The Commercial profession has one serious disadvantage. Unlike accounting & law, there isn’t an agreed and universal body of knowledge that drives Commercial advice. Any Commercial advice you receive in the course of your business may sound reasonable and justified – as it is often accompanied by a few reasons to support that advice.

I have worked in teams where two Commercial professionals working with the same set of facts have completely opposite views of what the right decision is. The lack of objective and sound Commercial advice only breeds distrust in the profession in the eyes of our stakeholders, and our usefulness to them.

In this post, I have explored four mental models that you can use to decipher if the Commercial advice you are receiving is free from bias, and in the best interests of your organisation.

Has your Commercial manager dealt with the heart of the issue?

For every advice you have been meted out with, has your Commercial manager dealt with the heart of the issue? Side-stepping an issue is your call and shouldn’t be a feature of the advice you receive. A good Commercial manager will deal with the heart of the issue. If they aren’t dealing with the heart of the issue, despite your explicit directions upfront, something’s amiss. The manager is either justifying a premeditated decision or instead cannot comprehend the issues that are so vital to you.

“A good Commercial manager will deal with the heart of the issue”

Why should advice be taken on balance? 

Any Commercial advice will be nuanced and on balance better than the other options. There are pros and cons to every advice you receive. A good Commercial manager will take the effort to explore what could go wrong, even if their recommended advice was accepted. This should be presented to the business. The objective of good advice is to give you the basis of choosing the right option. Be it with warts and all. It isn’t to sell you a course of action, by hiding or ignoring the flaws associated with that option.

What is ‘systems’ thinking?

A good Commercial manager will not only understand the Commercial risks but also demonstrate an understanding of the risks that your business would face if going with one option or the other. If the advice you are receiving is positioned as “This is our Commercial Advice, any non-Commercial consequences are your problem”, use everything in your might to render that advice nugatory. The conclusion that your manager reached is not safe because it ignored very important aspects of the decision. This siloed approach doesn’t serve anyone well.

How can you anticipate aggrieved party actions?

Commercial advice on supplier matters will always drive a reaction. A good Commercial manager pre-empts that action and suggests what might be done to mitigate that reaction. Suppliers left aggrieved with your decision are not in your control. If the advice you are receiving does not anticipate and suggest countermeasures to manage the reaction of aggrieved suppliers, you are being led on a dangerous path.

Takeaways

The Commercial profession lacks an agreed and universal body of knowledge that drives Commercial advice. As a result, it is vitally important to decipher if the Commercial advice you are receiving is appropriate for your organisation.

With inhouse Commercial expertise, we can be the source of a second opinion for your Commercial advice. Get in touch to see how we can help you on your next programme. Our virtual Commercial services are coming soon. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to keep updated on future announcements.