Wherever you look to find out what skills are most in demand, at the top is the list of likely suspects that stays largely the same year from year. Communication, leadership, collaboration, and problem solving are just a few that you are likely to see. What is often missing is situational awareness – being cognizant of what is happening around you, where you should be, and what you should be doing.

Situational awareness was first viewed as an important skill by the military. It was used by fighter pilots to assess flying conditions, formulate responses to potential threats, and map out future courses of action. It later became a standard tool in the area of health and safety.

Within a business organization, being situationally aware can help you determine what you should be doing, how it is going to be received, and what sort of follow up will be required in order to ensure you have made an impact. It is about creating alignment between your professional goals and those of your employer. It is about succeeding within existing constraints and eventually charting a course to a new future.