Corporate savviness is an organizational characteristic that refers to the enterprising use of a collection of core organizational competencies — Key Savviness Aspects (KSAs) — that are needed by dynamic businesses to attain and sustain competitiveness. It is a proactive trait that buffers progressiveness against paralyzing hindrances from precarious situations and enables growth to business excellence.
This article provides a brief explanation of the 15 KSAs and subsequently depicts the Corporate Savviness Barometer (CSB), against which, an organization can be assessed.
KSA # 1 – Employee savvy
This refers to the ability of an organization to anticipate the needs and expectations of its employees in a proactive manner. It requires an enlightened approach to talent management that is demonstrated in the overall employee experience. It is a primary driver for maximizing employee engagement.
KSA # 2 – Technology savvy
This refers to the ability of an organization to see the optimum mix of technology that will result in greater efficiency and effectiveness in strategic and operations management. It requires an honest review of existing and future needs, exploring viable options and maximizing the productivity, quality and cost effectiveness. A key driver in its smooth incorporation is the speed with which learning and application of the new knowledge with minimal hiccups occurs.
KSA # 3 – Environmentally savvy
This refers to the knack of an organization in appreciating the value of ecological diversity in its surroundings and taking proactive actions to minimize any adverse impacts from its operations and products and services. It requires the courage and foresight to invest in solutions and practices that may not be popular at the onset, but which eventually will lead to greater revenue growth and customers prone to rewarding environmentally friendly organizations.
KSA # 4 – Business savvy
This refers to the knack of an organization in understanding the market through careful analysis by using tools and techniques such as PESTLE, SWOT, Balanced Scorecard, etc., and taking insightful business decisions that secure its viability and placing it firmly on the path to becoming a “darling” of the key stakeholders. It demands strategic nimbleness, meticulous resourcing, operational optimization, financial discipline and an unrelenting focus on success while having the resilience to absorb tough losses with a “learning” attitude. It also requires the fortitude to disengage from unprofitable and unproductive enterprises.
KSA # 5 – Competitor savvy
This refers to the ability of an organization to outwit competitors to gain a predominant position in the market. It requires developing and deploying effective strategies to marginalize/neutralize current and potential challengers.
KSA # 6 – Future savvy
This refers to the ability of an organization to predict the future state of business better than its competitors and recognize opportunities giving it a first mover advantage. It requires visionary leadership that is unfazed by current challenges and with the fortitude to make astute, if inherently unpopular, transformational and emotionally draining decisions.
KSA # 7 – Branding savvy
This refers to the aptitude of an organization in adroitly leveraging its name as the emotional link that conjures up images of excellence. It entails the solicitous application of the Vision-Culture-Image (VCI) Alignment Model. A key success factor is the timely “brand refreshment” that is necessary for retaining top of mind awareness to ensure a steady traction for its recruitment initiatives and continuing influx of desired talent.
KSA # 8 – Community savvy
This refers to harnessing the strength of the surrounding community to advocate the organization’s virtues. It requires concerted efforts to increase visibility within the community by corporate social responsibility initiatives that engender community support for the organization. It also demands sensitivity to the broader needs of the community by delicate handling of political, economic, cultural or environmental activism. Beneficial byproducts of such endeavors can include: a steady supply of local talent for the future needs of an organization, enhanced reputation, political clout, loyal customer base, etc.
KSA # 9 – Media savvy
This refers to the knack of an organization in leveraging the power of various forms of media in creating, developing, inculcating and reinforcing a positive image of itself. It requires sound relationships with key decision makers within the various types of media. It demands proactively anticipating problems and devising appropriate solutions and responses in a timely fashion. A key success factor is the judicious use of senior management in depicting an accountable leadership that is strong, unwavering and responsive in their pursuit of business excellence.
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KSA # 10 – Regulation savvy
This refers to the ability of an organization in navigating through the finer aspects of applicable laws, rules and regulations without transgressing the established legal boundaries. It entails an astute understanding of the “letter and spirit” of applicable regulatory documents and ensuring complete.
KSA # 11 – Supplier savvy
This is a measure of an organization’s relationship with its suppliers by propagating the virtues of a win-win partnership. It requires the application of confidence building measures that are necessary to gain mutual trust for meeting stated and implied. It entails the consistent honoring of commitments in times of certainty and feverishly finding ways to avoid disruption during times of uncertainty. It demands a genuine interest in the “health” of suppliers.
KSA # 12 – Customer savvy
This refers to the knack of an organization in maximizing the positive experience of customers. It reflects a dogged commitment to earning the trust, confidence, satisfaction and loyalty of clients and customers. It demands agility in making timely adjustments to meet and exceed the changing customer needs. It requires humility in recognizing mistakes and taking the necessary corrective actions.
KSA # 13 – Change savvy
This refers to an organization’s aptitude in being comfortable with change and proactively taking measures to ensure its continued relevance in the market. It requires periodic review ensure it is able to meet emerging and future challenges. A necessary step for ensuring higher success probability is the unabashed preservation of “lessons learned” within the knowledge bank as an indispensable resource for future change initiatives.
KSA # 14 – Partnership savvy
This refers to the ability of an organization in developing robust alliances with suitable partners for gaining the maximum synergistic value and cross-fertilization. It requires prudent due diligence to identify the most appropriate matches. It entails strategic alignment and operational synchronization with the preferred partner. It is akin to recruiting and onboarding desired talent and demands paramount focus on effective partnership management.
KSA # 15 – Innovation savvy
This refers to an organization’s ability to embrace innovation as a core value and ensuring its pervasiveness in all aspects of its operations, employee mindsets and products and services. It is driven by senior management as an imperative for generating “delight factors” for key stakeholders. For example, designing electrifying reward packages for employees or returning higher-than-expected returns for shareholders. A key success factor is the embodiment of a “can do” attitude.
Calculating your savviness score
- Rate all 15 KSAs on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest
- Sum all the individual scores from 15 KSAs
- Compare the overall score with the relevant scale corresponding to the specific state on the CSB (Maximum Score = 15×10 = 150)
- Identify the specific state of your organization on the CSB
Your next move?
- 15 ≤ KSAs Score ≤ 90 – Time to Act & Survive!
- 91 ≤ KSAs Score ≤ 120 – Time to Reflect & Improve!
- KSAs Score > 120 – Time to Rejoice & Sustain!