Business Acumen TrainingOur Expertise and Impact

Strong Business Acumen Accelerates Strategy Execution

Business acumen, also referred to as commercial acumen, is critical to effective strategy execution. In fact, a recent study from BTS and the Economist Intelligence Unit titled, Skills Mismatch: Business Acumen and Strategy Execution, reports that two-thirds of corporate executives believe a lack of business skills or business acumen inhibits their company from meeting strategic priorities.

What is business acumen? Synonymous with business skills, business acumen is defined as an intuitive and applicable understanding of how a company makes money. It includes a thorough understanding of what drives profitability and cash flow, a market focused approach to the business, and an overall big picture understanding of the business and its interrelationships.

Business Acumen: The Critical Competencies

To consider business acumen more deeply, the skills and competencies that are most needed are the following:

  • Financial Acumen:
    Includes a comprehensive understanding of what drives profitability and cash flow
  • Market Orientation:
    Involves a deep understanding of the external environment
  • Strategic or “Helicopter” Perspective:
    Demands an overall big picture understanding of the business, not just deep expertise in an individual silo

It is mission critical that leaders and employees throughout the organization have the appropriate capabilities in each of these areas to ensure success. It should also be noted that business acumen is an extremely broad topic, also including mergers & acquisitions, global mindset, innovation and more.

Improve Your Leaders’ Business Acumen

BTS provides managers with basic to advanced business literacy to promote better decision-making and improved performance throughout the organization. BTS’s business acumen programs blend consultant-led workshops, online learning and interactive business simulations to create the optimal learning environment for all levels of your organization.

What is Business Acumen? Wikipedia Definition

Synonymous with business skills, business acumen is defined as an intuitive and applicable understanding of how a company makes money and includes:

Strategic Perspective

An overall big picture understanding of the business; the critical interdependencies across functions and divisions; the short- and long-term trade-offs of decisions.

OppenheimerFunds Drives Strategy at the Top »

Financial Acumen

A comprehensive understanding of the drivers of growth, profitability, and cash flow; a firm’s financial statements; key performance measures; implications of decisions on value creation.

Why Finance Matters »

Market Orientation

The ability to analyze and synthesize market and competitive data; a deep understanding of the customer’s business objectives and purchasing criteria; an appreciation of the value of each customer to the company.

Nike's Practice Improves Conversion »

Leadership & Collaboration

The ability to successfully execute strategy through others; create alignment, a positive mindset and build capability in people; and collaborate effectively with others.

Intuit Transforms Talent Development »

BTS’s Business Acumen training programs blend consultant-led workshops, online learning and interactive business simulations to create the optimal learning environment for individuals and organizations. Understanding business acumen and how it guides execution will create a stronger workforce and positive business results.

The BTS simulations and coaching brings a “real world” aspect to key points of running a successful business. While most business and financial acumen programs focus on acquiring intellectual knowledge, BTS focuses on learning with immediate application – the difference between reading about driving a car, and actually driving a car in heavy traffic. In addition to the expertise gained, there is a terrific opportunity for people to learn from each other and form lasting professional relationships. The BTS is adaptive, articulate, and can bring a great deal of experience to the classroom."

Gregory L. Waters, President and CEO, Integrated Device Technology

Executive Development

Executive Development Programs: Are You Investing in the Right Place?

Companies are increasingly investing in executive development capabilities among their leaders to maintain a competitive advantage in an increasingly complex and volatile global environment. There is little margin for error.

According to the Conference Board CEO Challenges Survey, strategy execution has been the #1 priority for CEOs over the past two years. And yet in a separate study by Bersin and Associates, only 27% of organizations studied link their executive development programs to strategic results.

An Executive Development Program From a Leading Business School or a Customized Program From BTS?

For many companies, the answer to preparing leaders for greater business challenges is sending them to top business schools for a week-long open enrollment program. These are all well-respected institutions, but do academic executive education programs truly address your company’s immediate and long-term business challenges? While a top B-school branded certificate may look good on the wall, you may not be getting as much value as you think for your money.

When it comes to custom in-house programs, the fact is more executives participate in BTS executive development programs each year than any of the leading business schools.

The table below highlights why such leading companies as Coca-Cola, Chevron, HP, Pfizer, Sony, and over 25 of the world’s largest 100 companies choose BTS instead of, or sometimes in partnership with, the business schools for their executive education program:

Create a Custom Executive Development Program to Meet Your Leadership Needs

At BTS we develop programs in collaboration with our clients to ensure an immediate positive impact on business performance. Our carefully constructed simulation experiences mean that leaders immediately engage with your company’s challenges and begin practicing new capabilities within the context of your strategy. This is not an academic exercise — your executives deal with your company’s key metrics, market dynamics, time horizons and leadership challenges.

BTS’s experiential learning methodologies have been proven in successful implementations with leading organizations around the world. Whether helping leaders at AT&T create a new culture of collaboration or building a “roadmap for growth” at The Coca-Cola Company, BTS creates comprehensive learning experiences that are consistent with your executive team’s strategic priorities and expected business outcomes. Every year more than 400 leading global companies in over 40 countries rely on BTS to ensure that their executives have everything they need to succeed.

Business Acumen Training for all Levels

Executives Are Not Your Only Leadership Development Challenge – What About the Rest of Your Talent Pipeline?

What happens when your executives finish their developmental program? Is there a process for engaging the rest of the organization in what they learned? Is there a better way to ensure that learning at all levels is aligned to your CEO’s strategy? Can the B-school that did your executive education program help you build capability at every management level in your company?

In today’s business environment, all levels in your talent pipeline need to be aligned to your company’s strategy, and all levels need to have the right capabilities to accelerate execution. BTS partners with clients to tailor strategic learning solutions from the executive suite to front line managers.

BTS Can Help Align and Develop Strategic Execution Capabilities for Your Entire Organization

While customized BTS executive development programs focus on executing enterprise strategy, BTS develops execution capabilities throughout your organization in the following areas:

While the competencies and capabilities may be different for executives and front line managers, the outcomes are similar: accelerate your strategy execution and deliver strong business results.

Great executive leaders are critical for superior strategy execution. Just as critical: ensuring that managers throughout your talent pipeline are aligned to your strategy, and have the right mindset and capabilities to drive business results. BTS, the global leader in accelerating strategy alignment and execution, can help you achieve both objectives.


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