5 Reasons Why Understanding Acumen Is Important

Understanding Acumen Capacities

First off, what exactly are we talking about when we refer to “Acumen Capacities”?

Acumen capacities is a way of looking at our internal operating system through a combination of two concepts logic and bias. Logic speaks to our objective, analytical, non-emotional thinking while bias explains the emotional conditioning (or memory) that impacts our decision-making processes.

An example of this interplay between logic and bias can be seen in our immediate thoughts when seeing a dog for the first time. One person will immediately assume the dog is friendly based on an objective understanding of canine instincts and a positive bias that emanates from past experiences. Another person might assume caution due to a different opinion about canine instincts along with one or more past experiences with dogs that were not friendly; maybe even violent. This interplay between logic and bias is imprinted in each of us subconsciously, both from genetics (nature) and experiences (nurture). It is rarely visible to us without deep self-reflection and/or using self-assessing instruments.

At On Purpose, our TriMetrix HD assessment tool uses acumen capacities to help discover the reasons behind superior performance. You can get more information on the TriMetrix Assessment here.

Our TriMetrix HD assessment is based on the use of Axiology which is the study of values. Stated concisely, axiology is the study of how we make judgments about good and bad. While axiology may be the technical name, the concept is often referred to as a person’s “acumen.”

Revealing Acumen’s Potential

  1. Understanding and measuring acumen capacities has many benefits

Neuroscientists now believe that most, if not all, decisions begin in the subconscious part of our brain. Our conscious mind can override or change these initial inclinations, but it rarely does. Consider that the average mid-level manager makes up to 1,000 organizational decisions every day, it stands to reason that we don’t have time to carefully analyze and change more than a handful of judgments.

One example of the relationship between logic and bias may be the story of two salespeople.  One salesperson approaches each customer with trust and a natural optimism and, therefore, does everything possible to accommodate the customer’s requests. Another salesperson may approach the same customer with a natural scepticism that results in a more cautious approach, assuming the customer may seek to take unfair advantage in the pursuit of their objectives.

The customer in this scenario could also represent either the optimistic or sceptical mentality, further complicating the interactions that will take place. In the best of circumstances, both the salesperson and the customer will rely on logic to gain a beneficial outcome. The measurement of this relationship between logic and bias offers many opportunities to shape and improve decisions and relationships in the sales process, but also far beyond.

  1. Measuring acumen capacities reveals many nuanced opportunities for continuous growth and professional development.

Often, the difference between strong performance and top performance is a matter of identifying subtle hindrances to increased success. Earl Nightingale authored a famous, spoken-word record in 1957 entitled, “The Strangest Secret,” the first of its kind to achieve gold record status. He proposed that this secret to success was that “we become what we think about all day long.” Since then, many human performance psychologists have reaffirmed his conviction about the creative power of our thoughts, conditioning us either for success or failure.

Measuring acumen capacities adds 21st-century wisdom to Nightingale’s axiom and assists us in understanding our perceptions of the world around us and ourselves as unique human beings.

  1. Acumen capacities provide a clearer understanding of how people solve problems.  

A main proponent of leadership is solving problems. The more challenging the problem, the more important it is for us to understand the relationship between logic and bias. Acumen capacities bring fresh insights into solving people problems, practical problems or theoretical problems. Using acumen capacities, there has been success in helping individuals recognize how their bias of overvaluing or undervaluing a person, situation, or belief has helped or hindered achieving lasting solutions.

  1. Measuring acumen capacities provides a clearer picture of how people view and navigate their unique circumstances.

Just as acumen capacities have helped us understand our world view, they have also provided a framework for developing a more substantive, helpful understanding of how we view ourselves. From how we see our own uniqueness and individuality, to our mental constructs of our roles and future potential, acumen capacities have provided wonderful insights into self- awareness and growth opportunities.

  1. Acumen capacities are a powerful way to become more successful in helping clients make decisions around hiring, promotions and succession planning.  

In the hiring process, there are often identified nuanced traits in candidates that would not have been visible in any other manner. There has also been success in significantly improving and customizing interview questions to draw out the future potential and possible challenges with candidates and employees based on their acumen capacities.


Understanding and measuring acumen capacities is one of the most rewarding and impactful practices when it comes to individual performance. Since acumen capacities are directly related to performance levels, our aim at On Purpose Leadership Inc. is to help individuals grow both personally and professionally by gaining clarity with regard to their acumen capacities and its impacts and effects on their decisions, actions and performance.


On Purpose Leadership Note: The above is adapted from an Article by, and we give our thanks to, Ron Price. On Purpose Leadership is an Approved Provider partner of TTI Success Insights.