thought-leadership-icon.pngBusiness Acumen - a Critical Competency for Success

As stated by The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Business Acumen ranks as the third most crucial behavioral competency for employee success, following Leadership and Ethics. This significance is further reinforced by its popularity, evident from the substantial monthly search volume of nearly 10,000 on Google alone. Additionally, within a single month on Twitter, the topic garnered considerable attention with the following statistics:

  • Over 2000 Tweets containing the term 
  • 400 Tweets with Business Skills Training
  • 365 Tweets on Business Simulation

At a high level, most HR and Talent Development professionals think it is just about understanding business, but of course, it is much more than that. Advantexe wrote a blog called “Defining Business Acumen” which defines it as; The deep and applicable understanding of the system of how a business achieves its goals and objectives. It includes a thorough understanding of the levers that create and position a value proposition to customers and it drives profitability, cash flow, and shareholder value.

The bottom line? Business skills development is a critical competency that everyone in the organization must have. At a more specific level,  building business skills means different things to different functions and audiences within the business organization, and here are a few suggestions.

Level / Function

Need to understand:


  • ROI in investments in R&D
  • The long-term value of new products
  • How to invest in a profitable portfolio
  • Affects investments have on the Cost of Goods



  • How customers make money
  • How your products and services affect the customer's business
  • How to position the value of solutions to customers
  • How competitors make money
  • The effects of over-forecasting 



  • The impact of manufacturing on COGS
  • The drivers of profitability
  • The relationship between forecasting and manufacturing

Human Resources


  • How the strategy of the business to hire, develop, and promote the right people
  • The impact of HR on profit
  • How to add value to all functions

Information Technology 


  • The impact of IT on COGS
  • The drivers of profitability
  • The impact of poor R&D systems
  • The costs of cybersecurity 

Supply Chain


  • The impact of supply chain and operations on COGS and EBITDA
  • The drivers of profitability
  •  The relationship between forecasting and manufacturing and sales

New Hires


  • How does my new company make money
  • What’s my role in helping my new company make money
  •  How are our customers making money

Customer Service 

  • Costs of poor customer service
  • Metrics of success
  • The importance of customer satisfaction in driving revenue 


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