business acumen
"At the core of every successful business, from a global giant to a corner store, are the same fundamentals of
moneymaking: cash, margin, velocity, return, and growth. And at the core of every successful business leader is an
intuitive understanding of the relationships among them. When you have business acumen, you realize the importance of
every job at every stage of your career. A mailroom clerk with business acumen knows that getting checks to the
accounts receivable department more quickly will ease the company's cash flow. And a sales rep with business acumen
knows that higher-margin products will increase the company's return" ~Ram Charan
Apples & Oranges
Teams of four to six participants purchase a business and begin their odyssey to manage operations to meet financial
objectives. The purchase has its challenges as inventory levels are not matched with customer demand and costs are
rising faster than revenue. Gaining knowledge about the business process and financial reporting contributes to
improvement ideas that lead to improved profitability. Once the basic financial foundation is set, teams can apply that
knowledge with scenarios that parallel an industry and discipline such as financial services, consumer products and
manufacturing, retail and supply chain, knowledge and staffing and retention.
Learning Outcomes
~ Broaden business knowledge
~ Understand structure of financial statements and ratios
~ Connect individual role to corporate strategy
~ Activate interest to explore more financial information
~ Identify opportunities to contribute value
Critical Applications
~ Improved communication across business functions
~ Alignment of individual roles with corporate strategy
~ Enhanced coaching ability providing feedback with business context
~ Efficient business decisions to meet changing market dynamics
~ Expanded business conversations
Key Business Results
~ Increased margins with value perspective applied to business decisions
~ Improved employee relations with expanded business knowledge base
~ Higher staff retention based on improved associate engagement
~ Better forecasting and business analysis
~ Improved competitive positioning
Decision Base
Six capital intensive companies compete for customers and investment in a dynamic marketplace. Teams must develop
a strategy to build competitive advantage over seven years while focusing on tactical decisions that impact cash flow
and profitability. Functional roles of sales and marketing, finance, manufacturing and research and development build
decision making and influencing skills seeking opportunities to leverage knowledge to meet business objectives.
Learning Outcomes
~ Widened perspective of multiple business functions that need to work collaboratively to sustain
competitive advantage.
~ Improved decision making skills to evaluate capital investments.
~ Increased understanding of cash flow and its drivers: increase profitable sales, decrease costs and
manage assets.
~ Enhanced business analysis skills based on multiple decisions made with a variety of data points,
competitive analysis and time pressures.
~ Foundation knowledge of business economics and the structure of income statement, balance sheet
and cash flow statement.
Critical Applications
~ Ability to see patterns in financial statements to research opportunities to improve bottom line results.
~ Determine appropriate leadership behaviors to engage associates in conversations to benefit the business.
~ Increased perspective of diversity to drive innovation.
~ Improved forecasting and budgeting techniques.
~ Development of high potential leaders to take on general management role.
Key Business Results
~ Retention of key leaders with development of learning linked to competency model.
~ Improvement in specific financial targets based on understanding of the individual activities that drive
the results.
~ Improvement of associate engagement directly linked to increased profitability.
~ Increased communication across departments to optimize resource allocation.
~ Strengthened business analysis builds better ideas for capital investment.