See Sooner, Act Faster – Do You Need To?

See Sooner, Act Faster

Capture more Valuable Opportunities and Suffer fewer Damaging Incidents

We discussed in our previous post how to handle uncertainties when teams creating goals and plans find themselves stalled by “It depends…” roadblocks. We reviewed POPPA, one of the new methods derived from our research into 330 organizational initiatives.

But where are these uncertainties we are seeing more and more leadership teams having to process, coming from?


In 1990, the big-brand management consulting firm for whom I worked, and our peers, used a slide titled “The Rate of Change Is Accelerating.” It showed how change was occurring at a faster rate, signified by shorter windows between change drivers. Today, former colleagues and current management consultants I talk to feel we are experiencing the craziness that 1990 graph projected for 2020.

Leadership teams are dealing with opportunities flashing on and off ever more fleetingly, and threats flying in at higher speeds, doing greater damage on impact. 1990-era methods of competitive intelligence and firefighting management are inadequate in today’s highly networked, socially transparent, flatter organizations.


If you experience this turbulence, what do you do about it?

Signals are core to the answer.

Do you only see one when it is blinking brightly, or are you able to spot a dim glow that could quickly grow into something important? Are you proactively spotting them coming over the horizon or reacting to hearing about them secondhand as they explode close by?

It is one thing to understand conceptionally the notion of a ‘weak signal,’ it is another to know how to catch and act on one. Remember the advice, “I have a great opportunity for you, you need to buy this stock!”, means you are coming to the party too late. And the ‘problem’ equivalent, “Well that escalated quickly!” Two things not heard in vigilant organizations.

Modern Methods

Wharton professors George S. Day and Paul J. H. Schoemaker, masters of strategic thinking, literally wrote the books on scenario planning with works such as Peripheral Vision. This month they released their new collaboration, See Sooner, Act Faster.

See Sooner, Act Faster is for leaders (and managers who want to be leaders) who need to fulfill a role not listed on their job description but one against which they are judged every day; foresight and vigilance. If you are a consultant hired for your subject matter expertise, it is for you, too.

I had the honor of reviewing an early manuscript. Assembled over the last two years, Day and Schoemaker’s notion of See Sooner, Act Faster is perfectly timed, with material relevant to today’s operating environments. 

Raising Your Game

If you come away realizing this is an aspect of your leadership skill and organizational capability that can improve, contact us about the two complementary templates developed in concert with the book’s release:

  1. Vigilance Assessment
    Appendix A provides a quiz you can take with colleagues to assess your organization’s current vigilance situation. SchellingPoint’s Vigilance Assessment template is a version you can use to include any number of persons digitally. Using the AOT software, it provides detailed alignment and sentiment analysis as part of automated results reporting by JOE, AOT’s AI technology. (If you are a consultant, build this into your diagnostics and strategy service offerings.)

  2. Vigilance Improvement Strategy
    This goes beyond an assessment survey into a full-scale template enabling your leadership team and key stakeholders to rapidly assemble an optimal, viable, endorsed vigilance system upgrade. The pre-defined content ensures teams have a complete conversation and converge rapidly on the right actions. As Day and Schoemaker point out, the ROI (in terms of revenue capture and cost avoidance) can be massive, but success relies on coordinated action. (If you are a consultant, this can be white-labeled).

These are two new additions to SchellingPoint’s library of over 110 topic templates whose pre-defined content ensure leaders, managers and consultants are covering topics completely and creating plans that can work.

I hope you enjoy the book. Who wouldn’t want to See Sooner, Act Faster?

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