Grow Your Leaders with Business Acumen Training in Dallas, TX

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

Business acumen learning initiatives can make a significant difference in the long-term viability and profitability of a company. Our programs provide interactive learning opportunities that go beyond traditional training. We provide leaders with a cutting edge, learning experience whereby they get to build business cases, engage in productive conflict and negotiations and actually work with frameworks and tools that build up their strategic and critical thinking skills.

Evaluating strategic planning firms? Our proven, data-driven strategic planning and strategic alignment program fosters your team's business acumen and facilitates a roadmap for business growth. Call us at 281-469-4244 or visit our Strategic Management & Strategic Planning Retreat 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.

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

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

Peter Senge author of The Fifth Discipline, suggests five "component technologies" which include systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, shared vision and team learning, as the key components for building a learning organization. These components are true for building business acumen as well. In his book, P. Senge describes a learning organization as "... where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning how to learn together."
A leader's business acumen grows naturally as they experience and process through each component technology over time (assuming the organization provides those opportunities). However, what organization has the luxury of time to allow leaders to slowly simmer into competence?

Unfortunately, a typical workshop, wherein a trained expert shares theories and concepts around business acumen falls short of actually engaging the neurons required for learning how to think strategically and critically around a business growth strategy or how to overcome business challenges.

An article from People Matters (2017) reports that 65% of managers feel that they have reached their business acumen limit. Reached their limit? Does this mean they believe they are experts in the business acumen arena? Unfortunately, this flies in the face of the other research (BTS and the Economist Intelligence Unit, for example) that revealed 2 out of 3 executives believe their team lacks business acumen competency.

It is thus essential that organizations prioritize the development of their managers through business acumen training and/or a strategy for managers program, to ensure misplaced confidence isn't left unaddressed. A manager who is fully equipped with the following business acumen traits will, in fact, understand how they contribute to the bottom line and thus, be more deliberate and effective in their contributions.

Strategic perspective – the ability to recognize the current strengths and weaknesses of the business, its critical interdependencies, and the short- and long-term impacts of decisions made.

Financial acumen – the ability to determine the key investments that drive progress, productivity and cash flow and utilize financial statements to inform business decisions.

Market orientation – the ability to demonstrate discernment on current macroeconomic trends and synthesize market and business competitor data; And, the ability to understand the customer's needs and how to create a competitive advantage while effectively meeting those needs.

Leadership and teamwork – the ability to deliver business results through others; the capacity to foster alignment, commitment, collaboration, and a unified vision.

In an increasingly challenging marketplace, it is important for companies to enable employees at all levels to understand how the business works, and how their role impacts the business.

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.
 

Leaders at all levels need a high level of business acumen to be able to efficiently perform their jobs. Every day, they make decisions about employees, projects, processes, expenditures, customers and much more — decisions that ultimately roll up into larger organizational results. Managers who make these decisions through a myopic lens will fall short of operational excellence at best and damage a company at worst. On the other hand, managers who can think strategically and make quality decisions using sound business acumen significantly bolster a company's profitability and long-term viability.

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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.