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Acumen in Action #12 / Seeing the Big Picture

1. Activity: Read through definitions


Read the definitions as a team and then answer the questions on the next page.

Top 5 Qualities of a Strategic Business Partner

1. They build meaningful, trusting relationships

Business partners build meaningful, trusting relationships, which saves time and money. Remember that trust is a combination of character and competence. Protect your character, and be confident in the value you bring to the business. Know your stuff, but also recognize that the more you learn, the more competent you become. Business partners who combine ever-increasing competence with an impeccable character are trusted to help move the company forward.

2. They bring something special to the table

Business partners bring something special to the table – unique expertise, knowledge, or perspective that nobody else has. Be known less as a talker and more as a doer; know when and how to step into the spotlight to enhance the business and get important work done. Also, recognize what others bring to the table; be open to new thinking and unique perspectives, and be committed to debating ideas collaboratively and respectfully.

3. They step back and are able to take an objective view

Business partners are able to step back and take an objective view. Don’t let your focus become so narrow that you miss opportunities for positive change and improvement. Work in the business, but not at the expense of working on the business. You must do both. Allow yourself to step away and look at the business from different angles. Test your thinking and challenge the systems that are in place and the decisions that are being made. Success isn’t just about short-term financial gain. It’s about building something meaningful and rock-steady.

4. They strive to do the right thing for the business

Business partners strive to do the right thing for the business. This means looking beyond your niche and understanding the whole business. You must understand how the business makes money and what levers can be engaged to accelerate success. You need to understand how decisions are made, who makes them, and why. What’s the strategy, and what are the business goals? Where are you leading and where are you behind compared to the competition? In short, you need business acumen.

5. They are passionate about their work

Business partners are passionate about their work. Devote yourself to doing an incredible amount of incredible work. Give 110% and go beyond the expected. Bring an infectious-energy to the team. If you can’t stand up for your ideas and communicate them clearly, you’re minimizing your impact. Good is never good enough, and you can’t accomplish better and best on your own. If a business is going to accomplish great results, everyone in the business needs to be engaged and needs to believe that they can make a difference – and that starts with you.

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