5 Simple Changes To Make You A Better Business Partner

The role of the functional professional is changing.

These days more are more of them are taking on the role of business partner.

What’s clear is that different organisations are at different stages in implementing the business partnering approach, especially in finance.

As a business partner you will no doubt aspire to do the best job you can and deliver great value.

Sometimes easy to say but not always easy to do in practice.

What I’ve noticed is that it’s often small or simple changes that help make you a better business partner.

So what 5 simple changes will help make you a better business partner?

Change 1: Learn More About The Business or Area You Support

It’s easy to assume that knowing the numbers also means that you understand the business.

Sadly this isn’t the case.

Knowing the business is about understanding the drivers of success.

The challenges or constraints that are being faced.

The behaviours and dynamics.

You only really understand these by spending more time in the areas you support.

Change 2: Learn More About Business

You probably have a good understanding of the organisation you work in.

While this is a positive, it can mean that you focus only on the norms for the business.

When you take time to learn about business more generally, you can start to look at good practices from other businesses or sectors that may be of benefit to your organisation or areas you support.

Change 3: Get Comfortable Speaking Up When You’re Not The Expert

One thing that often is a barrier for functional professionals who are experts in their field is that they worry about speaking up when not the expert in another area.

Let go of your ego and get comfortable speaking up when you’re not an expert.

Often it’s the different perspective that opens up new possibilities.

Change 4: Understand What Constructively Challenging Is Really About

The word constructively challenging can often be misinterpreted.

Essentially it’s about asking good questions that make others stop and think.

It’s also about helping them to make the best decisions.

Choose your words carefully and always be professional.

Change 5: Think Of Yourself As An External Advisor

While it’s really valuable to be really integrated into the business, you can easily lose that service focus.

If you think of yourself as an external advisor you will be more service focused and act more like an external consultant with a client that you really want to do the very best for.

In truth getting better at business partnering is always work in progress.  That said it’s often the small changes that deliver the biggest benefit.

If you're looking to be an even better business partner, check out my no cost online course

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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