Whatever their seniority, a technical specialist needs commercial context to understand the role that their expertise plays in creating value.
Without that context, they struggle to articulate a credible and compelling connection between their work and how the organisation executes its strategy. In turn, that makes it hard to see the how their work contributes to competitive advantage.
To develop commercial context, ask your team member to consider these questions:
Why is market context vital to being effective in an organisation?
Are technical specialists often uninformed their organisation’s larger market context? How informed should you be?
How do you get up to speed on market context?
Will doing so change the way your input is perceived in the wider organisation?
The Market Context Canvas is a tool to identify gaps an expert may have in their commercial understanding of their organisation.
It’s an exercise in three distinct parts:
Organisational Profile. This describes what you need to know about your organisation to operate at both a strategic and tactical level.
Competitive Landscape. This describes what you need to know about competitors, how they relate to your organisation, and therefore how you can add competitive value.
Customers. This describes what you need to know about your range of customers, internally and externally, to understand how their future requirements will impact your specialist area.
If you’d like to try the Canvas assessment yourself, you download a clean copy below, including the chapter of Master Expert that explains the Market Context Canvas in detail.