Situational Awareness and Impact

Online and InStore Conversation
A couple of things happened to me yesterday after I posted about a research study on the combination of online and in-store as being key to successful retail strategy.

The response to my tweet with a link to the post containing the title of the topic was the first one. I do not know if the remark came after reading the post or just the title (often the latter is the case).

Simon Wardley, who typically writes on physical and digital/business and technology provided an example of online/in-store combination that did not work. You can see the exchange above.

Sound strategy needs a strong execution to work, I believe what I said. And that means contextual and situational awareness in terms of the choices the firm makes in the moment and over time.

As we discussed here a few days ago (no, big data should not replace thinking), strategy provides forward momentum and little direction. Quoting from Peter directly: the point is that to be able to recognise the challenge you need to be able to process what “it” is, where it’s going, and how to steer it.

So I do like the term Simon used — inertia — in conjunction with poor situational awareness as he responded to his very question of what happened to Blockbuster, a company that theoretically had the combination sorted out. With change a constant, advantage is created by responding to the challenge appropriately.

Something else happened as I was thinking about the example Simon offered. Steven Pressfield's Wednesday post hit my inbox. The topic: advanced form of resistance and some ideas of why that would be happening.

I am fairly attuned to convergence and I've experienced quite a bit of it in my life with concentration in the last couple of years.

Pressfield calls the phenomenon resistance, Simon talked about inertia, it feels like the same kind of thing that blinds us, scares us into submission to "the way we do things here" in corporate environments and keeps us from listening and being present to gain an understanding what “it” is, where it’s going, and how to steer it.

One of the symptoms at a personal level is sudden self-doub — we talk ourselves out of going through with a project or an idea. Where serendipity pulls us into starting, once we realize we are about to create risk (along with value), we pull back and settle for anxiety management.

A note on value — today we equate it to cash, however there is all kinds of value we miss when we do that.

The antidote to falling into anxiety management, inertia as Simon called it, is to focus on the work task and design to the way things are (vs. used to be, should be, might be, etc.) — what matters now, what change is needed, what we do first, second, third, and so on.

My love of the work is why I keep Rilke's quote handy, “Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.”



Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effects on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.