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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
The learning objectives for the program include:
The program delivers a business simulation experience with real-work projects for a holistic and immersive, active-learning program. Participant learning objectives include:
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.
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:
To have what is considered to be good Business Acumen, leaders need to fully understand how the business works, why it works, what makes it work, and how to execute and implement the strategy to the benefit of the company. Leaders with strong business acumen are comfortable with ambiguity and comfortably with managing the chaos. For every smooth patch, there will be a turn that puts the organization on an unpaved and rocky road again. Business acumen includes developing the foresight to understand the intricate complexities acumen are of the business turns. Its a capacity to think critically about how the dynamics of the workplace affect the business goals while knowing that not every element has the same importance across every stage of growth.
According to the Gallup engagement survey, (that every leader in America knows about by now), 71% of employees are disengaged or actively disengaged. Business acumen enables a leader to consider this data and quickly understand this means that for every $100 the company is spending on payroll, most are flushing $71, or a significant portion thereof, down the drain. When a leader comprehends how their leadership style influences employee engagement and elects to make changes in support of employee satisfaction, that's also business acumen.
Business acumen competencies include business strategy development, critical and strategic thinking, and strong marketing and business development skills. Additionally, a strong understanding of operations, supply chain, manufacturing, fulfillment, process improvement, and general business savvy are faculties that enable leaders to quickly contribute to business results, while not selling out the organization's future.
Where the rubber meets the road is in the art of the business decision. Being technically competent and even a natural leader, does not always translate to being able to process through factors to arrive at a quality decision. Proficient leaders know they cannot make every decision for their enterprising business, they must trust their subordinates and their peers to demonstrate business mastery, business intuition, and analysis skills to effectively fulfill the business objectives. Business acumen makes strong leadership teams magnificent leadership teams.
The power of the aggregate thinking of a skilled business-savvy team is expected with age and experience. However, with 96% of businesses failing within the first 10 years and only 4% of the 4% surviving the next ten now, a company cannot afford to rest on age and experience to catch-up with the changing needs of the market.
Now, let's talk about another number - 100%. It's 100% the responsibility to the CEO or Executive Director to recognize the limitations and ensure their team, from their C-suite peers to the frontline, are capable of understanding and acting upon the what, why, and hows of the business in an innovative, efficient, and effective manner.
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:
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.
Depending upon the goals and budget, we have programs that will meet almost any logistical requirements including:
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.
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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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.