The last year saw both companies and employees to evolve and adapt to face uncertain situations. As we look towards 2023, it is important for professionals to take the time to realign their mindset towards growth and look at the infinite opportunities available. Commercial awareness is one of the most important soft skills that many employers seek these days, especially for middle to senior level positions. Possessing strong commercial mindset can give you that edge which shows you are strategic, truly connected to the business and have thorough business knowledge.
In this article, we will share a few top tips on how you can develop that commercial acumen irrespective of the career level you are at.
Do you have a keen interest in how your company operates?
Are you able to answer any of these questions to start with?
· How is the industry performing in general and what are the latest “hot topics” in the market?
· Who are your company’s major competitors in the market?
· How was your company performing over the last year?
· What are your company’s top priorities in 2023?
· What are the difficulties the market/your company is facing currently?
Ensure you are well-versed about your company and having a big picture of the market is key to building a strong commercial mindset. Get a good understanding of your company’s values, business priorities and past performance. Start reading and subscribing publications like The Financial Times, Bloomberg, The Guardian, to name a few. As your interests evolve and become increasingly focused, you may want to read more specialised industry publications. This way you’ll be able to form your own opinions and demonstrate your understanding of the issues affecting your industry or sector.
Talk to as many internal stakeholders as possible
After having developed a sound understanding of the overall business, it’s also recommended to translate the knowledge into something meaningful to you company. A good and direct way is to speak to key stakeholders, check your company’s news and social media feed to be aware of the message or content being put out to be aligned. Be proactive, expand your internal network across departments to understand the company thoroughly and “connect the dots” across business’s issues.
Expand your work exposure
Another aspect that can help improve your commercial awareness is building up your work exposure. Look for key projects, voluntary work, job rotation and even international mobility programme that you can be a part of. This can help you develop a deeper understanding of the business from different levels and perspectives. As time goes by, you would be able to priorities you work, focus on those bring true commercial value your business and presenting value-adding analysis to top management.
“The more you advance in your career, the more important commercial awareness becomes. Having strong commercial acumen enables you to make a positive contribution towards the success of a business, spot opportunities for improvements, demonstrate your commitment, and keep yourself and those around you motivated.”
Never stop there
Building a commercial mindset is not a “one-off exercise”. Commercial awareness should be part of your ongoing professional development throughout your career. It’s important to keep abreast of the constantly evolving economic & political situation and evaluate opportunities to assess and improve your own understanding.
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