Business Acumen Training: Advancing Business Sense in Rochester, MN

High Performance through Business Acumen and Strategic Thinking Development in the Rochester area

Businesses are challenged more and more by the uncertainty of their immediate and extended environment. While data-analytics become increasing popular and more readily available as a business strategy tool, many managers are ill-equipped to utilize the data to make quality decisions or to overcome business challenges. When polled nearly 65% of leaders believe they are competent and possess business acumen while 66% believe their peers do not. Do you know which one of these contradictory beliefs is accurate? I'll give you a hint - the rest of the research indicates that most managers and many leaders have never had the opportunity to fully develop their business acumen.

Looking for a strategic planning consultant? Our evidence-based and research-backed strategic planning and strategic alignment workshop grows business acumen while producing a strategic plan your team can get excited about. Call us at 281-469-4244 or visit our Strategic Planning Process firm page to learn more.

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.

Objectives

The learning objectives for the program include:

Organizational
  • 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

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

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

What sets effective leaders and high-potential employees apart from others? Why are some employees more likely to make intelligent decisions than others? And, how do some supervisors skyrocket their careers, while others never move up? After technical competence, and effective influence and interpersonal skills, the answer is business acumen and strategic thinking competency.

Business and financial acumen, strategic and critical thinking, analytical thinking and complex problem solving, and the ability to make a compelling business case are skills that can predictably forecast an organization's success. Unfortunately, most company's reserve business acumen expectations for their C-Suite. They fail to cultivate an environment whereby managers, at all levels, are inspired and encouraged to think critically about how their actions impact the bottom-line, let alone ponder deeply how they might improve a process, or save the company money with a simple change or innovative idea.

Leaders who are skilled and possess business acumen demonstrate an acute sense of how business works and an even deeper understanding of how their business (company/organization) works. They are knowledgeable and informed about current policies and pending regulatory changes. They stay abreast of industry trends and pay attention to economic, political, environmental and even social factors that may affect the business. Furthermore, they know the competition and study the innovators, always considering how they may contribute to their role and the company with a complimentary idea or innovation. They seek to be skilled and knowledgeable of how different strategies, tactics, and technology is impacting the marketplace.

Do your leaders and high-potential employees understand the company's business strategies? Do they really understand the financial, customer, marketplace, competition, and employee components? How often do your managers engage in a collaborative, strategically focused conversation that they self-initiate? Have you offered a business acumen workshop or strategy for managers training program that engages them in real-word business simulations and/or business-case-building opportunities?

A well-designed "leading in business" program will enable leaders to make quality business decisions with confidence, and ensure your succession plan includes a strong bench of ready-now "business-minded" leaders.

Experienced, self-aware CEOs and Executive Directors, know that if all decisions must come from them, the business is doomed, as year-over-year growth cannot be obtained when there's a singular source of directives. When a team of executives guard the strategic plan and hold the keys to all strategic-thinking in the organization, they cripple the company's ability to grow, adapt, and innovate. There's more to a strategic plan than documentation and data visualization. A strong strategic plan is intentionally cascaded throughout the organization, inviting every employee to consider how they can strategically contribute to the goals. When strategic and critical thinking skills are actively developed, employees begin to think in terms of how their actions either make the company money or save the company money; how their decisions either ensure a safe place to work or increase the likelihood of an injury; how their behaviors either encourage a great place to share ideas or a terrible place to work.

Learning and development managers who build strong business acumen and strategic thinking for managers course or training program, enable leaders to grow and drive business results through sound, quality decision making.

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.

In today's fast-paced business changing environment, developing the business acumen capability of managers could mean the difference between success and failure. Business acumen is the safety net against errors and lost opportunities. When compared to other competencies, the ability to think strategically and evaluate an action against the strategic vision is the one skill that makes good people managers into great leaders. Unfortunately, business acumen training is often dismissed in favor of soft-skill development. Our position is that both are critical for successful company growth or organizational performance.

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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.