Traditional Business Acumen

Business Acumen Training In The 21st Century

Business Acumen Training In The 21st Century

Staying competitive has always been a challenge for businesses. With technology and the workforce rapidly changing, that competition is even stronger.

Staying on top of your game means your business needs to hone the skills of its leaders to encompass all the needs of the organization. That means that tomorrow’s workforce needs business acumen training.

Changing Roles in Today’s Workforce

The roles have changed and are changing all the time. What worked even ten years ago is vastly different from is needed today. That means organizations need a new approach when training their employees for leadership roles.

Leadership means having more than a supervisory role where they developed a plan and then delegated the tasks. Now, leaders need to be visionaries and the need to make sure everyone is involved.

Not only must be able to see what is needed, but they must be able to put it into action, get people motivated and help them along the way. Leaders today must have everyone on board and in agreement with the same vision.

Why Business Acumen Training Matters

It really comes down to having all employees understand the objectives of the organization and how they fit into that plan. It’s understanding their role and the roles of all the other employees to reach the same goal.

It’s vital for employee retainment, productivity and efficiency. Communication and employee engagement depends on strong leadership and strong business savvy.

It makes people feel valued and an important part of the entire organization. Encouraging communication and input from all makes for a well-rounded team that is moving in the same direction.

Business Acumen Training Basics

There are a few basics that everyone needs to understand, including:

● What is the objective
● How do we best reach those objectives
● What roles do everyone play
● How does the company make money
● Who are the customers

When these items are understood by everyone, teamwork can begin. Without this knowledge, departments drift and there is less or no communication. Gone are the days of ‘not my job’ scenarios, where people went to work every day with side blinders on.

How to Train and Develop Business Acumen

Over the past several years, business acumen has become a vital part of a skill set needed for any type of business. As businesses change, so do their needs.

1. Objectives

The first step is getting everyone moving toward the same goal. This means people need to be reminded often, to ensure everyone is doing their part and heading in the right direction.

People need to make their personal goals fit with the organization’s goals. It makes it easier for employees to understand their role and shape their own goals along with that of the company’s.

2. Business Training Simulations

Understanding your role in an organization means understanding everyone’s role. It opens a dialog, communication and a greater understanding of how the organization functions.

Switching roles allows people to see first-hand what other people do and how it relates back to their own position. It gives insight into what other people are doing and what they have to cope with. Business training simulations are advanced training tools that give people a day in the life of a business leader. These tools do a great job of teaching people by doing.

3. Shadowing

Shadowing is one way to broaden employees’ understanding of how other positions function. They can see what they do, ask questions and see how it relates back to their own job and tasks.


There are games and programs people can work together on to see how the business runs and operates. Switching roles or training for a new one can be difficult, but when people can see how it happens with real but risk-free consequences, they learn much faster.

4. Business Simulation Games (less focused on hard core business objectives)

There are also games, apps and virtual computer programs that people can participate in at their own pace and in their own time. These programs put the employee in every possible scenario and let them work out the solutions. There are many different situations that can be used.

It’s a fun and interactive way to learn and get real-life, on the job training that would otherwise have far too many risks. It’s a safe environment where people can try different methods for different outcomes. Keep in mind that business simulation games are in the same general class as business training simulations. The primary difference being that adding the game classification brings down the level of complexity and opens up more doors of options when comparing the business training simulations.

5. Mentoring

This is an important part of training and development. Mentors have knowledge and experience but they also have stories that relate to situations people will be facing.

If you have a large number of people set to retire in the next several years, take advantage of their knowledge and experiences. Not only can employees shadow them, but they can also see what the do, ask questions and open communication between departments and generations.

6. Listen to Your Training Customers

Ultimately, the customer is how you make an income, so their feedback is key. People also need to know how to communicate with customers and clients from all levels in business.

Communication, customer service and other soft skills make leaders more relatable and human. Your customers are also your employees. If they are not on board with your product or service, then your other customers never will be, either.

7. Continuous Learning

Training and development must be continuous and revisited regularly. Ideas, goals and employees change all the time. As educators, you must stay on top of all the current business news and insights.

Keeping educated and sharing this knowledge means everyone can contribute, shift for the new business objectives or directions and stay on course for the future of the company.

Applying whatever new trend or technology to your own business is vital, because you can bet your competition will be doing so. See what is going on globally and locally and apply it to your organization.

Embrace The Change

The face of business is changing rapidly and that means organizations need to follow suit. Technology is advancing, the workforce is changing and now, more than ever, employees need to understand and possess strong business acumen.

It isn’t something that only leaders need, but it needs to be a skill set for everyone making it in business. It encompasses all the hard and soft skills needed to survive, for the company and the people.


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