Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What has your business acumen done for you lately?

Earlier this year, Strategy+Business magazine published a piece by Ram Charan entitled "Sharpening Your Business Acumen." Teasing the piece in an email newsletter, S+B Editor-in-Chief Art Kleiner informs us that uncommon success can be forged by those of us who can accurately assess larger trends and roll the most poignant implications into our business practices, so long as we're ready, willing and able to break new ground and preconceive all the possibilities change can render. Charan's detailed, example-rich article -- in which he defines the demanding but yet all-important art of business acumen as "linking an insightful assessment of the external business landscape with the keen awareness of how money can be made... and then executing the strategy to deliver the desired results" -- is inspiring. Here's my take on his keys to making the most of change.

. Compile strategic, insightful, rationales from the perspective of your company and your marketplace, based upon important developing trends
. Allow your rationales to be informed by other perspectives as well -- those of your competitors, those of businesses in related marketplaces, those of companies/individuals you aspire to emulate, etc.
. Based upon these rationales, analyze what your company can legitimately do to turn the trends to your advantage
. Investigate the mechanics of incorporating the change(s), to determine when key developments need to occur
. Hone-in on what you/your company can reasonably do
. Get busy taking those steps, ensuring that the objectives stay at the forefront, and tuning all activities to ensure they take you precisely -- and only -- where you want to go....

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