as customer needs. It might include the next one to three years but usually the focus is on the next year or the next quarter.

It’s different to business acumen which looks further ahead (1-5 years) and asks ‘what additional products and services could we offer that our customers might want/need in the future?’.

A lasting approach using simulations

We work with leadership teams to ensure they have people in the organisation with the right commercial acumen to deliver the strategy, right through to understanding when the strategy is no longer fit for purpose and how to respond in a co-ordinated way.Developing commercial acumen in individuals and organisations

We do this in two ways:

  • by further developing existing skill through specific training, or
  • by providing business simulations where people can acquire and then practice the skills in a safe way.

Simulations in particular, help to test fundamental attributes of commercial acumen such as:

  • levels of knowledge, including how the organisation operates and the bigger picture that poses opportunity and risk
  • their ability, including dealing with ambiguity, complexity and change in and outside of their control
  • and important skills like stakeholder management

Most of all, simulations help to create and sustain a culture that is supportive of questioning the status quo and finding new profitable ways of doing business.

It’s this approach that ensures commercial acumen complements business acumen <link>, and that both are embedded into the company so strategic imperatives are continually delivered.

You can read our definition and discussion paper on acumen here. It’s a useful training tool for leaders who want to develop both business and commercial acumen in their organisation.

Read our blog post Why Developing commercial acumen in individuals and organisationscial acumen is important or look at some of the simulations we use when working with our clients.