Business Acumen Training for Leaders in Philadelphia, PA

Ready-now leaders through Business Acumen & Strategy in the Philadelphia area

An organization's ability to successfully navigate through the complexities of an ever-evolving business landscape including global and micro-competition, regulatory requirements, technological innovations, and workforce changes, to name only a few, will rest heavily on the management team's business acumen and strategic thinking skills. Business acumen is a cognitive thinking skill whereby we merge experiences, knowledge, education, and perspective into a reliable process for making quality decisions. Organizations that offer managers business acumen development opportunities, in the form of business simulation and financial acumen workshops ensure their company's future.

Effective business and financial acumen training programs build employees that are better equipped to strategically contribute, effectively plan, mindfully monitor, and adapt processes to deliberately meet the ever-changing needs of the changing marketplace.

Seeking a strategic planning consultant to facilitate your strategic planning retreat? Our evidence-based strategic alignment workshop facilitates business acumen and a growth strategy your team can get excited about. Call us at 281-469-4244 or visit our strategic planning consultants 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 Martin Luendock, Co-founder of, a site dedicated to helping job-seekers find their dream job, people with strong business acumen skills are able to produce business frameworks to help identify and analyze important factors that will influence the successful execution of a strategy. The substance of business acumen is the ability to determine the strength of an organization's strategies and the viability of a business construct.

Furthermore, according to the business magazine, Financial Times, "business acumen is keenness and speed in understanding and deciding on a business situation." But, how does one develop their ability to have "keenness and speed" in understanding business situations?

What's interesting is the Financial Times survey also found that the five most important skills employers want from MBA students, are not core MBA subjects. For example, employers want employees who are not only good at time management but have the ability to prioritize (two very different skills.) They also want employees who can understand the impact of technology on their business and the ability to solve complex problems. These are thinking skills, which are difficult to learn in a non-business environment.

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

While most employees understand their technical and tactical job, studies have shown they fail to understand the business of the business. It's critical employees develop the ability to see the big picture, understand business drivers, understand how the work they do and the decisions they make impact the bottom-line, and be equipped to make decisions aligned with the strategic goals of the company.

Leaders must be able to piece together, quickly, complex factors, some, to the untrained eye, may even seem insignificant, to craft a composite perspective. Critical thinking skills enable the leader to consider the economic, environmental, regulatory, historical, competitive, financial, and other factors influencing the business. The ability to understand the compound effect of disparate factors and not get bogged down in a sea of ambiguity is a skill that can be developed. It's a difficult prospect for many, to make quality decisions and make them quickly, without knowing, with certainty, all the facts. However, there will never be a time when a leader has a crystal ball and thus, they must be able to quickly and strategically think through options and with well-trained instincts make wise decisions.

Leaders who have developed business acumen will be more efficient and effective, as they notice the connections within the workplace and the way different factors affect the success of the whole. Sound business acumen enables leaders to provide a more coordinated and logical response to threats and opportunities as the process of thinking strategically, on a consistent basis, enables them to be nimble, assess quickly, and be less likely to panic in the face of difficulties.

When it comes to developing strong business acumen, a quality training program includes learning opportunities that will expose participants to their own thought process as well as how highly-effective leaders think and manage. A solid strategy for managers' workshop will also provide practice situations to improve their business knowledge, and gain an understanding of the different decision-making styles and thus, enhance their overall management and leadership skills simultaneously.

A better understanding of one's thought processes is essential, as business acumen is heavily focused on thinking and analyzing. High competency includes the ability to understand how the frameworks in which businesses operate. Additionally, having self-awareness about one's decision-making process can boost comprehension of these complex frameworks and how they relate to each other. For example, the ability to think broadly regarding the impact of work processes while consistently looking to build efficiencies, eliminate redundancies, and make work easier for employees, is one of the finer aspects of business acumen competency.

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.

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.