The 5 Key Business Drivers Leaders Focus On | Advancing on the Job Series

black business leader leading meeting about key business drivers

Leaders view the world in a very distinct way. Sure, they put their pants on one leg at a time, just like anyone else. But when it comes to business drivers, they tend to be laser-focused on the things that matter most.

If you’re an aspiring leader—or if you just need to capture the attention of the leaders in your organization—it helps to understand what those critical attention-grabbing things are. The more you can frame your own thinking to mimic theirs, the more aligned you’ll be.

Generally, leaders are most concerned with 5 key business drivers. If this is a new term for you, think of it this way: A business driver is a condition that enables an enterprise to become and remain successful. Leaders are hyper-aware of these and are responsible for maximizing results in each area. When a business performs well in all of its key business drivers, it’s an objective sign of success.

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5 Key Business Drivers

According to Ivy Exec’s top executive coach, Dr. Susan Bernstein, the 5 key business drivers that leaders focus on the most are as follows:

  1. Profitability: Are we continuously driving revenue up and costs down?


  1. Productivity: Are we producing our goods and services in a way that is ever-more efficient and effective?


  1. Time to Market: Are we moving from concept to sale fast enough to keep a competitive edge?


  1. Customer Satisfaction: Are we making our customers happy enough to become and remain loyal fans?


  1. Stakeholder Impact: Are we performing in a way that benefits stakeholders at all levels?

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Any employee at any level can benefit from understanding these concepts. If this is what leaders are focused on, you should focus on the same things. Consider your tasks and projects; what key business drivers are impacted by your work? When citing results, frame them in these terms.

The truth is, leaders really do have their own language. They view everything through the lens of business impact. You can learn to speak their language by leveraging this information.

When discussing your work, don’t just talk about what you’re doing. Instead, emphasize the measurable effect it will have on profitability, productivity, time to market, customer satisfaction or stakeholder impact. That’s what leaders really care about—and that’s what will position you as someone who thinks like a leader.

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About the Author

Chrissy Scivicque is a career coach, corporate trainer and public speaker who believes work can be a nourishing part of the life experience. Her website, Eat Your Career, is devoted to this mission. Chrissy is currently a contributing career expert for U.S. News & World Report and the author of the book, The Proactive Professional: How to Stop Playing Catch Up and Start Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life!), available on Amazon.