Business acumen and strategic thinking training in Atlanta, GA

Business Acumen and Strategy: Leaders' competitive advantage in the Atlanta area

An organization's ability to successfully navigate through the complexities of an ever-evolving business landscape including global and micro-competition, regulatory requirements, technological innovations, and workforce changes, to name only a few, will rest heavily on the management team's business acumen and strategic thinking skills. Business acumen is a cognitive thinking skill whereby we merge experiences, knowledge, education, and perspective into a reliable process for making quality decisions. Organizations that offer managers business acumen development opportunities, in the form of business simulation and financial acumen workshops ensure their company's future.

Effective business and financial acumen training programs build employees that are better equipped to strategically contribute, effectively plan, mindfully monitor, and adapt processes to deliberately meet the ever-changing needs of the changing marketplace.

Seeking a strategic planning consultant to facilitate your strategic planning retreat? Our evidence-based strategic alignment workshop facilitates business acumen and a growth strategy your team can get excited about. Call us at 281-469-4244 or visit our strategic planning consultants page to learn more.

Who would benefit from the training?

TurnKey Coaching & Development Solutions’ customized Business Acumen & Strategic Thinking for Managers programs combine learning with real work projects to produce strategic solutions while developing your team’s business and commercial acumen. The training focuses upon developing strategic thinking and planning competency, strategic agility, financial and business acumen and more through a customized, business simulation competition experience.

Business Acumen & Strategic Thinking for Managers

Alternatively, our data-driven strategic alignment program builds business acumen while fostering alignment and commitment to a common vision. We also have a unique strategic alignment (similar to strategic planning) workshop that uses research-backed tools to drive out leadership’s priorities and the path forward, while cultivating a unified vision and business acumen. For more on our Strategic Growth Consulting and X-Ray program, please visit here.

Brochure for the Business Acumen Training Program

As the cohort works collaboratively, through real business problems, the program improves your managers and/or HiPos’ leadership, collaboration, and teamwork skills. We believe it’s better than business simulation competition for your team, as all of the projects are selected to specifically solve company identified challenges.

An effective leadership development program includes competency development opportunities in three areas - Leading Self, Leading Others, and Leading in Business.

Our business strategy simulation and business acumen program can be optioned alone, or as part of a more comprehensive approach to leadership development. When optioned as part of a builds upon foundational competency development including interpersonal effectiveness and managing and motivating a team, for example. Our comprehensive leadership development program builds over time through phase 1 (leading self), phase 2 (leading others) and finally, phase 3 (leading in business).

Comprehensive leadership  development training

How does it work?

Our Leading in Business Training focuses on Business Acumen Skills through experiential learning opportunities (better than business simulation training), customized cohort work projects, the collaboration between peers and mentors, business case development and capstone project presentations (a la Shark Tank presentations).

Note: Our programs are facilitated on or off-site for organizations. We do not offer public seminars at this time. While we have speakers and trainers that are available to facilitate and speak at public engagements, we do not offer public seminars.


The learning objectives for the program include:

  • Strategic human resource development
  • Align development with the Mission, Vision, and Values
  • Increased competency
  • Business competency development designed to impact the bottom-line
  • Team projects with tangible strategic impact on the business
  • Direct observational opportunities between executives, board members, and high-potential employees in support of future leader identification and succession planning
  • Development aligned with strategic priorities
At the Cohort Level
  • Encourage participants to routinize the sharing of best management practices
  • Expose leaders to cross-functional problem solving with minimal risk to the business
  • Build alliances across functions that can develop into concrete linkages for future collaboration
  • Healthy competition and collaboration, a la “Shark Tank” type challenge and capstone projects
At the Individual Level

The program delivers a business simulation experience with real-work projects for a holistic and immersive, active-learning program. Participant learning objectives include:

