Today's volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) - world of business presents demanding obstacles organizations and leaders must overcome to achieve organizational priorities. Business Acumen, an imperative competency, has been identified by leaders and talent development professionals as a key driver for addressing our VUCA world challenges. Historically, business acumen competencies were reserved for the CEO and in some cases, the C-Suite. However, recent years have proven that organizations that develop business acumen throughout the lower and mid-levels of the organization ensure an important, competitive advantage.
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:
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
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.
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:
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:
Here's a sample time-line of events for our best-practice approach to the training:
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.
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:
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:
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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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.