Competition Today is Much More than Understanding Competitors and Current Competitive Environment

Forced change is always second prize. The secret lies in putting together a strategy for the future based on sound intelligence. Are you doing CI? If so, how well is it performing for you? 

This month, I thought I would address the issue of strategy and competitive intelligence.  A decade ago, a colleague of mine introduced me to the “Topple Rate”. This is a measure developed by a McKinsey consultant that measures the rate at which companies lose their leadership position or switch ranks. The topple rate varies across industries however no industry is safe from this growing churn rate. Today, competing effectively is not just about understanding existing competitors and the current business environment. It is strategically about having a picture of what the future business environment will look like. It is about addressing questions such as:

  1. How will new technology affect you and your customers?
  2. What are you doing to protect your business performance when new and sometimes unusual competitors are now only a click away?

Competitive Intelligence (CI) is concerned with the methods used to minimise risks in decision-making and considers industry risk, competition, and an organisation’s own competitive position and advantage. It relates to the techniques used to interpret and analyse external information and communicate it to the right people for timely and effective use. The purpose of CI is not to predict the future, but to identify what is likely to happen and to assist leaders to make better decisions about an organisation’s future. A key value of CI is that it underpins foresight and provides early awareness and early warning. This reality check enables board members and all executives to recognize and monitor the future as it unfolds, thereby reducing risk and minimizing mistakes. Costly mistakes by executives, let alone board members, is no longer an option. The systems for identifying these warning signals are totally different from yesterday’s methodology. Google just won’t do it …….neither will a tip from a colleague over lunch! And don’t get me started on disinformation regularly published in the media. Business respects and relies on statistics, facts, and concrete data. Sadly, this information is retrospective and most useful for quantifying what has occurred. But it is increasingly unreliable and inaccurate for revealing the future in a rapidly changing environment. The competitive Intelligence process is very specific in its intent and always outward looking, using both internal and external resources as mentioned above. Using CI can give an organisation advantage and protect it from a higher topple rate.

“History’s big lesson is that things change. But it is hard to imagine how dire living conditions once were and that makes it difficult to grasp just how much the world has changed.” – Max Roser

Written and published by Babette Bensoussan, MindShifts, Australia

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