Business Acumen- The Ajar Door
The competency of ‘business acumen’ can be succinctly summarized as - the understanding of disciplines such as finance and accounting, the in-depth knowledge about the functioning of various domains in an organization and how they contribute to the overall business, awareness regarding the competitive landscape and the ability to leverage analytical tools for sound business decisions. It is about having a 360 degree perspective, to be able to handle a business venture successfully. A strong business acumen is a career imperative for most managerial roles. It also boosts the entrepreneurial ability to start a business.
It is absolutely necessary to build the competency of managers that will enable them to formulate better strategies. In this context, the understanding of different trade-offs that are required to ensure a coordinated and logical response to a business problem ; an appreciation of the business context and the nuances of a specific situation, as also the consequent ability to improvise and innovate, even in the light of unanticipated developments, must and should be a vital managerial trait. The inevitability of opposing stakeholder requirements e.g. between customer expectations and investor needs, between short term profitability and building long term institutions and the ability to deftly maneuver around such contradictions to achieve the desired goals ; the knowledge of operating frameworks, performance measurements as also the importance of employee engagement to achieve business goals, are all within the ambit of the key competency of business acumen.
“Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.” – Richard Branson. Branson’s Virgin has proven that from record labels to airlines, where there is a will there is a way. The door isn’t always open, but sometimes it’s ajar or the key is on the floor. All one must do is pick it up and turn the lock. Basically, the right environment for success perpetually ebbs and flows, but a keen businessperson is always alert to seize fleeting opportunities.
Healthcare leaders are facing pressures for performance that demands a departure from business as usual. Healthcare organizations are frequently called upon to make smarter business choices in order to survive in a fiercely competitive market. In light of the same, the competency of business acumen should really be in the DNA of any manager who is striving to succeed.