Create success through situational awareness

Beyond Mediocrity: Situational Awareness

Beyond Mediocrity – Situational Awareness for High Performers

Situational Awareness is the difference between mediocre leaders and teams and high performers!

A lack of situational awareness (SA) may explain why your business is suffering under the gap between high expectations and a lack of results.


The Crux of Situational Awareness 

Teaching and developing situational awareness (SA) is core to our mission at Afterburner! We know that SA is the eyes and ears of your mission and that without it, your success and safety are jeopardised.

The crux of SA is knowing what is going on around you! It considers what is going on around you now, as well as what is ahead of you – being aware of both is imperative for success!

Without situational awareness, your team and your leaders are at risk of being ‘tumbleweed’, blowing in the wind with a lack of direction, cohesion, results, and success.


Look Up and You’ll Find It

There are many examples of ordinary people strengthening and developing their SA to achieve extraordinary results!

Take First Responders for an example. First Responders must have sharp situational awareness to ensure they understand their environment and perceive current and potential threats, especially with lives on the line!

What about security? Especially in a time of heightened political tension! Their role involves the continued development of technology now, to fight the threats of the future! That is situational awareness.

Ever heard of the saying, don’t bring a knife to a gunfight? SA is exactly that! Knowing your resources and equipping yourself appropriately when the fight calls.


Situational Awareness at the Speed of Sound

High Performers and Situational Awareness


For success to occur, we need the key ingredients of SA, planning, briefing, execution, and debriefing.  

To see these core elements at work, let’s look at the Fighter Pilot – a classic example of a High Performer.

Planning is critical to maximised SA. A fighter pilot is simultaneously flying a jet at 700 miles per hour, pulling 9 G, flying in formation, working a radar, listening, and making calls, monitoring displays, and navigation systems. In combat, the workload is increased again! There is no room for mistakes, surprises, or a lack of planning!

They must not plan just for a successful mission, but for every threat, risk, or surprise that could happen.

The time for thinking and planning is on the ground!

 Briefing is the opportunity to create synthesis and cohesion in the team. It is here that you brief the plan. The brief allows everyone to be on the same page, have the same goals, and be aware of the same threats.

Execution is the experience of putting action to the concepts within the brief. It is here that every goal, threat, or surprise comes to life, and it is here that SA is critical to success. Planning and briefing create clarity for the Pilot so that when the unexpected arises, they have the correct tools and mental space to create a solution.

After every mission, fighter pilots gather to debrief, an opportunity to reflect, identify personal errors and commit to fixing them. Effective debriefing can be achieved by asking:

  1. What is the gap between the current result and the planned result?
  2. Why is there a gap?
  3. How can I close the gap and achieve the planned result?


Situational Awareness – Becoming a High Performer

Situational awareness is not just the key to success in the Military world, it is the key to any business or company creating high performers. By emphasising the ingredients of SA, you can transform your leaders and go from mediocre businesspeople to goal-smashing, high performers!


Situational Awareness in business looks like 

Planning - Situational Awareness


Planning for the future. Creating collective goals, long and short-term, and targets that give purpose to the whole team. Planning ensures that individuals in the team know their role! Planning also invites forward-thinking to avoid crises that could be largely damaging to the company.

Briefing in business means team meetings to realign perspectives and goals. Allowing members to voice concerns, discuss issues and formulate steps to go forward and succeed. It is also briefing on the situational awareness required to create success in the mission. It encourages synthesis within the group, to create a healthy high performing ecosystem, not a hierarchy.

In high-performing business teams, execution is applying the knowledge gained in the planning and briefing stages of the mission and creating a reality of them. SA is critical in this stage as issues or surprises arise, the team can actively create solutions with clarity!

Debriefing in business means both team and individual performance reviews that discuss strengths and weaknesses and creating solutions to bridge the gap between underwhelming results and the planned success.


Will You Choose to Create High Performers?

 After looking at SA in action and how it goes to work in business, it is up to you now to decide. Will you choose to strengthen SA in your team and create high performers? Or are you willing to settle for mediocrity?

Brief the plan. Your Mission is the brief. Debrief against the plan. These are your steps to increase SA and create high-performing teams in your business!


Situational Awareness and High Performers References –

CoolFire Core. (2019). Seven examples of situational awareness in action. CoolFire Core.

Baldoni, J. (2007). Situational awareness 101. CIO.

Rapid. (2020). 5 Practical ways to improve your situational awareness. Rapid.

SHRM. (n.d.). Developing and sustaining high performing teams. SHRM.

Gleeson, B. (2019). 15 Characteristics of high performing teams. Forbes.


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