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Building Business Acumen

Post by Agnes Pokrandt/Sr. Partner

09 March

Business Acumen

Building Business Acumen

A manager or professional is seen as having general business acumen when they exercise sound judgment—the results of their decisions are often favorable. The people they work with would say they have a quick mind that can assimilate information from many different sources and come up with sound strategic alternatives. They also have the quality of insight—being able to envision what the company should do now to bring about a more profitable, successful future.

Breadth of Understanding

Within the management ranks, a company has experts in finance, accounting, marketing, production, and information technology. But, even with these specializations, sound decision making requires the ability to see how decisions that are made affect other departments within the organization; to see each manager’s success as depending on the coordinated efforts of every other person. In business, individuals with acumen “see the whole field or the whole picture.


General business acumen involves the ability to effectively communicate with all functional areas in the organization. Even if a marketing manager has never studied finance, he/she knows how to speak the language of finance well enough to convey the logic behind budgetary requests so finance people can understand and hopefully approve the budget. Individuals with acumen are always looking ahead, trying to gain insight into what opportunities will be coming and what competitive threats are likely to emerge. Acumen means having the ability to devise strategies to remain one step ahead of competitors, a quality sometimes called vision.

Business acumen is related to understanding how the business operates. A manager or professional with strong business acumen is able to understand and explain things like:

  • How does the business make money?
  • What is a person’s individual contribution and role in this?
  • What are the different elements that make a certain action work or not work?

Developing Acumen

Business acumen is not an innate ability. It is something most people learn through formal training in leadership and by enhancing their awareness of what are the key skills required for better management and leadership.

To truly comprehend the issues, it’s a good idea to examine the skills that people with business acumen have. A person would . . .

  • Be able to focus on the key objectives.
  • Be able to recognize the options available for solving problems.
  • Be able to select the right approach to overcome those obstacles.
  • Be able to set in motion the plan that gets things done.

What this essentially means is that people with business acumen can create larger frameworks and use them for the benefit of the business. They are able to see the big picture and use the finer details to their advantage in the event of problems.

When you are developing your business acumen, you therefore must focus on improving analytical capabilities, enhancing logical thinking and remaining disciplined in the face of tasks.


A business will benefit from having a workforce with business acumen for the following reasons:

    • People with business acumen are more efficient in their work; they notice connections within the workplace and the way different contributions affect the different elements.
    • Employees will be able to understand the different trade-offs of actions, which can help make better and more logical decisions.
    • Business acumen can provide more coordinated and logical responses to problems and threats the business might have; teaches quick thinking, not panicking in the face of difficulties.Go to our website, to learn more about REACH. Or, call our office, which is strategically located in East Memphis, 901-324-4300.
  • Prepared by Agnes Pokrandt, President REACH Human Capital, LLC;
  • Now, IMAGINE that your workforce that has a solid grasp on the fundamentals of good business; they understand Cash, Margins, Velocity, Growth, and Customers. At REACH Human Capital, we work with organizations who invest in their Human Capital; organizations who want to develop and retain these very important Assets.
  • higher education degree
    March 09 , 2017

    Aw, this was a really good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to generate a great article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and don't seem to get anything done.

  • admin
    March 09 , 2017


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