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What is situational awareness (SA)?

"Situational awareness or situation awareness (SA) is the perception of environmental elements and events with respect to time or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status after some variable has changed, such as time, or some other variable, such as a predetermined event." With it's origins in the military the concept Situational Awareness is becoming a call to action for entrepreneurs and leadership teams to preempt and react to internal and external company activities.

In business, Situational awareness is being aware of what is happening around you in terms of where your business is ,where is it supposed to be, and whether anyone or anything around it is a threat to its current health and whether you have hit "the ceiling".

Our knowledge, experience and education enables us to understand what is going on around our business and helps us to determine if it is on track. This means that everyone's situational awareness with in the company is individual and potentially different. We use our situational awareness to make decisions and instruct others. Our situational awareness is only as accurate as our own perception or reading of the company situation, so what we think is happening may not accurately reflect reality. How we read a situation can be influenced by many things such as the type and accuracy of information we have been given, our own experience and distractions in the company.

Why should you improve it?

It is important that you know how many problems you face and how serious they are. The temporary loss or lack of situational awareness is a factor in many companies not performing. Often there is so much ‘going on’ in your working environment, or you become so absorbed in your own thoughts, that you fail to spot those things that could pose a serious threat to your company.

How can I improve it?

Start by developing oversight in just two key aspects of your company (People and Data). These two areas will give you transparency across the organisation helping you to accurately steer your business and keep it on track, make accurate and timely decisions and importantly, keep the whole team on the same page and moving in the same direction.

Right People - Right Seat: Sure, you’ve heard “get the right people in the right seats”. But many business leaders don’t know what that actually means. Everybody knows the mantra, but most don’t know how to make it happen. The truth is, there’s a simple process for making sure you hire the right people on your bus and jettison the wrong ones at the next stop.

Scorecard: Checking up on the progress your company is making or isn’t making is a balancing act. If you check too often you can easily be accused of micromanaging your people. If you don’t check often enough, a serious problem can go undetected and keep you from achieving desired results. Make sure that you have 5 to 15 numbers that are the most important activity-based numbers that predict future results. If you're not sure how to get to an activity-based number, just simply start with one of the future results you're looking for and work it backwards by asking what the step is that occurs just before this result.

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