Business Acumen Training for Leaders in Little-rock, AR

Business Acumen & Strategic Thinking Training in the Little Rock 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?

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.

According to a handful of research papers and CEO interviews, over 65% of leaders surveyed said that a lack of strong business acumen amongst their leaders was a significant impediment to their success. Misalignment, poor fulfillment, and profit deficits are the result of deficient business knowledge, and this is particularly troubling considering most leaders do not see their own business acumen deficiencies. While business acumen shortfalls erode a company’s ability to achieve outcomes, the truth is these skills can and should be developed with proper training. Employees who are not provided opportunities to understand the importance of thinking critically and who are not skilled at business know-how have a difficult time effectively aligning their individual contributions to the company goals. More often than not, employees fail to understand company goals and business strategies thereby failing to properly implement them, while simultaneously believing they are performing well. On the other hand, Leaders and employees with strong business savvy understand the correlation between day to day decisions and achieving company goals. Additionally, mid-level managers and frontline employees that are able to think critically and birth solutions that are aligned with corporate strategies are invaluable assets. When leaders and employees have a deeper understanding of ”the business of the business” organizations can be more confident in pursuing innovations, new markets, and bolder endeavors, because the foundation of the company is competent and committed to organizational success. According to a handful of research papers and CEO interviews, over 65% of leaders surveyed said that a lack of strong business acumen amongst their leaders was a significant impediment to their success.

Misalignment, poor fulfillment, and profit deficits are the result of deficient business knowledge, and this is particularly troubling considering most leaders do not see their own business acumen deficiencies. While business acumen shortfalls erode a company's ability to achieve outcomes, the truth is these skills can and should be developed with proper training. Employees who are not provided opportunities to understand the importance of thinking critically and who are not skilled at business know-how have a difficult time effectively aligning their individual contributions to the company goals. More often than not, employees fail to understand company goals and business strategies thereby failing to properly implement them, while simultaneously believing they are performing well. On the other hand, Leaders and employees with strong business savvy understand the correlation between day to day decisions and achieving company goals. Additionally, mid-level managers and frontline employees that are able to think critically and birth solutions that are aligned with corporate strategies are invaluable assets. When leaders and employees have a deeper understanding of "the business of the business" organizations can be more confident in pursuing innovations, new markets, and bolder endeavors, because the foundation of the company is competent and committed to organizational success.

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 is not simply knowing how to read the numbers, but being able to interpret the numbers to make sound business decisions aligned with company goals. Similarly, it's one thing to know the score of a basketball game, and quite another to understand each player's strengths and weaknesses, the statistics, and environmental factors the coaches study to inform their strategy.

Asking the questions, "How do we cut costs?" or "How do we increase sales?" is not enough. Business acumen helps employees understand they must dig deeper and take into consideration the potential impact of decisions and actions. There's an acute awareness that every decision impacts performance. Organizations need managers that are capable of sizing up problems while seeing the bigger picture and thus, marry decisions to the organizational goals. Unfortunately, business acumen is not an inherent skill, nor is it a trait consistently imparted with an MBA, as skilled leaders gain business savvy through practice, application and real-world experience. With the pace of change quickening, companies must proactively develop employees' business sense, instead of patiently hoping their team will gain the skill over time. To address this concern, many organizations have integrated financial literacy and business acumen as managerial competency requirements and offer management development curriculum that instills these skills.

One aspect of Business Acumen is financial literacy, but as indicated above, it is not simply knowing how to read the numbers, but being able to interpret and think strategically about how the numbers inform the business. Financial acumen, one of a handful of business discernment skills taught in a good business acumen training program, is the skill set of knowing how to read a balance sheet, profit, and loss statements and financial projections to make sound business decisions. However, it's also balancing the goal of profitability (fund-raising or cost management for nonprofits / governmental entities) with the company's strategic priorities and organizational values. Thus, there's more to reading a financial statement than meets the untrained eye. Skipping to the profit line is not enough to qualify as sufficient critical thinking. When a leader has spent time developing thinking skills, they are better equipped to formulate strategies that will positively affect the long term viability of the organization.

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 with strong business acumen competencies are capable of making well-considered plans, demonstrating sound business judgment and effectively analyzing business strategies, which others feel confident in executing. Business acumen, which includes an acute sense of how business works and what makes or breaks profitability, isn't an innate skill, nor is it something acquired easily, but through a well-designed Business-Intelligence training program, it can be taught.

The key to obtaining strong business and financial acumen relies on learning through experiential exercises and experiencing the process through business simulation and real-world, project or business-case analysis; ideally, customized to be relevant to your business.

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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.