Back to basics!

ByElsie Low

When I read an article about a leading consulting firm launching an internal training academy to develop their consultants’ skills in both business and technology, this reminded me of Peter Drucker’s quote, “Business purpose and business mission are so rarely given adequate thought is perhaps the most import cause of business frustration and failure”.

Anyway, I think this is an excellent initiative because every employee in an organization should possess a business acumen mindset. Ultimately, business is about growth and sustainability.

On the other hand, some may challenge this perspective that they already hire people with a business acumen mindset. Yes, that’s true but in today’s rapidly evolving business environment, it’s essential to reinforce this mindset across all levels of the organization to stay aligned with ever-changing business goals and market conditions.  Let’s explore this from a contemporary perspective.

1.     Digital Transformation – this has become imperative for companies to evolve today due to the adoption of new technologies such as cloud computing, machine learning, AI, and IoT in both professional and personal aspects of our lives. Organizations must integrate these technologies to streamline operations, enhance customer experiences, and innovate their product offerings. Businesses need to adapt quickly to new technologies, tools, and platforms to leverage these advancements and remain relevant.

2.     Cybersecurity – as digital transformation accelerates; cybersecurity risk will increase. This is due to a vast amount of data generated and shared exposing organizations to potential breaches and cyber-attacks. This will pose significant threats to both businesses and individuals. This is evident as we received frequent unsolicited calls today, primarily due to data breaches both internally and externally.

3.     Skill Gaps – the skill gaps are so prominent today as rapid technological advancement has created a gap between the skills employees currently possess and the skills needed to utilize new technologies effectively. I have seen many businesses and their employees find themselves overwhelmed by the pace of changes.

I wrote extensively about this, emphasizing that the Malaysian government aims to ensure that 100% of public servants possess digital literacy by 2025 or beyond. This is evident today as we are witnessing this shift from the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (IRBM) which imposes and mandates e-invoicing for all businesses in Malaysia starting from 1st August 2024. The government’s gradual adoption of technologies emphasizes the necessity for all Malaysian businesses and individuals to digitalize themselves.

4.     Multigenerational Workforce, today’s workforce comprises various age groups with diverse experiences and expectations, presenting unique challenges and opportunities for organizations. Contrary to the trend of favoring younger generations, managing a multigenerational workforce requires recognizing and valuing the unique contributions, perspectives, and experiences of each generation. Therefore, fostering an inclusive work environment is imperative. Perhaps former generations can offer invaluable insights and guidance in advisory roles to support and complement the leadership and later generations, leading to a balanced approach to navigating the evolving work landscape.

Are you ready to transform?

Returning to the consulting firm’s launch of its internal training academy. I recall my partner and I conducted a series of programs for a multinational client that had its training academy. During all the sessions, their facilitator will gather their employees and reinforce their organization’s fundamentals, specifically on the company’s mission and core values. Seeing how well-prepared and knowledgeable their employees remember and know their organization’s core values was impressive.

The fundamental goal is to equip every employee with a business acumen mindset. Cultivating this mindset empowers each employee to recognize how their roles contribute to the broader goals and success of the organization. With a business acumen mindset, employees gain a deeper understanding of the entire business ecosystem, enabling them to make informed decisions, adapt to change, and continuously improve, ultimately positioning the organization for sustainable growth. Today, this company is still a market leader and more than 70% of its employees will recommend others working with them.

Therefore, returning to fundamentals will allow organizations to realign with their purpose, focus on the organization’s priorities, and strengthen their foundations to remain relevant.

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