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THE REALITIES

I will attempt to outline a few competitive realities that literally void traditional present-day thinking. These competitive realities render current models of strategy and growth obsolete. So forget everything you know and hang on to your seat!

First—are you ready to stop the death spirals of cul­turally inbred cost-reduction plans that serve you no qual­ity of corporate life? The systemic reality is that they are just heroic measures for a terminal company.

We need to enter a realm of transformation and strat­egy regeneration. We need to get off the restructuring and reengineering kick and onto a new path of corpo­rate revitalization and self-healing.

"To become the enemy," means to think your­self into the enemy's position. In a. large-scale strat­egy, people are always under the impression that the enemy is strong and so tend to become cau­tious. "

— 17th Century Japanese military strategist In today's competitive climate, business is war. In preparation and conduct of war, intelligence is an es­sential part of the development of military strategy.

On the business battlefield, competitive intelligence is the core ingredient to winning. The business leader is the general and directs the campaign to win. Cap­ture of territory is measured by market share. The cap­ture of the right territory is reflected by profit. Defeating the competitor and transferring market share from their control to yours requires selection of the right battlefield and

"I tell you Wellington is a bad general, the En­glish are bad soldiers; we will settle this matter by lunch time."

—Napoleon Bonaparte, the morning of the battle of Waterloo

Obviously Napoleon did not have an intelligence of­ficer. Upon the battlefield of Waterloo, the wounded fought each other until the dawn of the next day. The French left 27,000 men dead and 8,000 were taken pris­oner by the English. Wellington lost 22,000 men. The empire was defeated, and Napoleon was exiled to St. Helena were he died in 1821. The win was a matter of logistical intelligence that resulted in the above statis­tics. Who today has an intelligence officer on their staff to avoid competitive pitfalls?

 

Intellectual capacity can be likened to athletic capac­ity. Firm's that can run faster, jump higher, and out-maneuver their opponents are those that are better trained and in better shape for the competition.

 

As you can see, it's more complicated than obtaining information about the customer. Competitor analysis is made up of

      Competitor beliefs

      Competitor intentions

      Prediction of competitor's future behavior

      Past actions by the competitor.

Many times people cannot answer these simple ques­tions about their competition:

      Can you name your five major competitors?

      Can you name their major products or services?

      Who is doing your job at each competing firm?

      What is he or she doing now?

Unfortunately, in some companies competitive intel­ligence has been driven by the "give me any numbers you have" mentality. Statistical abuse can range from ignorance to arrogance. Often we are so desperate for data, that we cannot understand that any numbers are not superior to no numbers.

Continued

Part 1  Part 2    Part 3   Part 4  Part 5


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