You’ve found our Business Acumen Training FAQ page. To learn more about the program, please also see our business acumen and strategy for managers program, here.
Looking for a Strategic Planning or Strategic Alignment program? Please see our data-driven Strategic Management and Planning program, here.
What is the training agenda and what are the components of the program?
Depending on the goals, budget, participants, and logistical requirements, each component may be optioned together or independently as needed. The training components include:
- Assessments and personal feedback
- One-on-one coaching
- Internally facilitated mentoring
- Skills training components
- Competency benchmarks
- Capstone projects
- Business Simulation Competition
- Cohort shared-intelligence
- Competition a la shark-tank-like presentations
- Gamification components
- E-learning modules
- Peer-to-peer teaching
- Key performance indicators mapping
- Lunch and learns (brown-bag training sessions)
- Shark Tank
- Business case preparations and analysis
- Strategic thinking and critical thinking
- Finance fundamentals/risk analysis
- Business acumen/commercial acumen
- Effective presentation skills
- And, many other soft-skills are developed including impact and influence, interpersonal effectiveness, negotiation skills, active listening, emotional intelligence, getting work done through others, etc.
Real Work Business Projects serve as “business simulations” and capstone projects
- Group coaching focused on business analysis, presentation, and case preparations
- Cohort driven capstone projects
- Mentor participation and feedback
- How to make an effective business case instruction and pitch feedback
- Cross-functional networking, collaboration and structured feedback and accountability (no one gets a pass!)
- Presentations to the executive team, board or key stakeholders who serve as “Shark Tank” like investors
- Coaching ensures timely support and follow-through on the program’s learning objectives
How are participants selected?
This depends on your company’s structure and your organizational development needs. Some organizations identify 10% of their employee base as the targeted number of High-Potentials to enroll, while other organizations select all, non-executive employees or specific levels of employees.
For smaller organizations that have executives who would benefit from Business Acumen training, our training approach is slightly different from the program described herein and is customized specifically for the needs and competency level of your leadership team. Most often, a strategic alignment program is recommended that supports business acumen while driving team alignment and producing a growth strategy and/or profit-model analysis.
What is the overall objective of the project teams?
The objectives include improved commercial acumen including financial analysis confidence, critical and strategic thinking skills and the ability to build and pitch a vetted business initiative.
Traditional listen and now “let’s do an exercise” training is not effective at building business acumen. Sometimes something is better than nothing and training does improve participants’ awareness of the essential qualities of competent business acumen. However, training alone is insufficient to bridge the competency gap.
Participants learn to think through business needs, crunch numbers, and negotiate with their peers through the active-learning work-projects. By combining learning experiences (training, reading, simulations) with coaching, mentoring, and feedback, participants develop competence and confidence while producing strategic business solutions.
It’s a powerful approach to employee development that moves beyond traditional training.
Are the projects assigned to specific teams or does the team get to select their project?
This is up to the organization. Some clients elect to form cohort groups, made up of cross-functional individuals and randomly assign the projects while other organizations are more strategic in the assignment process.
How are the teams determined?
Participants may be randomly or strategically assigned to make up cross-functional teams. There are pros and cons to each option and we are happy to provide guidance.
How is the project outline approved?
We provide instructions and project parameters. Next, key stakeholders, who often serve as mentors, identify business challenges and success metrics. Finally, each team will be presented with a high-level project brief and assigned a mentor.
When an internal mentor is not available, an external business consultant or subject matter expert is made available.
What is the time frame?
The time-frame depends on the structure of your selected program. Some companies only have the budget for one event vs. other organizations that are seeking real change and development and thus opt for more comprehensive programs.
A typical, best-practice approach that includes training, group coaching, some one-on-one coaching, and work-project preparations and presentations, occurs over a period of approximately 12 months.
When phase 3, Leading in Business, is engaged as the third phase in a comprehensive Leadership University program, each phase is approximately 6 to 12 months depending upon the components selected and thus our full Leadership University program is typically an 18-month to a 3-year program.
To learn more please also see our Business Acumen and Business Simulation Competition Training Programs, here: