How do organizations benefit from business acumen training?

Business acumen goes beyond explaining the line items on a P&L and challenges people to think like a business owner.

Organizations that prioritize business acumen provide a clearer vision and an overall context within which employees can work, while creating an environment that is more likely to break down internal barriers.

There is less waste and less ambivalence. There is increased innovation. Employees are more engaged, they understand their role and its impact on business results, and they are more likely to believe that their efforts really matter. They are more likely to think like a business owner.


of test takers didn't recognize the definition of "free cash flow"

of U.S. managers were unable to distinguish profit from cash

of those surveyed thought discounts had no impact on gross margin

What Makes a Business Acumen Simulation Powerful?

Successful organizations rely on their employees, managers, and sales directors to make smart day-to-day decisions by thinking like business owners. A business acumen simulation suitable for a variety of industry settings and geared toward specific audiences (Manufacturing, Services, Health Care, Sales), Zodiak®: The Game of Business Finance and Strategy challenges learners with the realities of business ownership and empowers them to make smart, data-driven decisions back on the job.

Oxy Oil & Gas
Tyson Foods, Inc.
FMC Corp
Tech Data

Zodiak Versions

All Industries — Manufacturing, consumer products, telecommunications, energy, and other similar organizations face tough decisions every day about processes, people, products, finances, and customers. How their leaders, managers, sales teams, and employees address these issues through a lens of business acumen is critical.
Service Organizations — Banks, insurance companies, consulting firms, and other service organizations face unique challenges, including how to manage multiple products and services, attract and retain talent, increase revenue, and contain costs. This is a balancing act made more sustainable with strong business acumen skills.
Healthcare — Health care organizations must be both disciplined and strategic in their vision for the future as they navigate a whirlwind of issues including health care reform, margin erosion, talent recruitment, and more. Success requires a workforce with strong business acumen.

Each version of Zodiak can be adapted to empower Sales Professionals with business acumen skills. Successful sales personnel require insights into how their customers make money and face industry challenges, so they can successfully address pain points with their organizations’ solutions.

“After completing Zodiak, our sales team is more comfortable having business conversations with senior leaders about the business.”

— Sales manager

“After completing Zodiak, our sales team is more comfortable having business conversations with senior leaders about the business.”

— Sales manager


Zodiak is a fast-paced, classroom-based simulation designed to improve the business acumen and financial literacy of managers, employees, and sales professionals. Zodiak allows learners to experience the financial and strategic determinants of organizational success. Through discovery learning, participants experience how their own actions contribute to the organization’s top and bottom lines.

What is the Experience?

What is the Experience?

Learners are immersed in a storyline that introduces business acumen concepts in a hands-on, visual setting (tailored to multiple learning styles). As small teams of learners become new owners of the struggling Zodiak company, they take out loans, attract investors, purchase equipment and materials, invest in product development and innovation, and deliver products and services to customers.

By understanding the big picture of how business works and how organizations make money, participants begin to see how their actions affect their organization’s bottom line. Relevant company information is woven throughout the Zodiak experience, resulting in a rich experience that leaves participants accountable and motivated to make a positive impact when they return to their jobs.

Discover best practices for your team
in our latest business acumen eGuide.

Experience the power of Zodiak in this video.

What are the Learning Outcomes?

Zodiak introduces basic business concepts in an accessible, hands-on, team-based, collaborative format that is conducive for all types of adult learners. With customization, the intensity and depth of the financial metric exploration can be dialed up or down.

After completing Zodiak, participants will:

  • Leverage their business acumen knowledge in their interactions with teams, stakeholders and customers
  • Use relevant financial data and analysis in day-to-day decision making
  • Demonstrate personal understanding of company terms, concepts, and goals
  • Align personal and department goals with the organization’s financial objectives and strategies
  • Use financial terminology and concepts in discussions with others, including team members
  • Ask informed questions about financial and strategic issues when taking action on the job
  • Take personal action to impact targeted financial, strategic, operational, and/or customer objectives


Zodiak has been a successful business acumen training solution for over twenty-five years, not just because it’s lively and engaging, but because it uses real-life situations that participants can apply to their own work. Throughout the simulation, client-specific exercises and discussions are integrated to reinforce the connection between the simulation and participants’ business settings. These activities allow learners to make insightful connections to their company, their departments and their industries.



Our facilitators are business acumen experts. Before each session, they research the organization and industry, read the annual report, conduct a preparation pre-call with a client contact, and bring years of business acumen expertise to their session. When the session includes customized client content, the facilitator is a seamless part of our customization team.

For large rollouts, our master Zodiak facilitators can train and coach internal client trainers to deliver Zodiak. To find out which option is best for your organization, give us a call.

“I’ve always thought that if our managers knew as much as I do about how we make money, they would make better decisions. But how do I transfer that knowledge from my head into theirs? That’s basically what Zodiak did.”

— Corporate CFO

“I’ve always thought that if our managers knew as much as I do about how we make money, they would make better decisions. But how do I transfer that knowledge from my head into theirs? That’s basically what Zodiak did.”

— Corporate CFO

Zodiak is Great For:

MANAGERSBusiness acumen is a critical competency for managers. It links directly to business success and the skill to align departmental and personal actions to financial and strategic objectives.

EMPLOYEES — Every day, the actions, decisions, and attitudes of employees impact organizational success. With increased business acumen and an attitude of engagement, they’ll understand how they fit into the big picture and contribute to organizational success.

SALES PROFESSIONALS — To build the foundation for long-term customer partnerships, sales professionals must effectively speak the language of their customers’ businesses. Honed business acumen increases skills – and results – in consultative selling.


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