If you’re in business, it’s typically about making money and you and your colleagues need to be at your best to beat the competition and make a lot of money. However, you often wonder why even the best thought and well-communicated plans still don’t get executed the way they were intended. Truth be told it’s because you’re not aligned in your mind with what your CEO and senior management team want you to do. In fact, they could even claim that you don’t have what it takes to make money! The good news is that this can be trained but the sad news is, of course, that you can’t just switch it on tomorrow. Before digging into it let’s just be clear and define what a mindset is.
“a mindset is a set of assumptions, methods, or notations held by one or more people”
So, when claiming you’re not aligned with the management team you’re either applying different assumptions than they are, using wrong methods or simply just interpreting things differently from what they do.
Here’s how to focus your efforts towards making money
It’s important that you’re in sync with your management team so that you execute the business plan the way it was intended. To do that you focus on developing a mindset for doing business. The Business Acumen Gauge defines the following mindset attributes that need your attention.
- Reflective Mindset – shows that you have both learned from the past and have the learning agility for the future
- Analytical Mindset – gather relevant data, both quantitative and qualitative, and then make sense of it through evaluation, and finally draw accurate conclusions from it
- Creative Mindset – when solving problems, you think creatively – using many techniques for innovative ways to approach problems
- Collaborative Mindset – appreciate the value of working collaboratively and draw upon the skills and insights of colleagues to solve problems and implement solutions
- Change Mindset – takes responsibility for initiating and leading change
- Resilient Mindset – maintains agility and perseverance to get the job done
- Action Mindset – have an orientation towards getting things done efficiently and effectively
Often a mindset is thought of as something quite loose although not without significant impact. It’s like I described in his article “Do You Have A Finance Business Partner Mindset?” yet here it’s made even more concrete and tangible which makes it possible to actively develop it instead of just quickly trying to change a specific behaviourr. Knowing that you need to be sharp in all these areas you can now also start to question why and how you’re not in sync with the management team with questions like.
- Do we repeat past mistakes?
- Do we use data for our decision-making or base it on gut feelings?
- Do we always use conventional wisdom for solving our problems?
- Do different departments work in silos or is there a lot of cross-functional collaboration?
- Do we lead and embrace change or do we resist it?
- Do we give up too easily when a decision doesn’t work out immediately?
- Do we make decisions and get things done or do we spend too long discussing the issue?
If you don’t have a positive answer to all these questions you need to ensure to get aligned with the management team and maybe have a talk with your direct leader about how to ensure this alignment. If needed you should also get training in Business Acumen to better understand what the management team wants from you. Otherwise, the risk of you failing is much higher than it needs to be.
The power of a collective mindset
If everyone in your company shares the same mindset things start to get powerful for you and your company culture will then be supporting every initiative that is rolled out. One could argue that the risk is that everyone thinks the same and opportunities are missed out on, however, if you revisit the seven different mindset attributes you will quickly realize that they force you to look at many different possibilities and through discussion agree on what is the best course of action. This way of doing business might not be for everyone and it’s like “The GE Way that isn’t for everyone” but for doing business the way your management team wants you to do business this is the way to go. The alternative is an ugly one where you question every decision they make, resist it and fail to execute it. Your company will surely lose money as no company or even just a single department can run effectively like this. That’s also why having the right mindset for doing business is a prerequisite for all development of Business Acumen that you need to go through. Get the mindset right from the start and all subsequent training efforts will be so much more effective and if you don’t have it already you will learn what it really takes to make money.