Business Acumen | Learn About Business Simulations and Strategic Acceleration

Repost: Infographic: 5 Tips To Teaching Business Acumen

As always, we have been slammed with Springtime projects. So, I'm doing a repost. I know, this is sort of a copout. But, this has been our most popular post (by far). So, I thought it was timely for a repost. Here you go!

After months of programing, I decided to do something on the more creative side. We've been getting a lot of questions about how to effectively teach business acumen. This has become an exceptionally popular topic. This is mostly due to the stock market doing so well in 2017. The swelling has led to an acceleration of retirement amongst current leaders. This is putting pressure on companies to accelerate leadership development. A huge part of leadership development is company specific business acumen. From the outside, it looks as if this is what is causing the increased interest.

Thus, I created an infographic (yes, I did the artwork so be forgiving. After all, I'm more of a strategist and technologist than artist). Hope this helps.

Click the image below to download the full infographic.


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Most Popular Articles of 2017

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Happy 2018! The second half of 2017 was completely unmanageably busy. We don't usually like to keep a pace like this but once in a while it happens. Thus, the posts have been very sporadic here and non-existent at BillHall.Me. My apologies about that. But, I had a request the other day to post the top 5 most popular articles I recently wrote. So, here they are in an easy to access location.

The Most Popular Articles Written in 2017


- Using Simulations to Development Millennial Leaders: CLO Magazine 2016
- The Futility of the 80 Hour Work Week: Entrepreneur Magazine 2017
- High-Tech Startups Need to Ditch the 'Engineers Rule'‚Äč Mentality: Entrepreneur Magazine 2017
- Can You Speak My Language: Huffington Post 2016
- 4 Steps to Build Strategically Critical Leadership-Development Programs: Entrepreneur 2017

These are just a handful. You can find more here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wphall/detail/recent-activity/posts/ I've slowed my writing a bit which is a bummer. Will pick it back up once I find a consistent home to write for. Will post the results here. Hope these help for now!

Cheers to 2018 and have a great year!

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Management Knowledge Transfer: Hands-On

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I just returned from the ATD international conference. It seems like ATD is stuck somewhere around 2008. Very little has changed and there was definitely frustration from other attendees as well. This year felt especially vendor-first. The presentations lacked anything tangible and once again just set the stage for future purchases. Finally, the keynotes didn't seem exceptionally relevant. But, that's just me and I hope others found it was useful.

Talking with many other attendees, a very clear concern came across: Management knowledge transfer. Without any coaxing, over 10 people brought this up as a huge concern. In most instances, it was the #1 concern. There was very little talk about this from the presentations I attended. Talking with a couple CLOs, we talked about the importance of this topic especially in tandem with trying to drive the business forward in various new directions. Talking with CLOs about this almost made them pass out from the overwhelming tasks in front of them. This led to discussions of creating hands-on training where soon-to-be retiring executives are matched with 4 other managers for a day or two of training. They loved the idea. Let's look at this in more detail…

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Entrepreneur Article: You've Had the Annual Strategy Development Meeting. Now What?

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By Bill Hall: Most executives know the drill. Fourth quarter rolls around, and it’s time for a strategic-planning session once again. This is a time-consuming process in which business leaders create exhaustive (and exhausting) slide decks outlining the strategy for the following year.

The results are usually a couple of days of presentations, discussions and analysis at an offsite location (or maybe in a meeting room). Managers often arrive at the meeting energized, enthusiastic and motivated to drive results into the next year. But most of us know that the energy fizzles, and most things drift back towards business as usual. Why does this happen?

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Corporate Stategy and Training & Development- Driving Change

Corporate Strategy and Training & Development

With a new year can often come a renewed sense of changing and/or implementing a new corporate strategy. The group of people that drive this corporate strategy often know the entire enterprise's business landscape better than anyone. It is here where the problem with getting the strategy off the ground resides. As a business strategist, we fail to understand that most managers don't know the landscape as well. This is where the frustration comes from: The managers within the enterprise are unable to drive the strategic change they are being asked to drive. This is simply because they don't have the knowledge necessary to feel confident in the change. But, the good news is that there are ways to alleviate this fundamental problem.

