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.
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.
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.
An effective Leadership Development program has three primary development categories:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
To have what is considered to be good Business Acumen, leaders need to fully understand how the business works, why it works, what makes it work, and how to execute and implement the strategy to the benefit of the company. Leaders with strong business acumen are comfortable with ambiguity and comfortably with managing the chaos. For every smooth patch, there will be a turn that puts the organization on an unpaved and rocky road again. Business acumen includes developing the foresight to understand the intricate complexities acumen are of the business turns. Its a capacity to think critically about how the dynamics of the workplace affect the business goals while knowing that not every element has the same importance across every stage of growth.
According to the Gallup engagement survey, (that every leader in America knows about by now), 71% of employees are disengaged or actively disengaged. Business acumen enables a leader to consider this data and quickly understand this means that for every $100 the company is spending on payroll, most are flushing $71, or a significant portion thereof, down the drain. When a leader comprehends how their leadership style influences employee engagement and elects to make changes in support of employee satisfaction, that's also business acumen.
Business acumen competencies include business strategy development, critical and strategic thinking, and strong marketing and business development skills. Additionally, a strong understanding of operations, supply chain, manufacturing, fulfillment, process improvement, and general business savvy are faculties that enable leaders to quickly contribute to business results, while not selling out the organization's future.
Where the rubber meets the road is in the art of the business decision. Being technically competent and even a natural leader, does not always translate to being able to process through factors to arrive at a quality decision. Proficient leaders know they cannot make every decision for their enterprising business, they must trust their subordinates and their peers to demonstrate business mastery, business intuition, and analysis skills to effectively fulfill the business objectives. Business acumen makes strong leadership teams magnificent leadership teams.
The power of the aggregate thinking of a skilled business-savvy team is expected with age and experience. However, with 96% of businesses failing within the first 10 years and only 4% of the 4% surviving the next ten now, a company cannot afford to rest on age and experience to catch-up with the changing needs of the market.
Now, let's talk about another number - 100%. It's 100% the responsibility to the CEO or Executive Director to recognize the limitations and ensure their team, from their C-suite peers to the frontline, are capable of understanding and acting upon the what, why, and hows of the business in an innovative, efficient, and effective manner.
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.
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.