The phrase “situational awareness” does not roll of the tongue. Indeed, it might sound a bit abstract and cumbersome. And yet, situational awareness is a critical concept in mastering strategic thinking.
It is the art of understanding where you are in light of who you are. You might think of it this way (from Bits and Pieces)
The process of strategy is inherently iterative. You start by roughly understanding your purpose including your scope, how you interact with others and your users. You then expand into situational awareness by understanding your users’ needs, your value chains and their context (i.e. a map of the environment). You then apply doctrine including tactical approaches such as removing duplication, bias, improving flow and using appropriate methods. You learn about the environment, your competitors, the common repeatable economic patterns and forms of gameplay. You structure yourself around this including your capabilities.
You then set a direction through a mixture of anticipation and scenario planning and through acting you refine your purpose, your situational awareness, your use of doctrine and your learning. You constantly repeat this process of observing (purpose, situational awareness), orientating around the landscape (doctrine), decision (strategic play) and action.
You don’t need to d o this if your competitors are not. But if they are and you are not, well, watch out!