From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

November 2021
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What Interviewers Seek. Business Savvy
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 11:44 am

An interesting comment consultants report hearing
is that a candidate wishes to be a manager.

Another interesting comment is that candidates
enjoy challenges and rapid-paced environments.

Technical people in commerce and industry should
think of desiring both.  That is one of the underlying
themes that emerges from Bossidy and Charan’s
book, “Confronting Reality:  Doing what matters
to get things right.”  While the book states a
target audience of entrepreneurs, mid-level
managers and CEOs (pretty broad) and is a
sequel, it is well written so that most people
seeking industrial roles can read and get
something significant out of it. 

Especially, things like:
why is my company shutting down plants?
why is my company being bought out?
what is the real impact of globalization on my
industry and field?

It can lead to learning some important
a candidate should ask in the
interview process:

  what is the business model?
  what are the external realities affecting the company’s
and industry’s near term and long term future?
  what are internal activities that you will be involved
with and that affect you?

Look, we see a number of events happening
 - large companies taking over other large companies,
 - major lay-offs in broad segments,
 - slow downs in earnings and expansions,
and many other things.
Bossidy and Charan’s book offers a pair of night
vision goggles to see what is happening.

Comments will be added to point out interesting
  Sound business model notes
  Biotech/Pharma perspective
Quick hint:  those interested in

leadership roles (RW) look at Chapter 12.

3 Responses to “What Interviewers Seek. Business Savvy”

  1. site admin Says:

    Sound business model advantages

    Bossidy and Charan quote the famous philosopher
    Wayne Gretsky, “It is not where the puck is but
    where it’s going to be.”

    “A sound business model is your connection with
    reality. It links external environment with the right
    strategy, operating activities, people selection and
    deployment, and organizational processes It is
    regularly iterated and evaluated.”

    1. “It takes intense mental activity to reduce
    corporate level complexity to the language
    of a shopkeeper.”
    2. “Business savvy is available to anyone
    with the mental capacity to anchor his or
    her thinking in the business model and to
    continually gauge the model’s health in the
    context of new realities.”
    3. “in time of crisis it’s essential to understand
    the environment as it has become and is
    likely to be, rather than its past!”

    Brief elements to consider:
    CUSTOMER BASE “Thoroughly refresh
    your understanding of your customer base
    before you decide on action steps.”

    PEOPLE “Ruthlessly assess your
    organization “
    “Talent and attitude to drive required changes…”
    “What must you do to deploy the right people…”

    “Ability to look around corners and see
    things in external environment that will
    affect your business” by different views-

    1- Outside/in perspective
    2- End-user backwards to marketing and
    manufacturing “

    Competitive intensity is on the rise
    1. Products and services are being knocked
    off or functionally matched
    2. Produced by someone at lower cost
    3. Change of marketplace: Commoditized
    4. New competitors: buy-outs, mergers
    5. entrance of Disruptive technology.”
  2. site admin Says:

    Leadership criteria:

    Bossidy and Charan point out…
    “The bar has been raised. Discipline,
    integrity, maturity, and ego containment”
    are significant, however
    -   “can’t leave out ability to hear new points
    of view” and
    -  Business acumen or business savvy, which
    is Insatiable curiosity about what’s new and
    different and a savvy – know how to make
    money, which requires
     -  Understand all 3 model elements
     -  Fundamental simplicity underlies all of these
    details and achieved clarity of view
     -  Demonstrate a know how and passion for
    need to know critical things that organization
    thrives on.
  3. site admin Says:
    Pharma/ Biotech overview

    One of several case studies in “Confronting
    Reality, Bossidy and Charan talk how (p. 64)

    pharma is at a crossroads.

    What industry would seem to have a brighter future
    than pharmaceuticals—
      Aging population
      Growing body of knowledge about the human
      impressive Worldwide sales growth: $22B to
    $149B 1980 / 2000

    Against this is
     - Worldwide participation in the enterprise
     - emergence of New technology
     - Spiraling out of control healthcare costs
     - Increasing government involvement
     - Enormous up-front development expenses
     - Numerous failures
     - Shorter product lifecycles;
     - more stringent views on patent protection

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