Increasingly, we are seeing more and more business leaders talking about their people needing to think and act more commercially.
However, what are ‘Commercial skills’? And how can they be developed in the workplace through effective workplace training? Broadly speaking, commercial skills refers to an individual’s knowledge and insights of:
- Their business and industry
- An understanding of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of their business
- How they can actually add value and influence the performance of the business.
Commercial skills can cover a wide range of skills, from financial to interpersonal skills, and by-and-large will vary from role to role in an organisation. However, in essence, in developing commercial skills, the learning should be focused on improving the way an individual delivers their responsibilities to the business. And a broader range of commercial skills offers a wider choice of actions when deciding how to be most effective at work. Key to developing these essential skills is grounding the learning within the specific context of your business and industry. This helps ensure your people understand how to respond to the genuine business challenges and to contribute to the success of your organisation. The focus must always be on supporting people within their genuine work environment and facilitating the effective transfer of learning to the workplace.
As an example, many companies come to us and ask whether we deliver off-the-shelf solutions such as ‘finance for non-financial managers’. However, we find this is no longer an adequate way to address financial and commercial awareness in a business, and quite often, with a little research amongst the intended population, reveals the key issues that are driving the learning need in the first place. We believe that with ‘finance for non-financial managers’ type courses, the understanding, use and application of financial information has to be taken to the next level by ensuring the learning is developed around an organisation’s specific business context, KPIs and management information. Only then, can the learning be truly useful to helping participants come away with a clear and practical understanding of how to apply their new knowledge, skills and insights back in the workplace and ultimately drive commercial success.