What is business acumen? Business acumen is an understanding of how your business works and the ability to strategically think through any situation to optimise outcomes and minimise risk. Previously this may not have been a critical skill for communicators, but today it’s essential to ensure you’re effectively prioritising your own work and building your broader credibility within the organisation.

In Kademy’s course Why Business Acumen Matters, we work through a series of key themes – not just to understand them in their own right, but to discover what they mean for your business and how they should be impacting your communications.

Business terms. In essence this is simply understanding how your business works. What are your company’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)? What’s your company’s organisational structure? Divisional, matrix, functional? Knowing and understanding this information will allow you to better segment your communication and prioritise work that’s business critical.

Financial terms. How the business makes money is a hard reality for many communicators. We’re usually thinking about morale, engagement, and other more people-focused objectives. These are important – engagement leads to reduced attrition, which saves money. Morale leads to higher productivity, which reduces costs. But you need to speak the language of your leaders to help them make the connection between the business and the work you do.

Understanding Stakeholders. We can’t operate in a silo. If sales and marketing is sending out one message, public relations another, and something completely different goes out internally, at best there will be massive noise and confusion, and nothing sticks. At worst, in a crisis situation, this could have serious implications for your company reputation or even employee safety. Part of building your business acumen is developing a deeper understanding of the remit of other parts of your business, their communication responsibilities and ensuring everyone is aligned.

When you can do all this, your communication will team benefit from:

  1. Improved credibility with leaders – you’ll be talking their language.
  2. Increased productivity – everyone will be focused on what actually matters.
  3. Greater involvement in key projects – leaders will understand that you know what you’re talking about and want you involved.
  4. Accelerated career progression – building on a solid foundation for development in your comms career and beyond.

To find out more about how we develop these skills with our members, take a look at Kademy’s Why Business Acumen Matters course.

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