Business Acumen Training: Advancing Business Sense in Minneapolis, MN

Improve your team’s competency with Strategy for Managers focused training in the Minneapolis area

Effective business acumen is a competency that alludes many leadership teams. Even though senior executives understand the importance of business and financial acumen and its role in driving growth, companies find developing business acumen to be an ambiguous task. As a "given" competency, one that is simply expected, and one that many leaders believe they already possess, companies fall short of their goals because they fail to actively assess and develop their team's "business savvy" competency.

Develop your organization's or company's (or business units) strategic plan and cultivate greater business acumen within your team with our strategic planning and alignment program. Learn more here or call us at 281-469-4244.

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.


The learning objectives for the program include:

  • 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 a study conducted in 2010 by The Institute for Corporate Productivity, 400 American business leaders responded to questions concerning business acumen. The results: eighty percent of the respondents think there is a moderate to a very high deficiency in business acumen within their organization. In addition, sixty-seven percent of respondents thought the knowledge deficiency among organizational leaders had a high to a very high negative impact on their organizations. The research reported that although leaders and managers have years of business experience, they benefit greatly from the development of their business acumen. When actively developed, leaders are able to ascertain essential information about any business situation, focus on the key objectives, recognize the relevant options and quickly discern the appropriate course of action. They are better equipped to make quality decisions and set in motion an effective implementation plan. As these leaders and managers continuously make profit-impacting decisions, developing their business acumen capabilities pays off handsomely.

When / Important Logistics / Important facts for ensuring success

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:

  • Facilitated stakeholder meetings to identify the company-specific goals and capstone projects
  • Business case development coaching
  • Real work-projects for business-case preparations and shark-tank-like presentations to the executive team and/or the board of directors
  • Active-learning workshops - typically two full days plus half-day sessions over the course of the development program (12 to 18 months)
  • Group coaching with each cohort group by an experienced management consultant and executive coach
  • Facilitated project meetings
  • Internal mentors following well-defined rules to ensure fairness across all teams
  • Business case presentations in a shark tank type session

Leading in business workshops

In light of the ever-changing global challenges and market complexities that enterprises face today, business acumen has become an essential commodity for every employee, and especially for managers. Today, the right dose of business acumen becomes the most important tool for ensuring effective business strategy and enabling the organizations' viability and profitability.

Business acumen is the building block of a strong enterprise. The ability to think strategically, and consider carefully the market, industry, people resources, and process challenges quickly and efficiently, in order to properly assess and make informed decisions is an important skillset. A highly competent leader is able to have both near and far-sighted perspective, and juxtapose those perspectives with the most critical priorities of the day. This means efficacious managers are not only effectively managing and motivating their team to get things done today, but they are also constantly on the lookout for process breakdowns and opportunities for improvement. They have an acute sense of the cost of inefficiencies and an appropriate sense of urgency. They feel compelled to challenge the status quo and improve costs, and improve the abilities of their subordinates to do their job effectively. Employees with stronger business sense are able to juggle big-picture thinking and communicate how each subordinate's role contributes to the success of the organization; ever mindful of how current actions or inactions predict the company's future.

A comprehensive learning and development strategy includes three foundational learning courses, including understanding self, understanding others, and understanding business. A productive leadership development program includes understanding self and how an employee's style tendencies influence how they lead; understanding others which focuses upon enabling leaders to comprehend what makes others tick and how to adapt their style for greater productivity; and, leading in business which includes strategic and critical thinking, and business and financial acumen.

The most compelling strategy will no doubt begin with the learning and development of the business basics. The development and application of business strategy is a combination of the acumen that you gain through knowledge in sync with the variety of information tools at your disposal. Different methodologies, many unique elements of strategic thinking and detailed planning help you to completely grasp the nuances of running a business effectively.

Strategic thinking, for example, is not an innate skill set. Unfortunately, it's often left to chance and sub-par, misaligned and poor execution is the result. Financial Acumen is also a crucial skill and yet, rarely do companies take the time to properly develop their manager's ability to read proformas. Imagine for a moment that you didn't quite understand what the numbers on the P&L really meant but you believe all of your peers do. Are you going to raise your hand and risk humiliation and your credibility and ask how these numbers inform the strategy? No way. We've met countless executives that fail to consider the financial data and none of them would ever admit it's because they were never really taught to be more skilled in the analysis side of their roles. Instead, most believe they have the chops to make decisions without understanding the numbers!

The Training Problem

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:

business acumen training program  components
  • Change management components
  • Real-world business simulations and work-projects
  • Subject matter experts to inform and mentor participants
  • Practical methodologies for learning about lateral and vertical thinking models
  • Top-down support and follow-through to 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

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.

Logistics - What is the format for the Customized Business Acumen Programs?

Depending upon the goals and budget, we have programs that will meet almost any logistical requirements including:

  • Lunch-and-learns and brown-bag learning programs
  • Half-day to two-day programs
  • Virtual instructor-led training (vILT) (interactive, realtime online training)
  • We have on-site/off-site workshops (no public seminars available at this time)
  • Comprehensive change and development programs include a variety of the above formats plus team coaching, mentors, e-learning options, and a la carte components.

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.

See also our Strategic and Critical Thinking and Business/Commercial Acumen Training FAQ’s here.

Leadership Development through Business Acumen for Managers Training is an investment in the long-term viability of the organization. Successful companies acknowledge the importance of intentionally developing business acumen, strategic thinking, risk analysis, and financial acumen of their leaders, managers, and yes, even their frontline employees. When a company's human capital fully comprehend how their roles contribute to the organizations' success, they are more likely to seek cost-efficiencies and perform in a way that ensures the company's profitability. With widespread business acumen, companies can have a powerful asset — educated, knowledgeable and motivated leaders.

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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.