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Political Impact: Conducting an External Environmental Scan


Be Proactive, Consistent, and Aware

With the onset of changes to our political front, we know opportunities and challenges are in our forefront. Most leaders have prepared by garnering as much information as possible to determine how the results were going to impact their businesses. As such, the following is intended to serve as a guide.

This process may not be new to you, but when we consider the simplicity of the standard model, it may help alleviate some pressure, thereby offsetting some of the concern some organizational leaders are facing.

Maintaining some formality in the process will behoove you since we are dealing with matters critically important to our business.

  • Frame the problem: no need to reinvent the wheel at this stage. Take advantage and build upon existing data. Keep an eye open for symptoms. Sometimes what we think is a problem is actually a symptom of a deeper rooted problem
  • Gather data: Facts and data help to bridge the gap between what we know and what we need to know. Re-read and review annual reports, best practices, internal reports to help identify key opportunities for investigation. Research competitors – even those from another industry. We can learn a lot from external analysis

Hint: generating credible data, sources, and facts will result in heightened credibility when implementing a new change effort, addressing issues, or embarking on opportunities

  • Design the analysis: drill down the key drivers involved in the situation. Get analytical priorities straight. Triangulate very challenging issues (this is an effective tool for narrowing analytical priorities). Avoid striving for absolute precision at this point. Remember that too many details at this stage could derail thought process and may be irrelevant at this point. Avoid over-analyzing. Don’t ignore intuition. Gut feelings are scientifically proven tool that far too many people ‘brush off’
  • Interpret the results: consider the importance of Pareto’s Principle here. The 80/20 rule applies to a whole lot. Consider it a reality. It’s always data driven. Write it down. Chart it out

Hint: most of the time we cannot fully absorb or resolve a complex problem in one sitting. Not everything is black and white. It is a filtering process. Take advantage of the knowledge and skill of your team.

This won’t solve major change efforts, problems, or opportunities, but it is the first step to helping achieve some clarity – especially with the chaos we see in many communities throughout our nation, of late. That chaos will impact many businesses. Be prepared by being proactive.