“The company with the most leaders wins.” Ken Blanchard
Business Acumen Builds Valuable Strategic Perspective
Some of the best companies in the world summarize their strategic intentions very well:
“Meet Shoppers In All the Moments that Matter”
“The Best Bed for Better Sleep”
Yet, time and time again, we encounter leaders at all levels of our client companies who have difficulty putting such seemingly simple instructions into practice. The decisions they make, the challenges they face, the demands placed on them, all seem to conspire to draw their attention away from these relatively simple plans.
It’s my belief that the leaders that outperform the rest are those that can fluently translate strategy to action. They can see it and do it. They can connect what is the vision of the future to the decisions and actions in the here and now.
Our work in business learning is centered on this very notion.
We consistently see companies large and small looking for leaders at all levels that can see things like:
Strategic differentiators in the marketplace
Position of their products or services relative to their competitors
High priority leverage points and decisions to get the best results
with scarce resources
The learning they and others need in order to see the bigger picture and get it done
Each of these areas are essential for leaders to accomplish the overall strategic intention of their companies. Everyone needs to be on board. Ken Blanchard, author of The One-Minute Manager said recently, “The company with the most leaders wins.” He’s right. I’d even go further to say, “The company with the most strategic leaders wins.”
A strategic leader is an employee at any level in your company who takes the initiative and brings others along. The strategic part of the role requires that the leader understand the vision, future, and how your company will achieve success at a high level, and then can bring those ideas down to the specific behaviors, decisions, and actions that get it done.
How do you get strategic leaders? The best companies hire and develop them. Yes, it can be learned! Our work with our clients shows again and again the power of an engaging learning experience focused on true business acumen. We see that leaders who gain business acumen this way are more productive, energized, and get better results than those who don’t.
It takes time and practice. It requires learning experiences that result in energy and enthusiasm around the strategies and tactics for leader success. Most importantly, it requires practice in connecting strategy and getting it done.
"The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the unanimous views of all parts of my mind."
- Malcolm McMahon
Dan Topf, CPT is Sr. Vice President at MDI, Inc.
Business Learning by Dan: Primers for Trainers
PDF versions of short articles on how to integrate business acumen into all training and development:
The Income Statement
Price and Volume
The Circulation of Capital
The Cost of Capital
Financial Services -- Life Insurance/Annuities