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Susan Colantuono Ted Talk – The Career Advice You Probably Didn’t Get

Summary – What is Business Acumen

The Career Advice You Probably Didn’t Get

Susan Colantuono has a great Ted Talk about business acumen and career advice. The target audience for the talk is middle management women. However, the advice is for everyone. 

Susan states that  women represent about 50% of middle management and professional positions, however, the percentage of women in top-level management drops to 20%. She wants to know why  this is the case. While there is no simple answer, one of the reasons is business acumen.

We know this is true for everyone. Having the technical expertise does not automatically translate into business, financial and strategic intelligence. In most organisations, people are promoted based on their current skills and expertise and not on the skills needed for the new role. This is called the Peter Principle.

Susan also talks about how this important skill is not spoken about as it’s a basic expectation. However, many women in her seminars didn’t understand how critical the skill of business acumen is to progressing their career.

We see the same scenario in business. A business owner will leave their job to run a business based on their technical ability or passion for the product. However, they may not have the business acumen required to run a business when they start. It is critical they up-skill for their business to survive.

What is Business Acumen? Our Definition

(FQ x SXQ)EQ = ER (Extraordinary Results)

Business acumen is ‘knowing how your business makes money and how to drive execution within the companies’ strategy using your management style to deliver extraordinary results’.

Let’s take a look at the formula.

Financial Intelligence (FQ) is financial literacy. Financial literacy is not solely being able to read financial reports. It includes knowing how your business makes money. Anyone can learn FQ without becoming an accountant! It is even better you aren’t an accountant.

Strategic Execution Intelligence (SXQ)  is executing according to the company’s strategy. A business not only needs leader who can execute , they need leaders to execute within the framework of the strategy for the business to be cohesive. There is research that suggests up to 95% of employees do not understand their company’s strategy.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is understanding your management style. The top leaders in the Fortune 500 have emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence attributes include the ability to self-regulate, make judgements, work with people and resilience.

Business acumen is the combination of all three elements. When you have all three elements the results are exponential not additional. If you are missing one element, the results drop significantly.

Let’s Talk About How You Can Become A Leader Equipped With Business Acumen