By Cara Caldwell

Why do we teach the 5 Business Drivers Model?

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Uncategorized | October 10, 2016

In 2012 we published our book “Seeing the Big Picture: Business Acumen to Build Your Credibility, Career, and Company” which became an overnight #1 Wall Street Journal and a New York Times Bestseller. The book outlines five key business drivers (cash, profit, assets, growth and people) that we’ve taught to thousands of employees in hundreds of companies over the past 14 years. We teach this framework to help companies understand how everything ties back to their financials, and how they can use that understanding to make smarter, faster and more informed business decisions.

It’s shocking (and not in a good way) how few individuals really understand how their company really makes money. While it seems like an easy question to answer, as you dive in further it becomes more complex. For example, consider the following questions: Is your company making more money than it did last year? Are you making more than your competitors? Which products are outperforming? Which are underperforming? What’s the strategy to make more money going forward? Once employees learn our 5 Business Drivers framework, they are able to answer these questions and more, which will help them align their work to help the company achieve success.

The 5 Business Drivers model is really about getting everyone thinking about business within the context of a common framework. Once that happens, we can really roll up our sleeves and get down to business (pun intended). The model gives participants the satellite view of their business, and when everyone has the same big picture approach, it gives context to more advanced concepts like "enabling growth" and "reducing risk." These heady topics become much more approachable, more understandable, and more practical when looked at through our framework.

Without the 5 Business Drivers, finance training, especially for non-finance people, can be really boring, really confusing, or worse… both. Without this framework, participants are more likely to become disengaged or discouraged as they struggle with tough business topics because their context of the business is myopic. This is why most of our competitors revert to playing board games or running computer simulations (p.s. don't do that). Our goal is for graduates to be able to hold their own in a business meeting, and developing business acumen through the 5 Business Drivers model gives them the foundation and confidence to understand complex business ideas and strategies, and therefore the ability to contribute more effectively.

Additionally, for many sales organizations, key salespeople understand how to speak the language of sales (the "thing to say next" in a sales pitch), but they're not really business savvy. They may know business within the context of the products they’re selling, but they likely don't know or understand the challenges that are really keeping their clients up at night. At the end of the day, they'll always turn an important meeting with a client into a conversation about the features and benefits of their products. A salesperson who has developed business acumen not only understands how their products help fill a need for the client, they know the challenges that plague the client on a daily basis, and offer solutions rather than peddle products.

While the 5 Business Drivers Model will always be there to give critical context, no two courses are the same. Our clients have different operating models, different competitive and industry pressures, and different learning objectives that they want uniquely built into their business acumen programs. Your company can rest assured that the course we design to fill your needs will be strategic and actionable, taught by highly skilled trainers with exceptional business experience, and uniquely customized for your audience’s current level of understanding. It's our customized approach that truly sets us apart.

Combine this model with our bestselling book, our exclusivity to this topic, and our research-based learning methods, and you’ll see that we have the experience and ability to move any company’s business acumen training initiatives forward successfully and meaningfully, in a timeframe that works.

In 2012 we published our book “Seeing the Big Picture: Business Acumen to Build Your Credibility, Career, and Company” which became an overnight #1 Wall Street Journal and a New York Times Bestseller. The book outlines five key business drivers (cash, profit, assets, growth and people) that we’ve taught to thousands of employees in hundreds of companies over the past 14 years. We teach this framework to help companies understand how everything ties back to their financials, and how they can use that understanding to make smarter, faster and more informed business decisions.

It’s shocking (and not in a good way) how few individuals really understand how their company really makes money. While it seems like an easy question to answer, as you dive in further it becomes more complex. For example, consider the following questions: Is your company making more money than it did last year? Are you making more than your competitors? Which products are outperforming? Which are underperforming? What’s the strategy to make more money going forward? Once employees learn our 5 Business Drivers framework, they are able to answer these questions and more, which will help them align their work to help the company achieve success.

The 5 Business Drivers model is really about getting everyone thinking about business within the context of a common framework. Once that happens, we can really roll up our sleeves and get down to business (pun intended). The model gives participants the satellite view of their business, and when everyone has the same big picture approach, it gives context to more advanced concepts like "enabling growth" and "reducing risk." These heady topics become much more approachable, more understandable, and more practical when looked at through our framework.

Without the 5 Business Drivers, finance training, especially for non-finance people, can be really boring, really confusing, or worse… both. Without this framework, participants are more likely to become disengaged or discouraged as they struggle with tough business topics because their context of the business is myopic. This is why most of our competitors revert to playing board games or running computer simulations (p.s. don't do that). Our goal is for graduates to be able to hold their own in a business meeting, and developing business acumen through the 5 Business Drivers model gives them the foundation and confidence to understand complex business ideas and strategies, and therefore the ability to contribute more effectively.

Additionally, for many sales organizations, key salespeople understand how to speak the language of sales (the "thing to say next" in a sales pitch), but they're not really business savvy. They may know business within the context of the products they’re selling, but they likely don't know or understand the challenges that are really keeping their clients up at night. At the end of the day, they'll always turn an important meeting with a client into a conversation about the features and benefits of their products. A salesperson who has developed business acumen not only understands how their products help fill a need for the client, they know the challenges that plague the client on a daily basis, and offer solutions rather than peddle products.

While the 5 Business Drivers Model will always be there to give critical context, no two courses are the same. Our clients have different operating models, different competitive and industry pressures, and different learning objectives that they want uniquely built into their business acumen programs. Your company can rest assured that the course we design to fill your needs will be strategic and actionable, taught by highly skilled trainers with exceptional business experience, and uniquely customized for your audience’s current level of understanding. It's our customized approach that truly sets us apart.

Combine this model with our bestselling book, our exclusivity to this topic, and our research-based learning methods, and you’ll see that we have the experience and ability to move any company’s business acumen training initiatives forward successfully and meaningfully, in a timeframe that works.

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