What is business acumen?

Very simply, business acumen is the understanding of what it takes for a business to make money. It includes financial literacy, the understanding of the numbers on financial statements, as well as an understanding of the strategies, decisions and actions that impact those numbers. With financial literacy, you can "read" your company's income statement. With business acumen, you can "interpret" this same income statement, taking into consideration how your company's strategies and initiatives impact the numbers. 

Think about this comparison: In football, players need to know how the game is scored and how they play the game to change the score. So in business, financial literacy is understanding the "score" (financial statements) and business acumen is understanding how to impact it (strategic actions and decisions).

More than ever, why is business acumen a key strategy?

When business acumen spreads throughout an organization, people ask the right questions. These questions aren't only directed at the organization, but also at themselves and their department...questions about processes, products, systems, and talent that can lead to innovative decisions and actions. 

Business acumen helps everyone understand that it's not enough to ask, "How do we cut costs?" or to say, "We need to increase sales by x percent." Digging deeper, employees with higher levels of business acumen ask questions that consider the big-picture impact of potential decisions. They demonstrate the ability to make connections between what they do, every day on the job, and their impact on the bottom line. 

Our award-winning business acumen simulation engages learners through a variety of discovery learning methods. Participants gain a true understanding of what it takes for a business to make money.  

Why develop business acumen? Because it's...

  • A critical leadership competency for managers. Today's managers are being challenged in unprecedented ways to get results. Increasingly, organizations are incorporating business acumen education into their leadership development programs to equip their managers with the knowledge and skills they need to make a bottom-line impact.
  • An important alignment initiative for employees. Every day, the actions and decisions of employees affect the bottom line. With increased business acumen, they understand how departmental objectives and their own jobs fit into the big picture of financial and strategic goals. And that means higher levels of commitment, motivation and alignment.
  • A competitive edge for sales professionals. To win new sales and secure long-term customer loyalty, sales executives must credibly and confidently offer products and services within the context of a customer's financial and strategic objectives. The development of business acumen for sales professionals increases skill in using a consultative, customer-focused sales approach.

And the good news is ... developing business acumen can be fast, fun and effective.

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