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Situational awareness

by Anthea Ayebaze | Sep 28, 2016

I just returned from a trip to New York City and was reminded when walking to dinner near Times Square that I wasn’t in North Manchester anymore.

In North Manchester, beyond watching for occasional buckling in the sidewalk, I can walk at my own pace and be lost in thought. In New York, I had eyes and ears open constantly. I paid close attention to how fast or slow those around me were walking and tried to get a jump at the crosswalk if no traffic was coming. I looked for opportunities to sweep around those in front of me while watching for those waiting to sweep around me from behind.

If higher education was ever like taking a walk in North Manchester (and I doubt it was), it is no longer. Thriving in today’s marketplace requires a greater degree of situational awareness – knowing what is going on around us – than ever before. We need to go about our business with eyes and ears wide open. We need to know where we are going and why we are heading there – our mission and strategic plan guide us – but we need to be nimble and agile on the way. We don’t want to be swept along by the crowd, but need to move forward at a pace and with an intentionality that keep us from being knocked down or bumped aside.