Becoming A Vigilant Organization

Demonstrating Leadership Commitment to Vigilance

Created in partnership with: Paul J.H. SchoemakerGeorge S. Day

What You Will Learn

  • Discover why vigilant organizations outperform their competitors
  • Understand why the convergence of two or more digital technologies has a unique and significant impact on industries
  • Recognize the essentiality of senior leader commitment in successfully creating a vigilant organization

What You Will Do

  • Assess four factors of your organization’s current vigilance, and its comparison with benchmarks
  • Analyze past hits and misses, and consider current and future opportunities and weaknesses
  • Achieve alignment and gain commitment on the need to be more vigilant


Vigilant firms have greater foresight than their rivals, while vulnerable firms often miss early signals of external threats and organizational challenges. It’s the primary reason why vigilant organizations improve market capitalizations 35% more than their vulnerable rivals, and are more profitable.

Vigilance is an especially critical organization capability as new digital technologies begin to converge in ways that will continue to reshape industries and business models.
This Executive Overview illustrates for senior leaders why they must:

  • Allocate the scarce resource of their attention to studying weak signals and anomalies,
  • Make smart investments in foresight so that the organization is prepared to take action when the timing is right
  • Encourage the entire organization to spot and report changes in competitors, customers, market conditions and more,
  • Develop new approaches to strategy making to enable mid-
    course corrections when they are necessary

Research shows that the single most important factor for building a vigilant organization is leadership commitment. This Sprint highlights why senior leaders must demonstrate curiosity, willingness to explore beyond industry boundaries, and aptitude for gaining insights through external networks. Senior leaders also must set the tone and create accountability for gathering information at the front lines and sharing it upwards and laterally across functions.

Senior leaders will discover what it takes to build superior vigilance capabilities for anticipating potential threats, spotting latent opportunities, and acting faster when the time is right.

Course Outline

Expert Faculty

Paul J.H. Schoemaker
Former research director at the Mack Institute for Innovation Management, Wharton
Meet the Expert
George S. Day
Former, Professor Emeritus of Marketing, The Wharton School
Meet the Expert

Additional Material