Saturday, October 12, 2013

Seeing the forest and the trees

Situational awareness, knowing what is going on around us, requires us to attend to both details and to the big picture.  The only way to attend to the big picture in organizations is by communicating with others.  Awareness of organizational environments requires sharing information across organizational functions and engaging in dialogue with others.
Communication across departments is challenging and usually a common problem in many organizations because each department attends to its own trees instead of minding the organizational forest.  Encouraging open communication helps organizations be attentive and respond timely and appropriately to organizational issues.  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Situational Awareness

The other day I had to shout "heads-up" to somebody about to bump into me because he was texting while walking in a crowd.  Sometimes people lack awareness of what is going on around them and this leads to trouble with even basic functions that should be natural, like walking without bumping into others.
Situational awareness becomes critical when scuba diving because scuba diving is not something that comes natural to humans: you are breathing from a tank strapped on your back and you have to monitor your depth, time, and air.   Because you never scuba dive alone, you also have to know where your dive buddy is, and how she or he is doing.  You are monitoring all this and keeping track of your buddy while also maintaining your buoyancy and keeping in mind how to get back to shore or the boat at the end of the dive. Oftentimes situational awareness is not emphasized in the basic scuba certification courses.  Nevertheless, experience, maturity, and continuing training help people develop situational awareness.   Check out DAN's seminar on situational awareness.    

Saturday, October 5, 2013

There are no doors in the ocean...

A friend and mentor used to say "there are no doors in the ocean." No dives are the same, even though you may have done several dives in the same place, you never know beforehand what you are going to experience.    

This makes every dive exciting, but also means you need to be prepared for every single dive and plan for surprises.  Sometimes surprises can be challenging, such as having to swim through a field of pacific sea nettles.  Nevertheless, other times the surprises are more rewarding, like having a seal hang out and play with you.