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By Denis G.

3 minutes

How well do you Know Your Business? : Self Assessment

Whether you are a general manager, a program manager, or a project manager, you need to a good understanding of all areas of the business in which you work. Even if you carrying out a specialist role with your organization it can only help you perform your role better and assist your career progression, to have a broad understanding of the business in which you work.

Below you’ll find a simple tool to help you assess how well you know your business. The assessment covers all the major functions which occur in large organizations as well as some common themes. Once you’ve completed the assessment it should be fairly obvious what your areas of weakness are.

Score each item in the assessment from 1 to 10, with 1 meaning you have almost no knowledge of a particular area, and 10 meaning you consider yourself to be an authority.

Number Area Score (1 – 10)
1 HR
2 Legal
3 Operations
4 R&D
5 Marketing
6 Sales
7 Customer Support
8 Product
9 Strategy
10 Values and Culture
11 Competitors
12 Industry
13 Customers

In what areas are you weak? Do one or more areas stand out as weak areas relative to your knowledge in the others? Ask youself questions arounf your weak areas. Perhaps you are strong on R&D but weak on Finance? Can you read a Balance Sheet, or tell the difference between an Income Statement and Cash Flow Statement? Do you understand cash flow management and how it relates to logistics? Perhaps these are blind spots for you that need to be strengthened.

In context, you can ask yourself if having a financial weakness is an impediment when it comes to planning and managing a program or project. Without you understanding Finance do you think this increases the likelihood of issues arising in that area which will appear like a curve-ball during project execution? Could it also be said that the project may be less of a financial success without this understanding?

These same questions can be asked of any weak area. For example, do you think it would improve your performance as a project or program manager if you understood your customers, their social demographic and age range, and what are the key factors in their purchasing decisions?

I think it’s fairly obvious that by identifying your weak areas of understanding in your business, and simply asking yourself how those weaknesses might impact your performance, you have an insight that many don’t take the time to find for themselves. If you then take steps to compensate where appropriate, you will be better at your role and a more valuable asset to your organisation. It’s a good idea to review this list once per year to see how your progressing.

Cite this article

Minute Tools Content Team, How well do you Know Your Business? : Self Assessment, Minute Tools, Oct, 2010,
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Denis G.

Originally hailing from Dublin, Denis has always been interested in all things business and started EPM in 2009. Before EPM, Denis held a leadership position at Nokia, owned a sports statistics business, and was a member of the PMI's (Project Management Institute’s) Global Executive Council for two years. Denis now spends his days helping others understand complex business topics.

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