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:
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.
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.
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:
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:
Here's a sample time-line of events for our best-practice approach to the training:
What is business acumen? Simply put, business acumen is the ability to keenly understand the company's business strategy, the financial metrics, the external and internal factors influencing success and the ability to make quality decisions that align with the organization's best interest. Acute critical thinking and business insight, means leaders are equipped to discern and implement the necessary changes to achieve the goals of any business initiative. What we have learned is that an employee with a high level of business acumen can see the "big picture;" And, how the various factors from processes and technology to employee decisions and regulations are inseparably intertwined with a company's ability to accomplish its goals. Having a deep sense of business acumen allows employees to extract relevant and important data and to decide the appropriate course of action. This will naturally lead to improved results, more meaningful engagement within the organization and a stronger impulse to be a part of the company's success.
We have also learned that an employees' lack of business knowledge and business education show a direct correlation to organizational deficiencies. Companies fail when employees struggle to fully understand the company's vision and strategic priorities and how to apply critical thinking skills to their roles and responsibilities. This failure to think critically and creatively, or analyze the financial impact of a decision, results in poor execution, and an inability to implement business strategies efficiently. Ultimately, the inefficient implementation of business strategies further increases company misalignment and disarray.
This pattern can be changed with the development of critical and strategic thinking training, business and financial acumen development, and by developing your leader's ability to conduct proper business case analysis, both in-depth and in-the-moment. Business acumen is an essential skill for effective leadership teams to possess. With the fast pace of the changing business environment, it is more critical now than ever, for employees to develop a higher level of business acumen. When a manager is empowered with business acumen training, the manager's confidence grows along with their ability to analyze, think creatively, and make sound business decisions. It is this more elusive skill set of critical thinking that enables an organization to be more nimble and adapt to changes quickly.
Business acumen is not an innate skill. Luckily, it is something that can be developed. And, while some people may grasp the concept easier than others, depending on their personal experience, others may just take more time to master the skill. There are many approaches to developing business acumen, including coaching, mentoring, and on-the-job training, and the most effective method is experiential learning and business simulations. The latter two approaches, when thoughtfully designed, provide a customized learning experience that is also immediately applicable to the real-world needs of the company. Finally, business acumen training programs enable your managers to contribute to the company's strategic priorities, develop keen insights into how the company can avoid costly mistakes, and foster a culture more inclined to innovate than stagnate.
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:
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:
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 competencies correlate to business success. Executives and leaders who actively develop critical thinking skills make better and more effective decisions in relation to employees, processes and market factors. These strategically aligned decisions, in turn, affect the organization's viability and employee engagement. Adaptation and modification of organizational initiatives are more efficient, and managers are better equipped to self-initiate cost-saving opportunities. Business acumen training fosters a competitive advantage, positively affects profitability, and cultivates a culture where leaders are encouraged to bring their most competent selves to work each day. A business-savvy leader is capable of understanding the different factors that affect the organization and can successfully implement and execute initiatives that matter.
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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.