Business Acumen

Development Suggestions

1. Familiarize yourself with the WSU Strategic Priorities.

2. Attend a WSU Board of Governors Meetings.

3. Go to WSU website and look up five departments a day to find out what they do.

4. Read the right periodicals. There are five publications that probably will teach you most of what you need to know about business in general on a continuous basis. They are the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Fortune, Barron's, and the Harvard Business Review. Subscribe and begin to scan those publications regularly. Try to see three items per issue that relate to your business. These will be parallels, trends that affect business now, emerging trends that may have a future impact, and general business savvy about how business works.

5. Watch the right sources. There are now three or more business channels on cable that carry business news and information full time. They have interviews with business leaders, reviews of industries by Wall Street experts, as well as general reviews of companies. Begin to watch one or two programs a week until you can zero in on what you specifically need to know.

6. Figure out the rules of the game. Reduce your understanding of how business operates to personal rules of thumb or insights. Write them down in your own words. An example would be, "What are the drivers in marketing anything?" One executive had 25 such drivers that he continually edited, scratched through and replaced with more up to date thinking. Use these rules of thumb to analyze a business that you know something about, possibly one of your hobbies or a sport you are enthusiastic about. Pick what you know.

7. Don't know enough about your business? Talk to the person who knows. Ask for lunch or just a meeting with the person who is in charge of the strategic planning process in your company. Have him/her explain the strategic plan for the organization. Particularly have him or her point out the mission-critical functions and capabilities the organization needs to be leading edge in to win.

8. Try some broader tasks. Volunteer for task forces that include people outside your area of expertise.

9. Get close to customers. Customer service is the best place to learn about the business. Arrange a meeting with a counterpart in customer service. Have him or her explain the function to you. If you can, listen in to customer service calls or even better handle a couple yourself.

WSU Training 

LEADS learning package is located in AccelerateTM   We've made searching for resources for the LEADS competencies easy. Just click on the Catalog button and browse through the LEADS folder to find many learning resources. 

Logon to Accelerate 

  1. Login to Academica
  2. Under WSU RESOURCES, select Employee Resources, then Other Resources
  3. Click the Accelerate - Employee Development Tools menu item
  4. Click the Catalog button
  5. Locate your LEADS competency resources

Check out other WSU training resourcesCheck out the resources in books24x7 --  an exciting feature in Accelerate.