Business Acumen & Strategic Management Skills Training in Denver, CO

Improve Bottom-Line with Business Acumen & Strategy for Managers in the Denver area

Business Acumen, like charisma or executive presence, is not easy to define, but unlike charisma, a lack of business acumen can destroy an organization's ability to succeed. Fortunately, through effective business acumen training, employees can develop critical and strategic thinking skills and the financial acumen required to effectively manage the business.

Also known as business savvy and business sense, business acumen is demonstrated in one's incisive capacity to comprehend a business situation and swiftly make quality business decisions.

Need a strategic planning process that facilitates strategic alignment and business growth clarity? Our data-driven, research-backed strategic planning workshop builds business acumen while driving out team alignment and a prioritized action plan. Call us at 281-469-4244 or visit our strategic planning retreat 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

The Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by BTS, conducted research and found that two-thirds of corporate executives believe that a lack of business skills and a deficient understanding of how a business operates, inhibits speed in decision-making and achieving strategic priorities. Having a higher level of business acumen enables employees at every level to understand how their own decisions impact the company's profitability and the organization's ability to perform. Take a frontline employee that is dealing with a disgruntled customer. Managing the customer could equate to either losing the customer, a damaged reputation or otherwise. This one incident could affect other employee's engagement, the company's public relations and ultimately its profitability. Successfully increasing the level of business acumen in both managers and employees equips them in connecting their actions with the company outcomes. Business savvy, when coupled with an understanding of how one's decisions and responsibilities contribute to the mission and success of the organization, is a formula for higher-performance.

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

Business acumen and strategic thinking are key competencies for driving a competitive advantage – especially during increasingly turbulent times.

Business Acumen can be defined as the keenness and ability to understand the overall dynamics of the company's business, financials, operations, market factors, and environment and assimilate this knowledge wisely while compelling others to execute smartly. Leaders with a deeper sense of business astuteness have the ability to see the big picture and are capable of assessing the situation more holistically. Executives with the skillset are able to logically and confidently adapt the company's strategies to achieve favorable outcomes, while short-sighted leaders cripple an organization in the long run.

Theoretically, possessing business acumen translates to understanding the financials, the factors that will impact their market, the competition, economics, operational efficiencies, and predicting the future, while motivating and engaging their workforce.

One of the more nuanced attributes is the capacity to manage ambiguity and be adaptable enough to shift gears comfortably. As speed is of the essence, strategic and critical thinking informed by strong business acumen enables a leader to size up a situation quickly, and make course corrections to overcome a challenge or swiftly seize an opportunity. A high-performing leader is able to consider the impact of extensive and complex business conditions and set a course that engages and inspires employees to not only follow but champion.

One may ask, "doesn't business acumen come from experience?" In short, yes. But what company has the luxury of waiting for their leaders to catch up with high-performance via the passage of time. Patience is a virtue - not a development strategy! An effective and strategic Human Resources leader advocates for development programs that will quicken mastery through active-learning workshops, mentoring, personal and peer-to-peer coaching, and business simulation. In a simulation, for example, managers are able to make bad decisions without affecting the business. These failures are brilliant learning experiences. We remember these lessons and use our mistakes to inform future decisions. By structuring a training program that will force leaders to think critically and even set them up to experience a few failures, companies can build business acumen competency within their workforce. You can literally create a safe environment where business keenness has a chance to flourish and leaders have a chance to test their skills and experiment with decision-making.

Quality decision making, business sagacity, and astute analysis can be intentionally developed. When the research shows that most managers and leaders believe they understand the business while those same leaders believe their peers do not, we have an issue. An unskilled leader doesn't understand the business, is not knowledgeable about policies, trends, technology, and the factors that affect the organization. They may know who the competition is, but don't grasp why studying what they do and how they do it matters. They undervalue strategy and remain predominantly focused on the tactical, and while they may be high-performing technically, they will surely underperform as a leader, as an astute strategy is a difference that creates longevity.

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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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.