Finance - Development Challenges - Commercial awareness

Commercial awareness

Using Development Challenges…

Development challenges are designed to encourage you to think about your performance, identify opportunities and take action to make improvements that will have a positive impact on your business.

This is a practical, hands on way of learning by experience and trying something different or new. Therefore the more you put into this the more you will get out in terms of your personal development.


You are challenged to…

The aim of this challenge is to identify opportunities of becoming more commercially aware. You then need to act upon these opportunities to increase the performance/profitability of your team/store.


This will allow you to experience:


     Identifying potential and actual competition.

     Awareness of where and what information that can help you become more commercially aware, i.e. tv, radio, newspapers.

     Increasing your network of contacts that can support you.

     Considering a range of solutions that could be implemented to maximise these opportunities

     Preparing and implementing an action plan based on your findings and chosen solution

     Tracking and reviewing the results of your actions and taking subsequent action if required.


You may have already learnt and demonstrated some of these things and therefore you will want to design your challenge and personal objectives to focus on the areas most relevant to you.

Sources of Reference

Whilst completing this challenge you may find it useful to refer to the following Top Tips and other recourses:


     Analysing data

     SWOT analysis


     Development challenge - Competitor Analysis

     Development challenge - Identify profit opportunities

     Development challenge - Operational effectiveness

     Self-Coaching Workbook - Analysing data



Logged in as: Adam Bramwell

Finance - Development Challenges - Commercial awareness

Development challenges

Case Study

Consider the following questions in relation to this challenge and record your answers in the space provide. Working through each question will enable you identify the current situation and possible options you have for completing this challenge to reach a positive end result. You should then select which of the options you are going to put into action.



     What specifically do you want to learn/develop/achieve through this challenge?

     How will this improve you personally and your performance?

     How will you know when you have achieved your goal?

     What is your measurement of success?



     What are your thoughts or feelings about undertaking this challenge?

     What is your motivation for learning these things?

     Who do you work with that you consider to have a high level of commercial awareness? What does this person do to maintain their knowledge in this area?

     What activities/events are coming up that could affect your team/business? How can you use this information to avoid any negative impact on your business and maximise any opportunities that exist?

     Who are your key competitors and what are their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?

     What are your stores strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?

     What information is available to you regarding the above and how often do you collate it?



     What are all the options you have to achieve this challenge?

     Which is the best way for you to do this?

     Who do you know who could help?



     What are your next steps and how committed are you to them?

     How will you feel once you’ve achieved it?

     How will it be different when you are confident and capable to do these things?

     What are your time-scales for completing this challenge?



In order to complete your challenge successfully it is important that you create a plan capturing each of the actions you need to take in order to achieve your goal. There are two methods of planning that you can choose from when completing this challenge, these are explained below.


Outcome, Performance and Process Goals

“Dreams without goals are just fantasy; goals without dreams are a waste of time”. This planning technique ensures we have both, enabling you to record your overall vision/dream, the performance measures to make the vision/dream a reality and the next steps required to ensure we achieve our performance measure. These are your outcome, performance and process goals.

An Outcome Goal (vision/dream) captures the overall vision that you have in terms of performance. For example you may want to grow profit year on year.

Performance Goals (performance measures) identify objectives / targets to achieve in specific areas of the business that will enable the overall vision to be achieved. One example is you may want to increase conversion to contribute to profit growth.

Process goals are all the next steps that need to be carried out in order to achieve a performance goal and in turn impact upon your outcome goal. For example you may want to observe and coach your team on approaching customers.




Logged in as: Adam Bramwell

Finance - Development Challenges - Commercial awareness

Development challenges

Next Steps / Action Plan

If you are working towards a goal that relates to one specific area of your business it may be more appropriate to simply record what you need to do as next steps in the form of a table as shown below.




By When




















Having carried out the required actions you should review how this challenge has gone, measure the results of your actions and decide if any further actions are required in order to achieve the original goal. Use the section below to record this information.


What worked well for you during this challenge?










What didn’t work well for you during this challenge and what would you do differently next time?










What feedback have you received from your team and line manager during this challenge? (You may want to ask for feedback now if you have not already done so)










Are any further actions required in order to complete this challenge? If so please outline them in the space below.










Further Information

If you would like to learn more about Commercial Awareness the following resources are recommended:

     Speak to your line manager/ Mentor