Recently we were talking to a group of business partners about commercial acumen. Now I don’t know about you, but commercial acumen doesn’t get me in any loving moods. However, in our Business Partnering e-forum we ended up joining the concepts of falling in love and commercial acumen – yes we did.
Think about falling in love for a moment. It certainly can be a giddy adventure. The excitement, the passion, the nerves, the feeling of not wanting to be anywhere else or with anyone else. As you develop a deeper understanding of the person, you become more familiar with them. You get to know them fully. You spend the time to understand each other and this gives you a solid appreciation of the whole person.
Now the question is, what has falling in love got to do with commercial acumen?
When we have strong commercial acumen, this helps us fall in love with our business. Our pride, sense of connection, purpose and understanding strengthens the love that we have for the business. It encourages us to learn it inside and out. Short side story- I spent 9 years in a financial service business, and whilst I enjoyed working with my colleagues, I was not in love with the business. I didn’t care for its products at that time in my life. At 25, I was interested in travelling and handbags, not so much superannuation and life insurance. However, had I made the effort to learn more about the business, what, how and why it existed, I would have further developed my commercial acumen, and perhaps fallen in love, with the business! In my fourth decade, I know have a greater appreciation of all things financial!
When I think about commercial acumen (especially the word acumen!) it sometimes makes me yawn. And I think for many Business Partners, the sentiment is similar. If we tend to focus narrowly just in our space, within our subject matter, we can be blinkered from learning other aspects of the business, which ultimately stop us from being great business partners. A great business partner will learn, be interested and immerse themselves in the whole business. And when we do, we fall in love! This is because we understand our business on a deeper level, we have made the time to learn more about it and we increase our familiarity and appreciation of it.
So, go on, fall in love with your business, and in fact I encourage it to increase your impact as a great Business Partner. Your Internal clients will appreciate it and the advice and service you provide will be more holistic and have a greater impact.