The “Aha!” Moments in Business Acumen Training

Posted by Paradigm Learning on April 16, 2015

Business acumen is fundamental to business alignment. The stronger business acumen your leaders, managers, employees, and sales teams have, the better. Let’s take a moment to put it into perspective for you.

Consider Southwest Airlines, which was founded in 1971. With 33 years of straight profitability, the airline is widely recognized for the motivational culture it creates for employees and its extraordinary dedication to customer service.

Southwest continues to grow while the industry suffers and many airlines have merged or declared bankruptcy. Southwest buys the same planes and jet fuel as other airlines, and pays its employees wages and benefits. What’s the difference?

Unlike some of its competitors, Southwest’s management team involves employees in the company’s financial results, explaining what the numbers mean and, more importantly, helping to link everyone’s decisions and actions to the bottom line. The airline has an open culture: one of inclusion at all levels, and employees understand their roles in providing great service and keeping costs in line.

Certainly there are other factors contributing to the success of Southwest, but it’s difficult to ignore the positive impact of an approach that develops the business acumen of all employees and managers so they can contribute to the airline’s success.

Now we must ask: “Have you developed the business acumen in your organization? Or is there room to enhance this skill for your individuals and teams?”

Managers and employees in many organizations today haven’t been educated about the big picture of their businesses. They have a narrow focus on their own departments and job functions and aren’t able to make the link between their actions and the company’s success.

Take this “Aha” example from a business acumen simulation:

A warehouse employee dropped several cases of light bulbs. The bulbs shattered, and so did the opportunity to make a $25 profit.

The first reaction from the class was, “So what’s $25 to us?” But after calculating the company’s net income at just over 1 percent, they realized that the store would have to sell $2,500 in new merchandise to make up for the lost profit on the shattered bulbs!

Do you think the learners went back on-the-job and ensured each light bulb’s safety? OF COURSE THEY DID!

In short, the bottom line impacts everyone and everyone impacts the bottom line. Business Acumen training is development that can’t afford to wait. To read more on the importance of business acumen, download our whitepaper.

Topics: Business Simulations, Business Acumen