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"Look at your career as your primary investment. Keep your earning power at its highest level. The money you spend doing this will return more to you than all other investments you are likely to make. You are your own best investment!"
-- Austin Kiplinger, publisher of the Kiplinger Magazine’

ECQ Example Business Acumen

The Business Acumen ECQ has been modified and is only a partial story. Each SES candidate has a different story to tell with diverse competencies explaining their individual executive leadership characteristics.

In the last 4 decades, I spent 20 years in the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and then climbed the ranks of Civil Service as a federal government employee. I have cultivated strong business acumen, and am equally comfortable and confident managing the financial, human capital, and technological aspects of my work. As I have served in a broad range of leadership positions, my appreciation for the public I ultimately serve has continually grown, as well. To be as effective as possible in my roles, and to better serve that public, I have taken a number of professional training courses that have enhanced my corporate and business instincts.

business acumen ecq exampleIn 2012, I was serving as the Deputy Director, Office of Financial and Administrative Management (FAM), which manages the Department of Energy’s HR management, financial management, contracting, facilities, security, travel, and support services management programs. I was also the Deputy Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Senior Contracting Officer, managing a $42M budget annually. In this capacity, I was challenged to ensure timely and accurate budget formulation and submission to OPM during closeout of prior-year procurement activities. Previously, these two activities were somewhat autonomous, but I actively involved and engaged Office Directors, Administrative Officers, and managers in the overall budget formulation process to clearly identify all funding requirements.

My situation was daunting. First, since end-of-year closeouts were taking place, managers did not want to be involved in the justification or formulation process. The agency was also seeking an increase in funding for mission-critical activities, including: federal employee case adjudications, human capital surveys, and mediation activities that are the core function of the agency, as mandated by statute. If I did not properly justify the budget and funding requirements, we ran the risk of being denied funding for these Congressionally mandated programs. In addition, the agency was in the middle of lease negotiations for two separate facilities that were due to expire within six months. If those leases were not renewed, the agency would have to spend $500K to move equipment, furniture, and employees to a new facility.

To ensure Administrative Officers received the financial, procurement, contracting, and administrative support they desperately needed during this critical period...

There is more to this Business Acumen ECQ story to include incorporating this client’s knowledge of Human Capital Management, Technology and Financial Acumen. These three separate sets of executive expertise is crafted in the way a story with a short challenge, context, action and result are identified such as saving the agency over $500k per year.

ECQ Examples