Improve Your Ability to Anticipate Crises

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Most leaders, even highly skilled ones, aren’t great at detecting ambiguous threats on the periphery of their business. But to be successful, you need to pick up weak signals from both inside and outside the organization. To get better at this critical skill, talk to your customers, suppliers, and other partners to understand their challenges. Conduct market research and business simulations to understand competitors’ perspectives, gauge their likely reactions to new initiatives or products, and predict potential disruptive offerings. Look at a fast-growing rival and examine any actions it takes that puzzle you. List customers you have lost recently and try to figure out why. Attend conferences and events in other industries or functions. All of this will give you the information you need to sense opportunities and potential crises.

Adapted from “Strategic Leadership: The Essential Skills” by Paul J.H. Schoemaker, Steve Krupp, and Samantha Howland.

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