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Situational awareness in business takes many forms. In its simplest form, it is the act of understanding what is happening around you and being prepared to take the action that is needed to deliver a strong performance.
This can be as simple as maintaining awareness of your operating environment. One example of this is a waitress in a fast food franchise being cognizant of her colleague operating a hot coffee machine alongside her to avoid an accident in which one or both could be injured by hot liquid.
It can also go much deeper into the very fabric of what makes a business successful. It is the understanding and communication of shared goals, understanding how the business fits into its wider industry sector, how it is performing when compared to other businesses of a similar type and size, and using this information proactively to enact change that will deliver effective results.
When a business and all of its people use situational awareness effectively, they become a powerful driver for change, making better decisions sooner, influencing situations to their advantage, and gaining a competitive edge.
How to improve your situational awareness
1. Make situational awareness a core business value.
Ensure that franchisees are focused on running their businesses to the best of their ability and share information about competitors to help them drive improvements. Franchisees should likewise stress the importance of situational awareness for safety in the workplace, encouraging staff to remain alert to threats and providing any necessary training to improve performance.
2. Incorporate situational awareness into leadership meetings.
Franchisors should meet regularly with their leadership teams and advisors. As part of these meetings, they should consider their corporate strategy, its current levels of effectiveness and any gaps that have been identified, and they must agree to any changes that are necessary to their business tactics to resolve them.
3. Seek feedback and analyze results.
Franchisors should seek feedback from their franchisees to ensure that they completely understand the corporate vision of the business, its intended trajectory and their role in achieving it. Only by clarifying that all branches of the business are on the same page can progress be made. Should any deficiencies in knowledge, understanding or application be identified, they can then be targeted for resolution.
4. Regularly assess the competitor landscape.
Franchisors who want to enact business growth need to understand what their competitors are doing. They must become experts not only on their own business but also on the wider industry. They should assess gaps in the market and determine ways in which their business can fill them.
By increasing your situational awareness, your business will thrive.