  • Develop strategic and critical thinking skills
  • Develop quality decision-making skills
  • Learn how to make a business case
  • Gain an understanding of all areas of a business’ operations
  • Ensure foundational confidence in financial analysis competency
  • Comprehend the importance of strategic agility
  • Build financial acumen and budgeting skills
  • Develop the ability to ask questions that generate new thinking and solutions
  • Set effective team goals
  • Practice negotiation and influence skills
  • Develop insight into the interconnectedness of business functions and operations
  • Collaborate with their team to establish plans
  • Presentation skills development
  • Evaluate and Improve work processes
  • Align organizational systems
  • Engage in systems thinking and a continuous improvement focus
  • Develop risk management skills
  • Understand the builder mindset vs. the protector mindset

leadership development program brochure

Research from The Chartered Institute of Management Accounting shows that senior managers are battling with basic leadership and decision-making. Their research reported 72% of companies admitted to at least one failure of company strategies over the last three years, with 42% of leaders saying their organization had lost their competitive advantage in the most recent year as a result of being indecisive.

Indecisiveness is a symptom of deficient business acumen, critical thinking capacity, and strategic foresight. While executives may have solid capacity to perform their utilitarian role, many do not have the necessary competence for quality decision making, especially as the pace of change accelerates with every passing year.

Even when a company has a strong and well-communicated plan, managers often fail to align their team's tasks with the priorities of the business. Managers will make decisions based on their current level of business savvy or more likely, take the fast win by dealing only with the squeaky-wheel of the moment, as the real impact of their decisions does not weigh heavily enough on managers who are non-strategic.

When / Important Logistics / Important facts for ensuring success

Our immersive, business strategy simulation and business simulation competition program leverages active-learning and real-work projects for an effective and results-oriented learning experience.

What are the logistics and delivery formats of the program?

Our programs are infinitely flexible. Each component is custom-designed around your organizational goals and budget.  Programs are available in a variety of formats, including: 

  • Lunch and learns  / Brown-bag learning opportunities
  • 90-minute to half-day introductory sessions
  • Comprehensive programs include full-day to multi-day active-learning training events
  • Development programs (moving employees from skills knowledge to high-performance requires more change and accountability components) typically include a variety of learning events over a period of 12 to 24 months
  • In-Person, on or off-site programs are typically the most effective
  • Virtual, Instructor-Led training is also available

What are the components of the program?

We find that each company or non-profit organization will have very specific goals, budgets, and logistical requirements. Thus, we will not insist on a routine approach. However, we can share that our most effective business-simulation and acumen corporate development programs include: 

  • Stakeholder interviews to uncover the organization's goals
  • Management consulting in support of well-considered and selected work projects (capstone projects)
  • Coaching focused on business-case development related to the company's selected work projects 
  • Cohort groups collaborate on real work-projects and prepare business cases
  • Presentations to the executive team or board of directors
  • The program finale is a fun, engaging and competitive Shark Tank*-like presentation to the company's internal "investors";   
  • Workshops designed using active-learning and adult-learning principles 
  • Training agenda is focused on business, financial, and commercial acumen and is tailored for the industry and specific to your organization (i.e. private/public/non-profit/governmental entity) 
  • Optimal programs include a series of training events. For example, we recommend multi-day, and/or full-day training sessions and bi-monthly half-day sessions focused on the business acumen topics, plus group coaching, internal mentor support, practice presentation sessions, and one-on-one coaching, as needed. 
  • The group coaching is an essential component as each cohort group works with an experienced management consultant and executive coach to build their business cases with relevant feedback and constructive criticism in support of a dynamite presentation at the conclusion of the program.
  • Internally facilitated project meetings to ensure accountability and cross-functional teamwork.  
  • Internal mentors serve as in-house experts and are provided well-defined rules of engagement that ensure fairness across all teams. Tip: Mentors cannot do the work!  
  • The final business case presentations culminate in a memorable and exciting conclusion and celebration. 

Here's a sample time-line of events for our best-practice approach to the training:

Leading in business workshops

To have what is considered to be good Business Acumen, leaders need to fully understand how the business works, why it works, what makes it work, and how to execute and implement the strategy to the benefit of the company. Leaders with strong business acumen are comfortable with ambiguity and comfortably with managing the chaos. For every smooth patch, there will be a turn that puts the organization on an unpaved and rocky road again. Business acumen includes developing the foresight to understand the intricate complexities acumen are of the business turns. Its a capacity to think critically about how the dynamics of the workplace affect the business goals while knowing that not every element has the same importance across every stage of growth.

