Every top executive has antennae of some degree of acuity. The ability to discern the approach of trouble is often critically diminished by the abhorrence of negativity. Today it is not PC for anyone to suggest a rethink of anything, not even in private conversations. Fear of blame is the subliminal roadblock here. Every disaster that has befallen a company has this as a universal symptom.
Business consultants don’t sell signals reading service because it is a critical exercise and criticism is not a good sales tool. Consultants sell “analytical” services that result in their being hired to do surveys and come up with often useless and counterproductive proposals. The field people in every company lament the advent of consultants. That is another article in itself.
Signals reading is a very useful tool for crisis avoidance, but you can’t get it in house most of the time. If you are to avail yourself of signals reading assistance, that should be the only assignment your signals reader will receive. With that limitation the signals reader can’t leverage the assignment into other projects retention. Mission creep is minimized and conflicts of interest are mostly avoided.
Your signals reader should be invisible. It should be a relationship of quiet confidence, a resource that can overcome management proclivity to deny awkward tendencies until they are more than just tendencies. It is the kind of resource that has enhanced value every year as the signals reader becomes more immersed in the company’s environmental characteristics.
How your signals reader gives you a heads up has to be extremely private so as not to produce adverse documentation that might become useful to adversaries. People who must document everything are dangerous.
Having your own signals reader may be your most important luxury.