We’ve scienced our reinforcements and follow-through to prepare graduates to go beyond the classroom and make things happen back on the job.
We teach participants to fish and give them a rod, reel, and tackle box.
Acumen Learning Mike Wright, Vice President
Included Reinforcement Tools
We’ve made tools and job aids an essential part of our business acumen training programs. While there are many training vendors who give out a token job aide at the end of the day as a sort of thank you – we’ve gone beyond this.
Our tools have been integrated with our classroom experience – we’re modeling how to effectivly use the tools to add value to the business. Breaking participants into groups, to get hands on experience using the tools with their classmates, is an ah-ha moment for attendees. They quickly realize that what they’re doing in the classroom is what they’re expected to do back on the job. And not just once or twice, but for the rest of their career.
+−#1 Bestseller: Seeing the Big Picture
Called an MBA in under 180 pages, Seeing the Big Picture simplifies the complexities of business and reinforces the principles and ideas learned in the classroom. A quick and easy read, participants will be reminded how a deep understanding of their company can help build the credibility and career they want. And it can make their work more fulfilling and purpose-driven by highlighting how they influence the success of their team, department, and organization.
Every participant recieves a copy of this bestselling book, and while they’re expected to read it, they’re also shown in class how to use it as a reference guide to help them convincingly communicate their ideas to leaders, improve their team’s performance, and discover new strategies for proving their value.
+−Job Aid: Navigating the Financials
While it is important that individuals understand the basic purpose and formula of financial statements, it is even more important that they understand the key financial metrics that the company uses to measure succcess. The Navigating the Financials tool and activity teaches participants how to quickly (in under 10 minutes) find and calculate the metrics that are critical to your company’s success. We customize this tool for each and every client to reflect the metrics that are important to their CEO.
Graduates are instructed to use this tool quarter-after-quarter and year-after-year when earnings are released (remember the goal is to have this analysis take less than 10 minutes). Overtime, participants will have created a library documenting your company’s financial performance, but more importantly, they’ll start connecting their work to what really matters to the business.
We’re convinced, as are our clients, that a career commitment to this single activity will instill a sense of financial confidence that will be reflected in all aspects of a graduate’s career.
+−Job Aid: Executive Alignment
As a class we’ll use our Executive Alignment tool and activity to analyze your latest letter to shareholders or some other piece of executive communication. Together we’ll look for the telltale signs of what’s driving innovation and competitive advantage, and what executives are seeing on the horizon.
Getting this bird’s eye view of the business will help participant’s link their personal priorities to the company’s priorities. They’ll be more decisive when it comes time to decide what their department, division, or business unit must do and what it must stop doing. They’ll understand, and be able to articulate, why a particular set of priorities will make money and why those priorities are aligned with corporate goals.
And as corporate goals are adjusted, shifted, and changed with a new letter, a new memo, or a new press release participants can return to the Executive Alignment tool throughout their career so that they’ll always have a clear fix on how they can help improve the business.
+−Job Aid: Action Plan
Our classroom experience is not a mere intellectual exercise like many generic games and high costs simulations. Prior to stepping out of the classroom our particiapants start thinking in concrete terms. They’re provided an Action Planning tool to help them answer the inevitable question: What am I going to do to help my company’s money making in the next sixty to ninety days?
And like the Navigating the Financials and Executive Alignment tools, our Action Plan can be reused over and over to help graduates keep their initiatives strategic, focused, and on track.
With nearly 2 hours of short films, our E-Learning program was designed to be a companion to our bestselling book. It provides graduates with a great review of the basics they learned in class.
The program can be made available on your company’s LMS or on the cloud for those who prefer a turnkey solution.
Ultimatly it’s up to graduates to become more valuable and valued, but we’re going to do everything we can – as if it were up to us.
Graduates will return to work speaking the universal language of business. No matter their level in the organization, they’ll have a big picture mentality and be wrestling with the inherent complixity of your business. They’ll also have a renewed appreciation for how money making is valued throughout the organization and by the stock market. They’ll be excited to share their new knowledge and to use their classroom tools on the job. Our follow-up activities are designed to tap into this energy to help ensure there’s a real change in how decisions are made and how business gets done.
+−7-Day, 30-Day, and Quarterly Facilitator Check-Ins
Within 7 days participants will recieve an email from their facilitator to remind them of the commitments they made in class and introduce them to our Acumen in Action follow-through series. On day 30 they’ll do a quick check-in to see how they’re progressing. And every quarter, a week or two before your earnings are released, they’ll remind them to listen in on their earnings calls and use the tools from class to channel their energy toward the right business priorties.
+−Acumen in Action Series
Helping others along the way will add dimensions of experience, knowledge, and insight that will benefit your entire organization. And that’s why we developed our Acumen in Action Series.
Every month for an entire year graduates are emailed a quick (10-15 minute) activity to be shared in a team meeting. Graduates are expected to lead these discussions, even if they’re not the team leader.
The activities are designed to increase information flow and expand not only the graduate’s business acumen, but also his or her colleague’s business acumen. Think of it as your secret weapon in building your organziation’s bench strength.
Before participants are let loose, they’re required to choose an Accountability Partner (a classmate) to whom they can be accountable. They’ll commit to a meeting 30 days out to discuss their progress on their business acumen Action Plans. Together they can help further each other’s knowledge and support efforts to influence results.
The goal of these mentorships is to deepen a graduate’s ability to partner cross-organizationally and more fully understand another’s world within the company – in an effort to further breakdown organizational chimneys.
+−Challenge: Manager Review & Debrief
Graduates will schedule a meeting with their supervisor or boss to review what they learned in the classroom and share their Action Plan – what they’ll be doing in the next sixty to ninety days to improve company performance.
Setting up this discussion need not be complicated or overly formal, a quick lunch conversation, or a brief scheduled meeting is all that’s need to have a conversation with your boss to discuss how you can better achieve meaningful results. We’ll challenge your employees to meet with their manager on a regular basis just to talk about business.
+−Challenge: Teach a Colleague
It was the Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger who said, “By teaching we are learning.” We agree. We commit participants to teach one of the principles they learned in class to a colleague because in the real world businesses are complex and it’s up to leaders with business acumen to provide clarity and direction.
Besides, the more our graduates become known for their insightful business acumen the more valued they’ll become to your business – and you’ll want to send even more people through our courses. It’s a win-win!
I put some of the lessons learned to work the very next day.
Boston Scientific participant
Quarterly Earnings Calls
Our Quarterly Earnings Calls are the ultimate follow up to an instructor-led business acumen course. Every quarter, shortly after your earnings are released, graduates will join their facilitatator on a web conference to break down your company’s most recent earnings announcement using the Navigating the Financials and Executive Alignment tools they recieved in class.
In about an hour, your faciliator will reconnect graduates to concepts they learned in class and share insights into your executive team’s analysis of the business and industry. They’ll review key numbers and look at the business like an investor. And most importantly, we’re not merely disemenating company information – we’re modeling how to listen to future executive releases… quarter-after-quarter and year-after-year.
Next to taking one of our customized courses, there’s no better way to build your business acumen than to participate on one of our Quarterly Earnings Calls. They’re the ultimate follow-up solution that virtually guarantees movement of the needle.