Anticipating and interpreting changes that are taking place in the environment is an important skill that managers need. Information that comes from scanning the environment can be used in making decisions and taking actions. And manager at all levels of an organization need to know how to scan the environment for important information and trends.
You can be more effective at scanning the environment if you use the following suggestions.
- Decide which type of environmental information is important to your work
Perhaps you need to know changes in customers’ needs and desires or perhaps you need to know what your competitors are doing. Once you know the type of information that you’d like to have, you can look at the best ways to get that information.
- Regularly read and monitor pertinent information
There is no scarcity of information to scan, but what you need to do is read those information sources that are pertinent. How do you know information sources are pertinent? They’re pertinent if they provide you with the information that you identified as important.
- Incorporate the information that you get from your environmental scanning into your decisions and actions
Unless you use the information you’re getting, you’re wasting your time getting it. Also, the more that you find you’re using information from environmental scanning, the more likely it is that you’ll want to continue to invest time and other resources into gathering it. You’ll see that this information is important to your being able to manage effectively and efficiently.
- Regularly review your environmental scanning activities
If you find that you’re spending too much time getting non useful information of if you’re not using the pertinent information that you’ve gathered, you need to make some adjustments.
- Encourage your subordinates to be alert to information that is important
Your employees can be your “eyes and ears” as well. Emphasize to them the importance of gathering and sharing information that may affect your work unit’s performance.