Situational Awareness

Situational Awareness

Recently I was walking through the airport, I was in a hurry, of course, and I was running late for my flight.  I had my backpack on, my left hand pulling my carry on, and my phone in the right hand.  For productivity purposes I was walking, reading, responding to emails, and then BOOM! – someone walked right into me.  OK maybe I walked into them, I’m not certain.  Thankfully we both were ok, courteous, and we apologized simultaneously.  Both of us were not paying attention, we had weak peripheral vision, and very poor Situational Awareness.  My lesson was learned. I am not going to be using my phone in any way while walking anywhere any more.  Just like I don’t touch my phone at all while driving my car.  Ok maybe I take a quick glance at my Waze App, but I should stop doing that too.  It’s better to take a wrong turn and get lost than to get into an accident.  Right?  I mean come on, I am in the business of risk mitigation.

In today’s world, we always must be cognizant of Situational Awareness.  Situational Awareness or situation awareness (SA) is the perception of environmental elements and events with respect to time or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status after some variable has changed.  SA is also a field of study concerned with understanding the environment critical to decision-makers in complex, dynamic areas from aviation, air traffic control, military, police, and firefighting.  Heck it’s incorporated into our Incident Management component and maps within BC in the Cloud.  Situational awareness also covers the more ordinary but nevertheless complex tasks such as driving a car, riding a bike, sports, or just walking through the airport.  Someone smart once said ‘Common Sense is not so Common’.  Some say that quote came from Voltaire, some say it was Mark Twain AKA Samuel Clemens.  Anyways, it is such a true statement, and that’s probably a huge reason why we all have jobs in this industry.

It’s important to be aware of many things in life.  Thinking more broadly and being open minded about things like culture, Diversity, the MeToo movement, LGBTQ, Human Rights, and just basic common human courtesy.

Situational Awareness applies to everything.  Such as our day-to-day interactions, our interpersonal skills, and public speaking.   It’s important to know your audience before you open your mouth and say something.  Whether it’s a one-on-one conversation, or you’re speaking to large group of people, situational awareness can keep you out of trouble.  Over my career and just surviving in life, I have learned some hard lessons along the way and said many things that I would like to take back.  In the future I plan to pay more attention to situational awareness by thinking before speaking.

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. (I can’t take credit for that quote either). Try to be aware in every situation and be careful out there.