The sustainability and responsiveness of a business strategy has a strong correlation to the quality of environmental scanning. Factual and academic details on the process of environmental scanning are discussed in my previous post “Drawing strategic value from environmental scanning and analysis”
Why the resistance to scanning?
When a new strategy is being developed it has neither shape nor form. As such the team members soon get fatigued collecting information and data in the absence a definite objective. People may start working at cross-purpose. The team is under pressure and inter-personal conflicts and low morale prevails. People get impatient more when the strategy is to implemented soon after.
Leadership and vision revisited
(Picture courtesy Tundra swans from tundra swanparadise.com)
It is here that the CEO’s or project leader’s strategic leadership come into play. He drives and leads the scanning effort with enthusiasm and vigor. A tempo of excitement must be created so that the team interest remains high. A true vision inspires and energizes the team and provides a direction to the scanning effort. It is the shared vision that generates synergy.
Analyze the data
Scanning by itself may not be enough to make sense. The information has to be analyzed in the context of the strategic objectives which may still be in the nascent stages. Good indexing and referencing is important to draw value out of the vast data. Use of statistical techniques is useful to enhance the value of sample surveys. The way to avoid information overload is by canalizing the scanning effort towards the critical success factors (CSFs). This was discussed in the previous post.
Use strategic models and creative processes
Various tools such as PEST analysis, Porters Five Forces model, and value chain analysis may be used for analysis. Brain storm to generate ideas – even outlandish ones must be welcomed. Cross fertilization of ideas will then enable creation of great strategies that are unique and have distinctive competitive advantage.
This article highlights the importance of a vision, leadership and team spirit in the environmental scanning process. The scanning capabilities must be imaginatively structured into the organization so that the strategy remains dynamic and responsive to the changes in the environment.
Your comments and questions are always welcome!