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:
Overall, the research shows that CEOs and the majority of leaders are underperforming. According to recent research conducted by the Perth Leadership Institute, the majority of leaders are currently operating below the business acumen competency line and are more likely to be outperformed by their close competitors. Yet, most leaders rate themselves highly competent in the areas of business savvy and understanding the factors that impact the business, while simultaneously rating their peers and subordinates as lacking business acumen skills.
But, what exactly is business acumen? Is it a single competency, like time management, that can simply be developed with a little awareness and practice? The answer is no. Business acumen is a multi-faceted, knowledge-and-experience based competency that highly-skilled leaders use to quickly evaluate all aspects of a situation and determine the right course of action, reliably and with predictably positive results.
By deliberating providing business and financial acumen development opportunities, an organization improves its leaders' analytical capabilities, enhances their logical thinking capacities, and enabling them to remain disciplined and strategic in the face of challenges.
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:
Peter Senge author of The Fifth Discipline, suggests five "component technologies" which include systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, shared vision and team learning, as the key components for building a learning organization. These components are true for building business acumen as well. In his book, P. Senge describes a learning organization as "... where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning how to learn together."
A leader's business acumen grows naturally as they experience and process through each component technology over time (assuming the organization provides those opportunities). However, what organization has the luxury of time to allow leaders to slowly simmer into competence?
Unfortunately, a typical workshop, wherein a trained expert shares theories and concepts around business acumen falls short of actually engaging the neurons required for learning how to think strategically and critically around a business growth strategy or how to overcome business challenges.
An article from People Matters (2017) reports that 65% of managers feel that they have reached their business acumen limit. Reached their limit? Does this mean they believe they are experts in the business acumen arena? Unfortunately, this flies in the face of the other research (BTS and the Economist Intelligence Unit, for example) that revealed 2 out of 3 executives believe their team lacks business acumen competency.
It is thus essential that organizations prioritize the development of their managers through business acumen training and/or a strategy for managers program, to ensure misplaced confidence isn't left unaddressed. A manager who is fully equipped with the following business acumen traits will, in fact, understand how they contribute to the bottom line and thus, be more deliberate and effective in their contributions.
Strategic perspective – the ability to recognize the current strengths and weaknesses of the business, its critical interdependencies, and the short- and long-term impacts of decisions made.
Financial acumen – the ability to determine the key investments that drive progress, productivity and cash flow and utilize financial statements to inform business decisions.
Market orientation – the ability to demonstrate discernment on current macroeconomic trends and synthesize market and business competitor data; And, the ability to understand the customer's needs and how to create a competitive advantage while effectively meeting those needs.
Leadership and teamwork – the ability to deliver business results through others; the capacity to foster alignment, commitment, collaboration, and a unified vision.
In an increasingly challenging marketplace, it is important for companies to enable employees at all levels to understand how the business works, and how their role impacts the business.
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.
Learning and development programs that develop business acumen, critical and creative thinking, financial acumen, and strategic thinking skills, enable employees to understand how their own actions affect business results and how their input makes a difference to the organization's sustainability. Effective business simulation training also builds teamwork and engagement, empowering individual contributors and managers to move together as an organization, innovating and adapting to the ever-evolving landscape of business. Developing business acumen within your employees can turn them into a powerful asset, as they are educated, knowledgeable and motivated, in turn positioning the company for success.
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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.