Grow Your Leaders with Business Acumen Training in Billings, MT

Business Acumen and Strategy: Leaders' competitive advantage in the Billings 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?

Our customized Business Acumen & Strategic Thinking for Managers program focuses upon developing critical thinking and planning competency, strategic agility, financial and commercial acumen, and strategic management competencies via a customized, simulation-like experience. We believe our program is better than a cookie-cutter business simulation competition, as the projects are company-selected and relevant to your strategic priorities.

The program combines learning with real work projects to produce strategic solutions while developing your team’s business,  financial, and commercial acumen via business strategy simulation. As the cohort works collaboratively, through real business problems, the program improves your managers and/or HiPos’ leadership, collaboration, and teamwork skills.

Why BAC training?

Some of our clients are looking for a program for their executive or business unit leadership team.  If you are seeking a strategic planning retreat or strategic planning consulting firm, please see our strategic growth planning and strategic alignment program here.

Brochure for the Business Acumen Training Program

Learning Objectives:

At the Organizational Level the Learning Objectives Include:

  • Interaction and collaboration opportunities between executives, board members, and high-potentials
  • Support succession planning strategy
  • Align cross-functional teams with the mission, vision, and strategic plans.
  • Actionable business projects provide strategic impact to the business
  • Strategic HR Development
  • Change management components aid in learning retention
  • Increased competency
  • Business competency development designed to impact the bottom-line

At the Cohort Level the Learning Objectives Include:

  • Healthy competition and business-focused discourse
  • Structured, required collaboration
  • Participants learn to routinize the sharing of knowledge
  • Participants are immersed in cross-functional problem solving
  • Program structure provides learning opportunities with minimal risk to the business
  • Alliances are built across the organization
  • Strategic management best-practices are demonstrated, modeled, and routinely shared
  • Participants form strong relationships and cross-functional knowledge, laying the path for ongoing collaboration

At the Individual Level the Learning Objectives Include:

  • Develop insight into the correlation of business functions and operations
  • Discover how the builder vs. protector mindsets impact business goals
  • Strategic thinking skills
  • Critical thinking and analytical skills
  • Cross-functional knowledge across all areas of business’ operations
  • Quality decision making
  • Learn how to make and present a powerful, business case
  • Cultivate the ability to be a master-asker (curious, questioning)
  • Grow the ability to generate new ways of thinking and create solutions
  • Learn to set effective team goals
  • Grow financial acumen and budgeting knowledge
  • Learn how to align organizational systems
  • Grow the ability to be resourceful and innovative
  • Develop financial analysis competency
  • Understand and learn to practice strategic agility
  • Negotiation skills
  • Learning through doing
  • Presentation skills development
  • Influence skills
  • Engage in systems thinking
  • Engage in continuous improvement discussions
  • Develop risk analysis/risk management skills
  • Collaborate, negotiate and apply influence to establish plans and build a compelling business case

How does it work?

Business Acumen & Strategic Thinking Training Program

An effective Leadership Development program has three primary development categories:

Comprehensive leadership  development training

For Phase 3: Leading in Business - the focus is on Business Acumen and Critical Thinking Skills.
While the final competency development objectives will be determined through the customization process of each business simulation training program and dependent upon the logistics and scope of the program, a comprehensive Business Acumen & Strategy Execution training focuses on the following business and strategic competencies:


Thinking & Analysis Skills:

  • Analytical thinking
  • Critical thinking
  • Strategic thinking
  • Data Analysis
  • Holistic thinking
  • Sound judgment
  • Quality decision making
  • Strategic Agility


Business Case Analysis:

  • Ability to develop a compelling business case
  • Problem-solving
  • Global business savvy
  • Dealing with ambiguity
  • Strategic foresight


Accounting Skills:

  • Finance for non-finance managers
  • A passion for understanding the numbers
  • Investment analysis
  • Risk analysis & risk management
  • Cost controls


Distinguishing Attributes:

  • Executive presence
  • Impact and Influence
  • Perspective
  • Presentation skills
  • Negotiation skills



Looking for Public Seminars? We regret that we do not offer public seminars at this time. We do, however, have expert coaches who assist individuals in building their business acumen, and critical thinking skills. Please inquire.



Commercial Acumen and Critical Thinking for Managers Training Program

Our business-savvy and strategy for managers programs are most effective when participants have some management experience or after they have participated in foundational management training including interpersonal effectiveness and supervisory skills.

