In Finance and other functional professions like IT, HR and Procurement, business partnering is becoming more common.
The idea behind business partnering is that your role changes.
Less time is spent on routine activities and more is spent on added value activities.
What this might mean on a practical level is that:
- Finance partners play a bigger role in shaping strategy.
- IT professionals spend more time helping users get optimal benefit from technology
- HR professionals playing a bigger role in getting the best from the workforce.
- Procurement changing and positively influencing purchasing decisions made by individuals in the organisation.
So what indicators might you use to give a sense that you are on the right track as a business partner?
You are contributing beyond your area of professional expertise
You are always going to have your area where you are the expert and have a depth of knowledge.
Your value really comes when you can contribute much more broadly.
Even seeing opportunities to contribute to the success of other business partners in other areas.
You are being consulted earlier and more
One of the big challenges and frustrations among functional professionals is that they are either not consulted or consulted too late.
This is particularly apparent with things like business cases or business development initiatives.
If you are being consulted at the outset and more frequently, this is a real sign that you are making progress as a business partner.
There’s a noticeable shift in the time spent working with the business
Many functional professionals have business partnering in their job description.
Often the amount of time they spend working with the business is comparatively low.
Once you start to see at least a 50:50 split between the time you spend on the routine and the time you spend on working with the business, you know you are on the right track.
You are providing more and better insights
Good insightful ideas and information make others stop, think and reflect.
They may even find that they result in a change of direction when really powerful.
You can usually tell by the action that follows whether you are providing more and better insights.
You are seen as an equal
Most of organisations have a hierarchy of some sort.
When you are seen as a peer rather than just an expert then you know that you are making progress as a business partner.In truth being an effective business partner is always work in progress. At the same time your outlook and approach play a big part in your success.
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