What is Commercial Acumen?

With Brexit on the horizon, in today’s competitive business climate, commercial responsibility drills deeper within and spreads wider across organisations. This means managers need to know how to assess potential risks and exploit the commercial opportunities that will drive business success.  Echoing our recent blog on KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), this means that greater awareness of the financial and non-financial impact of day-to-day business actions and operational decisions is needed.

 So, what do organisations require from their leaders and managers?

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How do you make a matrix environment work?

Market changes, globalisation and advances in technology all contribute to the need to redesign organisations. Business leaders must be able to anticipate or respond to changing customer requirements and market opportunities (e.g. online shopping or new lines of business), as well as create agility and/or deliver operational efficiencies implicit in new operating models.

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Is Crisis a Catalyst for Organisational Growth?

Sometimes an organisation needs a wake up call to enable it to see what is happening and a crisis helps it to see something previously hidden.  Created by the US military to describe our environment, VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) is the latest acronym we can baffle our colleagues with.

It is a great summary of why organisations need employees who are agile, able to learn and brave.  However these behaviours are usually squashed by budget cuts, multiple unfocused meetings, policies, legislation and fear of change. 

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Carnival in Rio

Well what an amazing performance by the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team at the Olympics in Rio.  Liz Nicholl, CEO of UK Sport said “our athletes have prepared and performed quite exceptionally in Rio, to deliver arguably the greatest achievement in British sporting history”.

20 years ago in Atlanta, Great Britain won 15 medals including 1 gold medal.  In 2016 Team GB achieved 27 gold medals, 23 silvers and 17 bronze medals finishing second in the medals’ table behind the USA, ahead of China.  What has changed in 20 short years to spark this spectacular turn around?

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The Process of Achievement

Everybody seems to agree that teams are ‘A Good Thing’. For many people “the team” is something we should all aspire to join.  Surely only the most anti‑social and difficult individuals express unease with “team working”. Of course, we all accept that teams get it wrong sometimes, but building teams and fostering “team spirit” is usually considered a good thing throughout the corporate environment.

Everyone knows what “a team” is. Everyone knows how to put a team together. Everyone can select the best people to engineer the best available team. Everyone knows how to allocate the tasks to be done amongst the members of the team. But if it’s all so obvious, why do so many workplace teams struggle to deliver?

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Making Your Off-site Work

The Senior Leadership Team of any commercial organisation has the dual responsibility both to formulate the business strategy as well as to lead, drive and manage its execution.

The ‘Off-site’ or ‘Away Day’ would therefore seem to be an essential tool in the leaders’ tool kit.

You know how this works – a group of hard working senior executives take a step back from day-to-day operations to review the business, thinking about market trends, opportunities and threats in order to ensure goals and objectives are aligned with the strategic aims of the business.

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A 10 step model for delivering an effective conduct risk culture

The conduct risk imperative
The Financial Conduct Authority’s focus on ‘conduct risk’ marks a significant shift in mind-set for most financial organisations. The FCA has been clear that it is up to individual firms to decide what ‘good’ conduct and focus on customer outcomes mean for them. Moreover, the onus is on firms to show that they have done the right thinking and modified their business model accordingly. There are no set procedures, policies and frameworks to follow; the FCA has said Continue reading

Identifying high potential employees

What is a high-potential employee?  In our view ‘high potentials’ are employees who not only have the potential and ability but also the motivation to achieve a succession of more senior roles over time.

Most clients seem to employ a version of the ubiquitous McKinsey 9-box grid to compare and contrast performance with potential.  The 9-box grid model has its uses, but does not necessarily echo the theories of Stanford University psychologist and world-renowned guru Carol Dweck on workplace motivation.  Dweck says that Continue reading

No time to coach?

When working with clients’ managers who have been signed up (usually by their line manager!) for a Coaching for Performance type workshop, I often hear things like “I don’t have enough time for this”, “I can’t sit down in a quiet space every time I want to discuss something, it’s not practical”, “You mean I have to ask questions and not give any direction …”  All fair comments?  I wish to share with you an experienceContinue reading