Business Acumen & Strategic Management Skills Training in Cambridge, MA

High Performance through Business Acumen and Strategic Thinking Development in the Cambridge area

Business Acumen is, by far, one of the most valuable skills for leaders to develop. In essence, Business Acumen is a blanket term for understanding the core "hows", "whys", "whens" and "whats" of business operations and management. This understanding is key to sustaining and maintaining a healthy business.

Need a strategic planning firm? Our strategic planning and alignment program builds business acumen and strategic foresight, while helping your team commit to growing the business. Call us at 281-469-4244 or visit our Strategic Planning Process 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.

Objectives

The learning objectives for the program include:

Organizational
  • 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

A recent study featuring British Petroleum Chief Executives found that business acumen can be cultivated but it demands intense mental activity with several practices considered critical. Global competition has forced every organization to re-think their operational strategy and presents leaders with the challenge of evaluating business systems, operational processes, the company's profit model, all while driving results on a daily basis.

Shockingly, according to Kaplan and Norton (2005), 95% of leaders do not understand their company's strategy. While most people understand their job, study after study demonstrates that the majority of leaders don't understand the business of their business. Leaders must understand how they impact the bottom-line and business acumen skills are key – without business savvy, leaders will struggle to make a meaningful impact on business results

When / Important Logistics / Important facts for ensuring success

In John Maxwell’s best-seller, The 12 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, he explains the law of the lid. This law states that an organization will only rise to the level of competency of its’ leadership. High-performing leadership teams master the soft-skills of interpersonal effectiveness, the hard skills of analytics and finance, and the nuanced intricacies of business acumen. Organizations that provide development opportunities in all three areas, raise the lid!


What are the logistics and delivery formats of the program?

Our programs are infinitely flexible. We custom-design each program to be the right fit for your organization, goals, and budget. For some organizations, that means a “lunch and learn” or virtual, instructor-led training to introduce the concepts of business acumen. For other companies, the need to build their team’s business acumen skills is more urgent and a more comprehensive, skill development approach is available.


Our premiere program includes:

  • Facilitated stakeholder meetings to identify the company-specific goals and capstone projects
  • Business case development coaching
  • Real work-projects for business-case preparations and shark-tank-like presentations to the executive team and/or the board of directors
  • Active-learning workshops - typically two full days plus half-day sessions over the course of the development program (12 to 18 months)
  • Group coaching with each cohort group by an experienced management consultant and executive coach
  • Facilitated project meetings
  • Internal mentors following well-defined rules to ensure fairness across all teams
  • Business case presentations in a shark tank type session


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

All training isn't the same; one size doesn't fit all. This is especially true for Business Acumen training. While the wisdom of training and coaching isn't disputed, for a business acumen training program to have a lasting impact, there are important attributes to consider including:

business acumen training program  components
  • Change management components
  • Real-world business simulations and work-projects
  • Subject matter experts to inform and mentor participants
  • Practical methodologies for learning about lateral and vertical thinking models
  • Top-down support and follow-through to 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

Our business acumen training program is designed specifically to be a strategic fit; meaning our proven curriculum serves as the foundational content that is customized to be relevant for your business, industry and strategic priorities.

Logistics - What is the format for the Customized Business Acumen Programs?

Depending upon the goals and budget, we have programs that will meet almost any logistical requirements including:

  • Lunch-and-learns and brown-bag learning programs
  • Half-day to two-day programs
  • Virtual instructor-led training (vILT) (interactive, realtime online training)
  • We have on-site/off-site workshops (no public seminars available at this time)
  • Comprehensive change and development programs include a variety of the above formats plus team coaching, mentors, e-learning options, and a la carte components.

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.

See also our Strategic and Critical Thinking and Business/Commercial Acumen Training FAQ’s here.

While the pace of change quickens, and more businesses struggle with adapting their services to meet the ever-changing demands of the marketplace, companies that proactively develop their leaders' business acumen with a strategy for managers program find that the development of a competent and strategic management team is an investment in the company's success.

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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.