Similar to top leadership skills and top management skills, top business skills may depend more on the situation than anything else. So picking three top ones (not the top three ones) remains a risky task but yet one I was asked to perform recently.
Here’s an expanded version of how I responded:
- By setting an example of organized, strategic implementation, I cast a (positive) shadow that communicates how our department’s business is run.
- This goes beyond filing strategies that enable me to find things quickly or showing up ready and on-time to meetings and events. Appropriate levels of detail in project plans, always having a meaningful agenda for a meeting, collecting next actions from those meetings and thorough resource planning are just a few other examples of organization that makes a difference.
- Whether written or oral, formal or informal, I communicate well and ensure that the intended message was received. Additionally, I strive to make certain that I correctly receive and understand the communications intended for me.
- You can practice this using “drive-through” techniques in which you repeat (rephrasing in your own words) the message that you think was being transmitted. Another is to ask pointed questions that get to the substance of what’s being communicated.
- In written communication, good, clear writing with short, concise phrases can take a muddy idea and make it shine.1
- Determine the strategic plan (infrastructure, project, financial or something else), implement with specific tactics and decide whether to mitigate known risks (or not).
- Confusing strategy with tactics has caused a number of otherwise good projects to flounder. Step back to plan the strategy before implementing with individual tactics. By planning, executing, checking and reviewing in a tight, repetitive loop, a well-planned project has an even better chance of succeeding.
These are just three skills of dozens that a manager needs to employ from time to time—you undoubtably have others.
What are three toward the top of your list?