Develop Strategic Leaders with Business Acumen Training in Seattle, WA

Improve Bottom-Line with Business Acumen & Strategy for Managers in the Seattle area

Business Acumen, like charisma or executive presence, is not easy to define, but unlike charisma, a lack of business acumen can destroy an organization's ability to succeed. Fortunately, through effective business acumen training, employees can develop critical and strategic thinking skills and the financial acumen required to effectively manage the business.

Also known as business savvy and business sense, business acumen is demonstrated in one's incisive capacity to comprehend a business situation and swiftly make quality business decisions.

Need a strategic planning process that facilitates strategic alignment and business growth clarity? Our data-driven, research-backed strategic planning workshop builds business acumen while driving out team alignment and a prioritized action plan. Call us at 281-469-4244 or visit our strategic planning retreat 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

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.

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.
 

Business acumen isn't something easily acquired, but it can be developed and strengthened. By providing employees with real-world business simulation and strategic thinking training opportunities, your leaders can develop strong business and financial acumen skills. Employees, at any level, can be taught how sound judgments are made and how they can be more strategic and contribute to the bottom-line of the business or the mission of the organization. In fact, employees crave this kind of connection and meaning at work, and leaders who are skilled in the art of managing the business of the business, are better equipped to foster strategic engagement from their team, as well.

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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.