When a client reaches out to us to discuss the creation of a Business Acumen leadership development course, they typically begin by stressing that they would like to help their leaders understand “the Big Picture.” As the design process unfolds, we discuss their overarching corporate goals and how the target population impacts those goals. This sets the priorities for the course, considerations such as: how much time to spend on revenue recognition and accounts receivable; whether to include investment analysis; and how closely to examine the competitive performance in key markets.
Having an increased literacy in business acumen concepts helps leaders and individuals alike make sense of the financial world and the vast amount of information and data available to them every day. From stimulus checks, to the paycheck protection program, to a stock market that reaches new records on a weekly basis, the last 18 months has required leaders in all industries to understand and make difficult tradeoffs and investments decisions when it comes to bolstering their company’s financial performance. The last 18 months have also proved to be a fascinating time for individual investors with the rise of cryptocurrencies like Dogecoin and with the events of AMC and GameStop.
At Insight Experience, we believe in the value of using the business simulation methodology to teach business acumen concepts. We sat down with Insight Experience expert facilitator Tim Goodman, who has over 25 years of experience in executive education and management consulting and asked him to share his insights on the benefits of experiential business simulations for participants learning all about financial decision-making processes.
At Insight Experience our goal in business acumen leadership development programs is to increase participants’ fluency in financial terminology and decision-making, rather than turning them into finance or accounting professionals. We use business simulations to highlight key leadership decisions and trade-offs, trace the impact of our participants’ everyday decisions through their own company financial statements, and challenge them to find opportunities for improvement. Their stories during and after the programs inspire us every day. It’s hard to pick favorites, but here today we share a few such success stories from the field.
Insight Experience’s simulation-based learning experiences train corporate leaders in developing business acumen and financial literacy. Without fail, I am asked by one of my students at the close of sessions how they can continue to build their business acumen skills and knowledge. For this there is no shortage of resources. One just needs an abundance of curiosity. Here are some of the best resources available to build those business acumen muscles.
Publicly traded companies are required by law to publish financial reports – the Income Statement, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement. They must be provided to the public on a quarterly and annual basis. This requirement enables shareholders and prospective investors to monitor companies and assess their investment-worthiness. While the information provided in publicly available financial reports contains details that might intimidate a novice reader, they are, in fact, a summary of a company’s performance. To truly monitor financial performance, a company will maintain a second set of reports – with much greater detail – that are used internally to truly understand how it’s doing.