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Creating a Culture of "Weak Signal Detection"

CEO Stephen Miles and Managing Director John Nasr discuss how to create and foster a company culture that can detect and respond to early warnings of risk to an organization, on new C-Suite Intelligence podcast

"Being able to detect weak signals around the organization is really a durable competitive advantage." – Stephen Miles

NEW YORK, Nov. 21, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- "Every time there's a threat against a company, there is almost always a weak signal or a whiff of smoke that can serve as an early warning of the risk to the organization," says John Nasr, Managing Director of The Miles Group (TMG). "If that threat is dismissed or ignored, the whiff of smoke can turn into a forest fire. Then the organization faces a much bigger problem, with fewer options to solve it."

"Being able to detect weak signals around the organization is really a durable competitive advantage," says TMG CEO Stephen Miles. On the new C-Suite Intelligence podcast episode, "Weak Signal Detection," Miles and Nasr discuss the importance of embedding weak signal detection in the company culture by leveraging the company's "second circle," establishing a common language to set context, and creating a safe environment to not only raise, but act on those weak signals.

The Second Circle: The second circle is the greatest leverage a leader can have, says Miles. Depending upon the company's size, this refers to the top 20-200 people who do the work below the C-Suite and usually touch all aspects of the business. In a context rich environment, they can be empowered to more confidently make decisions, prioritize, and sequence in order to move information through the system when they get a whiff of smoke. "The flow of information is what we're talking about, and leveraging and enrolling the second circle so they feel like they're leaders of the company," says Miles.

Common Language: "One of the key aspects of context setting is establishing a common language around the business and high performance," says Nasr. This creates a frame of reference within the company, making it easier to identify and communicate weak signals. Embedding weak signal detection in the language and culture starts with setting the tone at the top, engaging the second circle, continuously setting context, and triangulating data quickly across a broad array of people.

Acting on Weak Signals: When it comes to weak signal detection, avoid having blinders on and dismissing or downplaying people who bring those weak signals forward by demonstrating the ability to "learn it all when you know it all." Say Miles, "You have to have a high capacity for growth and learning, and have sources of information and triangulate." Initiating on a weak signal takes real leadership courage as many people will think it's a bad idea, or perceive it as an overreaction.

"If somebody comes to you with something, and if they come to you more than once, their conviction is worthy of attention," says Miles. "If they are wrong, who cares? But if they're right, the value creation and value preservation opportunity is through the roof."

"Weak Signal Detection" is out now on Apple, Google, Spotify, TMG's website, or wherever you get your podcasts.

For more information, please contact executive producers Davia Temin or Trang Mar of Temin and Company at 212.588.8788 or 

About the C-Suite Intelligence podcast
CEOs running the world's top companies don't start out that way – they pull ahead of their peers with behaviors and practices that make them the "best of the best." Stephen Miles and the team at TMG coach some of the world's most successful executives, helping them continuously up their game even as business conditions grow more complex every day. Learn the secrets of the highest performers and use this intelligence to power your career. New episodes are released bi-weekly on Apple, Google, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

About The Miles Group/TMG
TMG develops talent strategies for organizations, teams, and individuals – focusing on high-performance, world-class leadership. Through assessments and development, coaching, leadership transition planning, and organizational design, TMG helps clients cultivate exceptional talent from the C-suite to the next generation of leaders throughout the organization. Clients include many of the Fortune 100 as well as VC portfolio companies, firms in transition, and organizations around the globe and across industries. TMG has been featured in Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Forbes, Fortune, C-Suite, Entrepreneur, and Chief Executive. The firm is headquartered in New York City and operates globally. For more information, visit Follow TMG on LinkedIn and X, and Stephen Miles on Forbes.

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SOURCE The Miles Group/TMG

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