Business Acumen Training: Advancing Business Sense in Tempe, AZ

Critical Thinking, Business Acumen & Strategy for Managers Training in the Tempe area

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.

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.

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

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.

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.
 

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.

@ Directly email our local business acumen trainings leader and get a complimentary consultation:


We will call you or send a reply usually in 24 hours.
Privacy Policy

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.