Building Commercial Awareness

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Let’s first think of the definition…”Commercial Awareness” is having the knowledge of how businesses make money, what their customers want, and what problems there are in particular areas of any business, and that could prevent any of these things happening. Then realise that when an employer recruits for a role, the three key attributes are…”a can-do attitude, technical skills, and commercial awareness”.

These are based at a very macro level, with the last two being skills that can be developed with the right leadership, while the first one is very much one that needs to be inherent in the individual.

For employers, consider for a moment the importance of your people having commercial awareness.
How well do your people know how their role fits into the organization when they perhaps just see themselves as a number…do they understand how their performance contributes to the bottom line, both in terms of sales, service, or cost savings?

Do they recognise and embrace the business’ culture, ethics, and goals? Without being able to clearly define these to the organization, employees will be unable to make informed decisions about the actions that they will need to make on a day-to-day basis.
How much do your people know about your competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Are their ways that you can benefit from this knowledge?
Staff should also understand who your key customers are. Who is the target market?

If you spend time with your people and to allow them to recognise the importance of their roles, then how they can make a difference, they will start to make empowered decisions that benefit the business, while continuing to self-develop…a “win-win”.

Once they have secured the commercial awareness, employees become more valuable to the organisation and can help drive revenue streams and cost savings across the business, improve processes and better serve customers.

Develop your team’s commercial awareness, and they will feel a bigger involvement in the business…fail to do so, and you will fail to better develop the bottom line, staff advocacy and customer satisfaction.

Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?”
Marcus Aurelius