Business acumen and strategic thinking training in Hampton, VA

Critical Thinking, Business Acumen & Strategy for Managers Training in the Hampton 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?

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

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

Having business-savvy leaders (and managers) who understand business metrics, including top-line growth, margins, and cash flow, risk analysis, and how to best execute the company's strategies are key differentiators in achieving the organizational targets. A strong management mindset - the ability to see the whole picture, to analyze reports and make quality financial decisions; to analyze quickly and be decisive, to fully realize and understand the goals and to visualize what must be done are business acumen competencies that the leaders and managers in your company or organization must possess to optimally contribute to your company's success.

While the language of "growth" and "profitability" may change for various business structures, business acumen competency is still a critical skill set required across all for-profit, non-profit, benefit corporations and public sector organizations.
As you look across your organization, you'll no doubt, observe some leaders who have a more natural talent for thinking strategically than others. However, because many organizations fail to encourage a business mindset at all levels, we find that mid-level and frontline managers' business acumen skills atrophy without use and development.

Most managers have not been expected to think critically or analyze the processes, metrics, financial indicators, etc. in order to contribute more deliberately to the organization's goals. Let's think about this for a minute. What are the consequences when a manager is unaware of how their decisions impact the bottom-line? What happens when a leader recognizes an opportunity to improve a process or has an innovative idea that would address a business problem, but ignores their instincts because all the decisions are made top-down?

When an organization ignores business acumen skill development, or haphazardly expects managers to get "on-the-job" experiences related to driving business value, the results are lackluster at best. On the other hand, developing critical thinking skills via a strategy for managers training, for example, can help leaders gain strategic thinking and financial acumen confidence. In fact, the simple act of discussing business acumen with employees fosters self-initiation and encourages managers to be courageous in sharing their ideas and bold in implementing solutions.

Imagine a culture where your employees are inspired and encouraged to think strategically and self-initiate improvements - a deliberately cultivated "Kaizen" state of mind. Kaizen is a Sino-Japanese word meaning improvement and business kaizen is about cross-organizational, employee-driven continuous improvement. A Kaizen culture encourages process and business improvements from the C-Suite to the frontline, by expecting all employees to think critically and thoughtfully about the business and their role in contributing to the business results.

When managers are provided opportunities to develop their critical thinking, strategic thinking, and business and financial acumen skills, they engage more passionately with their peers and commit more fully to the business goals.
Let's gain some clarity around how a leader who is unskilled in the competency of business acumen demonstrates their business acumen gap. Watch carefully and you'll find clues that they do not understand how businesses work or they are not up-to-date on the industry trends, technology, and the mission or priorities. Perhaps they ignore or do not know who the competition is or lack interest in process improvement or general business metrics or they are so dedicated as a functional or professional expert, but all critical thinking is reserved for functional application only.

The bottom line is business acumen and strategy for managers training programs ensure a strong competitive advantage, employees that are eager to contribute, as they understand the bigger vision, and enables your team to meet or exceed your company's goals.

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 can and must be developed, despite the complexity of teaching it, for a business to thrive. Luckily, business acumen does not have to be an innate characteristic but instead is a skillset that can be learned. Remember, managers with strong business acumen are better equipped to lead their company to sustainable growth and drive meaningful results.

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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.