Our Business simulation competition - commercial acumen training program uses experiential learning opportunities, customized cohort work projects, collaboration between peers and mentors, business case development and capstone project presentations (a la Shark Tank presentations) to drive development and learning retention.

In 2012, the Society for Human Resource Management surveyed Human Resources Professionals and asked what the four most critical business competencies would be in 10 years. Those surveyed believed the most critical competencies were Business Acumen (42%), Organizational Leadership and Navigation (40%), Relationship Management (37%), and Communication (35%).

According to the survey, business acumen was the most highly rated competency required for business success. Yet, business acumen is like the synchronized swimming of business, as a fringe skillset, it's complex and so much more than just business knowledge. Anyone can get in a pool and dance. But the art of synchronizing all movements in perfect unison with teammates - that's what opened Olympia's gates for a sport on the fringe. Business acumen is often ignored in development programs, mostly because it's hard to pinpoint, let alone to develop.

Business acumen is the ability to assimilate functional knowledge with the what, how, and why of business. For example, a leader may be quite astute in the disciplines of finance and accounting, but less competent at evaluating how the nuances of external and internal factors inform astute financial decisions. A CFO who only knows "tighten the belt" will never understand the builder mindset required for business growth. Likewise, a CEO who only understands - grow at all cost, will never understand the protector mindset required for business sustainability.

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

Generally speaking, business acumen is demonstrated through an understanding of how an organization makes money, manages risks, stays relevant, and comprehends the systems of the business. This includes adapting to internal and external business factors and demonstrating critical thinking and quality decision-making skills. Business Acumen is comprised of many, complex competencies, including understanding the numerous facets of the organization and the economic, competitive, regulatory and even political factors that may impact the company's ability to achieve its goals. Skills associated with business acumen are critical thinking skills, strategic thinking, financial intelligence, the ability to analyze and make a business case, and insightful knowledge of the industry, and competitive landscape.

Business acumen training, especially through business case building & business simulation, hones the thinking and analysis skills required to create a sound, efficient business environment. Developing thinking skills will complement a leader's business sense. Strategic thinking is the capacity to see the big picture and analyze solutions prior to barking orders and certainly before making sweeping changes. A competent leader is able to adapt to changing trends and competition whilst maintaining the organization's strategic priorities.

Executives with a strong business sense and heightened strategic thinking have the necessary tools to shape powerful strategies to ensure organizational growth. Enhancing business acumen and strategic thinking enables leaders to more deliberately hire the right employees, ensure the right strategies are deployed and be nimble enough to modify priorities when the changing dynamics of the business dictate it.

Developing a leader's business sense includes training to develop financial acumen. As a leader, it is imperative to understand what drives profits and cash flow. When a leader learns how to monitor financial indicators like profit margin, cost-analysis, sales metrics, COGS, etc. they are more empowered to think strategically and critically about the business and thus will be more likely to contribute to organizational success. However, most leaders would never admit they get lost in the financial reports and feign competency at best, and ignore them at worst.

The expectation is that a qualified leader knows how to analyze the business metrics, and is competent in managing resources, assessing risks, and improving organizational processes. Unfortunately, most organizations have a finite number of leaders that truly understand the financial metrics. This results in a constant struggle between your protectors (Finance / HR) and your builders (sales/operations/marketing etc.)

Financial literacy enables leaders, at any level, to better understand the decisions made or advocate for a better plan. Financial savvy fosters buy-in, engagement, and more effective and efficient decisions at the bottom; decisions that ultimately drive towards your profitability and/or cost-management goals.

On the other hand, the lack of financial skills inevitably leads to wasted resources, poor decisions, improper implementation of objectives and lost opportunities.

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.
 

Business acumen competencies correlate to business success. Executives and leaders who actively develop critical thinking skills make better and more effective decisions in relation to employees, processes and market factors. These strategically aligned decisions, in turn, affect the organization's viability and employee engagement. Adaptation and modification of organizational initiatives are more efficient, and managers are better equipped to self-initiate cost-saving opportunities. Business acumen training fosters a competitive advantage, positively affects profitability, and cultivates a culture where leaders are encouraged to bring their most competent selves to work each day. A business-savvy leader is capable of understanding the different factors that affect the organization and can successfully implement and execute initiatives that matter.

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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.