According to the Gallup engagement survey, (that every leader in America knows about by now), 71% of employees are disengaged or actively disengaged. Business acumen enables a leader to consider this data and quickly understand this means that for every $100 the company is spending on payroll, most are flushing $71, or a significant portion thereof, down the drain. When a leader comprehends how their leadership style influences employee engagement and elects to make changes in support of employee satisfaction, that's also business acumen.

Business acumen competencies include business strategy development, critical and strategic thinking, and strong marketing and business development skills. Additionally, a strong understanding of operations, supply chain, manufacturing, fulfillment, process improvement, and general business savvy are faculties that enable leaders to quickly contribute to business results, while not selling out the organization's future.

Where the rubber meets the road is in the art of the business decision. Being technically competent and even a natural leader, does not always translate to being able to process through factors to arrive at a quality decision. Proficient leaders know they cannot make every decision for their enterprising business, they must trust their subordinates and their peers to demonstrate business mastery, business intuition, and analysis skills to effectively fulfill the business objectives. Business acumen makes strong leadership teams magnificent leadership teams.

The power of the aggregate thinking of a skilled business-savvy team is expected with age and experience. However, with 96% of businesses failing within the first 10 years and only 4% of the 4% surviving the next ten now, a company cannot afford to rest on age and experience to catch-up with the changing needs of the market.

Now, let's talk about another number - 100%. It's 100% the responsibility to the CEO or Executive Director to recognize the limitations and ensure their team, from their C-suite peers to the frontline, are capable of understanding and acting upon the what, why, and hows of the business in an innovative, efficient, and effective manner.

The Training Problem

We know that a one size fits all approach to training employees doesn't work. This is particularly true for developing Business Acumen. We will be the first to advocate for coaching and training, as the benefits are well-documented and undisputed. However, for strategic thinking, financial acumen, and some of the more advanced thinking and analytical skills, an effective program may also include:

  • A change management and accountability approach
  • Real work-projects provide immediate opportunities to apply the skills learned in the training sessions  
  • Real-world business simulation-style training  
  • Subject matter experts to inform and mentor participants 
  • A practical approach for learning about lateral and vertical thinking models 
  • Top-down support to foster real buy-in to the program 
  • Accountability check-points ensure engagement and prioritized attention 
  • Performance management protocols and oversight 
  • Quality assurance measures 
  • Coaching to foster integration and skill practice 
  • Peer-to-peer interaction to maximize learning retention and develop additional learning opportunities 
Adult learning

For our business acumen development program we customize our proven curriculum for relevance and alignment with your business, industry and strategic priorities.  Each program is designed to actively engage participants in rich learning experiences and adult-learning best practices.

NOTE: We do not have public training events. While our programs are available for groups only, we do have individual, one-on-one coaching programs for individuals seeking business acumen coaching. Please inquire.


Please also see more information on our customized leadership development options:


leadership development program brochure


Have questions? We have answers. Please also read our Strategic Thinking & Business Acumen Training Frequently Asked Questions here, for the details on our Business Acumen Training and Capstone Project development programs.

Learning how to lead a business and develop the business acumen skills to make quality, informed, strategic decisions matters, at all levels of a management team. Insufficient business acumen competency significantly limits an organization's ability to realize and achieve its goals. High performing companies address the business-savvy skill gap by implementing business acumen, finance for non-financial managers, and strategic thinking training programs to build the required competencies.

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Make sure to also check out TurnKey's other services in the city: executive coaching programs, corporate leadership development, leadership team development, programs for emerging leaders and high potentials, Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team programs, business retreats, and strategic planning consultations.

Disclaimer: Shark-Tank-Like* We are not associated in any way with the television show. We think it’s an awesome show and use the verbiage “shark-tank-Like” because it accurately describes how our final capstone, business simulation competition, and business strategy simulation presentations are experienced by our clients. SHARK TANK is a trademark of Sony Pictures Television Inc. and is not associated in any way with this company or program.