See Sooner, Act Faster

From Management on the Cutting Edge

See Sooner, Act Faster

How Vigilant Leaders Thrive in an Era of Digital Turbulence

By George S. Day and Paul J. H. Schoemaker

How organizations can anticipate threats, spot opportunities, and act faster when the time is right; with rich examples including Adobe, MasterCard, and Amazon.





How organizations can anticipate threats, spot opportunities, and act faster when the time is right; with rich examples including Adobe, MasterCard, and Amazon.

When turbulence is the new normal, an organization's survival depends on vigilant leadership that can anticipate threats, spot opportunities, and act quickly when the time is right. In See Sooner, Act Faster, strategy experts George Day and Paul Schoemaker offer tools for thriving when digital advances intensify turbulence.

Vigilant firms have greater foresight than their rivals, while vulnerable firms often miss early signals of external threats and organizational challenges. Charles Schwab, for example, was early to see and act on the promise of “robo-advisors”; Honeywell, on the other hand, stumbled when Nest Labs came out first with a “smart” thermostat. Day and Schoemaker show leaders how to assess their vigilance capabilities and cultivate insight and foresight throughout their organizations. They draw on a range of cases, including Adobe and Intuit's move to the cloud, Shell's investment in clean energy, and MasterCard's early recognition of digital challenges.

Day and Schoemaker describe how to allocate the scarce resource of attention, how to detect weak signals and separate them from background noise, and how to respond strategically before competitors do. The challenge is not just to act faster but to act wisely, and the authors suggest ways to create dynamic portfolios of options. Finally, they offer an action agenda, with tips for fostering vigilance and agility throughout an organization. The rewards are stronger market positions, higher profits and growth, more motivated employees, and organization longevity.


$29.95 T ISBN: 9780262043311 208 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 17 figures


  • “…delivers what Day and Schoemaker are known for—compelling case studies, diagnostic tools, and a frame for spotting options—developed to help leaders manage innovation.”

    Kirsten D Sandberg

    Blockchain Research Institute

  • In an age when any company can be disrupted, vigilance is a coveted trait. The authors of this book point to examples from Adobe, MasterCard, Charles Schwab, Honeywell, and Amazon to show how vigilant leaders not only act faster but also act wisely to achieve stronger market positions, growth, and organization longevity.

    The Enterprisers Project

  • Listed as one of the "10 leadership books to strengthen your skills in 2020."

    The Enterprisers Project

  • Alex Camlin always does such an amazing job of creating dynamic all-type covers that somehow feel like they're moving off the page and this is a perfect example of that! Between the subtle manipulation of the typography and the choice of yellow, this color vibrates with electricity.


  • Day and Schoemaker stress throughout their new book that vigilance can be systematically developed and strengthened by a motivated leadership team. Establishing new capabilities and adjusting current strategic practices require time and commitment. But the rewards — stronger market positions, higher profits and growth, and more motivated employees — make that effort key to organization longevity and even survival.

    Wharton @ Work


  • This book is a wake-up call! Try Day and Schoemaker's vigilance test! If your business scores low, you are doomed … unless you wake up in time.

    Philip Kotler

    S. C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

  • Individuals and institutions all miss signals—and they always will. But this book provides priceless insight into how they could all see more, identify options earlier, and develop a sharper, more coherent sense of the world they operate in.

    Margaret Heffernan

    CEO; author of Willful Blindness

  • The root of a company's ability to anticipate and take action when the time is right is leadership. Day and Schoemaker provide a valuable guide to help leadership teams develop the ability to remain ever-vigilant. You'll find numerous practical methods, developed with tremendous academic rigor, to help you navigate ever-increasing digital disruption.

    William McNabb

    former CEO, The Vanguard Group

  • This is a thoroughly tested playbook for all leadership teams needing to think ahead and act strategically in the face of daunting uncertainty. The tools and frameworks that Day and Schoemaker provide will be sturdy handrails to use for the early detection, interpretation and timely response to weak signals of potential opportunities and impending threats.

    Vijay Govindarajan

    Coxe Distinguished Professor, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth Collee; author of Reverse Innovation

  • Day and Schoemaker offer a great roadmap for leaders wishing to hone their dynamic capabilities, drawing on best practices as well as the latest research from multiple academic disciplines.  Their vigilance model has been tested with field data, practical wisdom and analytical modeling in line with current advances in building foresight. The book is also a terrific read.

    David J. Teece

    Tusher Professor, Institute for Business Innovation, Haas School, University of California, Berkeley; Chairman, Berkeley Research Group

  • Practical advice with great examples; when transforming our five hospitals and reimagining the future of cancer care, this book would have been very helpful to take health and healing beyond the boundaries of imagination.

    Gerard van Grinsven

    former President & CEO, Cancer Treatment Centers of America

  • No leader can succeed without foresight. Day and Schoemaker clearly lay out the challenges of, and solutions for, navigating digital turbulence. I especially like their detailed analysis of how LED technologies profoundly disrupted the long-standing lighting industry, having lived through this firsthand as a member of Philips's leadership team.

    Jan Hommen

    Chairman, Ahold Delhaize NV; former CEO, ING Group NV

  • To thrive in an increasingly uncertain future, we must all learn to be more vigilant. This book gives health care leaders terrific guidance, enhanced with rich examples, on how to stay ahead of the current and coming turbulence.

    Stephen K. Klasko

    CEO, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Inc.

  • I have just finished reading 'See Sooner Act Faster' by George Day and Paul Schoemaker. This could prove to be the reference 'bible' that senior management uses when considering the implementation of innovation within their organizations.