4 Ways to Learn How the Business is Run

Deepening your business knowledge enhances your contributions and advances your career.

  • Tap Experts. Identify three people across your organization who have financial, market, or industry expertise. Meet with them individually, asking for their insights and recommendations about what someone at your level – and the next level – needs to know.
  • Cross Train. Identify organizational functions you want to learn about, then identify functional leaders to contact. Leverage existing relationships and build new ones to foster mutually beneficial support.
  • Extend Network. Join or boost your involvement in professional organizations related to your current or desired work. Networking increases your knowledge of industry trends and issues.
  • Research Topics. Select 3-4 trade magazines or websites to review regularly. Identify topics to discuss with others, to gain their perspectives on how new trends could impact your organization. Also consider:

Read “big five” biz publications: Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Business Week, Barron’s, and the Harvard Business Review.
Learn more about your firm’s key business initiatives, even those seemingly outside your direct work.
Dedicate time to studying financial reports.
Identify a financial mentor, such as someone in accounting or finance group or a peer with good financial insights. Identify gaps in your knowledge and hone questions accordingly. Ask for help learning to interpret financial results.
Track your organization’s financial indicators.
Review annual reports to understand them and included financial statements. The internet offers many helpful resources.
Read “Financial Intelligence: A Manager’s Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean” by Karen Berman, Joe Knight, and John Case.