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5 Steps to Creating Business Acumen Training for Today's Learner

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With the aging boomers and the lack of experience of the current middle managers, companies are scrambling to build the corporate talent bench. A large part of building this bench is effective business acumen. I'm not talking about the generic, theoretical business acumen traditionally taught in colleges. I'm talking about the real sticky stuff. The 'finance meets people meets marketing meets operations, meets IT, meets leadership, meets corporate strategy meets the impact on the bottom line performance' type of business acumen. The real stuff leaders used to learn over the course of many years. The real-deal business acumen.

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Business Acumen Training Gamification - Engaging and Educational

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When most people think of business acumen training, they think, "Ugh, paper, slides, and BORING!" Ok, I'll admit, business acumen is not the most exciting topic to learn about. But the method in which you can learn it can be exceptionally engaging and even more educational. Think about the idea of no reading, no more than 15 PPT slides, and all hands-on. Doesn't sound so bad, does it? Better yet, imagine getting your hands-on being able to play with your company as a game while learning business acumen. Even more exciting, right? This is basically Business Acumen Gamification and it's amazingly engaging, educational, and strategic. Let's take a look at what this looks like:

Business Acumen Training Gamification



First, let's define gamification. According to Wikipedia, Gamification is: …the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts (source: Wikipedia.org). This tells us a little, but let's just think of Gamficiation as turning something boring into a game. Much easier. Now, let's just combine what we're talking about (business acumen training), and we're talking about making a business acumen training game.

Second, let's now take your company and add it to the game. I'm talking about your industry, culture, products, etc. Bringing this element of realism makes it more interesting for you and applicable for your company. Now that we have these two elements, lets look how it behaves:

In a business acumen training session we teach, participants are divided into teams. The teams then compete against each other in how effectively they can obtain profitability: Profits (at it's most simple level). Teams must control R&D, marketing, operations, people development, IT, etc.. Any decision they make has an impact on the business. This is basically a real-time business war games. Teams compete in real time business simulations that gamify the boring process of traditional business acumen training. This is training for this generation: Real, Engaging, and Applicable.

In summary, business acumen training gamification makes leadership, management, or even individual contributor corporate training exciting, applicable and incredibly valuable. Have a look soon. You'll love it!

How To Succeed Using Business Simulations: Focus!

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How do you ensure success when using business simulations? The single greatest way to ensure success if to focus. Like almost anything today, there is opportunity for more, and more, and more. Business simulations are no exception to this trend. As a training and development manager, business manager, or head or HR, you'll find a strong urge to add more and more to your training simulation. Just remember: Focus!

Using a business simulation for leadership development, business acumen, or any other specific training program is great. Like other tools for learning, you need to make certain the solution is grounded in a solid foundation. Here are some tips to attain the correct focus when using sims and games for learning:

Three Simple Tips That Create Focus:


1. Write down the three reasons you want to use a business simulation- Make certain these reasons are very clear and detailed. A reason such as, "Because it will be engaging" is probably a little weak. Instead, how about, "Challenge learning participants to apply the training content in a level slightly above their current capability." Think hard about the details.
2. Write down and get buy in on the three measurable goals of your training program- This is important! Having very clearly and agreed upon goals of your training program will help create grounded focus for your business training simulation. Having these written down will decrease your chance of scope creep.
3. Keep the program goals and reasons in sight at all times- Keeping the goals and reasons for using a business simulation will ensure focus. If you create these and then put them away in a folder, scope creep is almost guaranteed.

Using a simulation for corporate development is a great way to reinforce your training content. Sims can also act a little like candy: Once you get a taste of it, you're going to want more. The single biggest reason programs fail is size. Once a simulation becomes too large, it falls under it's own weight. The trick to keeping a 'skinny' sim is focus. Just make sure the sim does not do anything beyond your focus and you'll be fine.