Here’s Looking at YouPosted: June 30, 2015
Fortune magazine every year selects its Fortune 100, 500 etc. This year, on its website Fortune.com, Fortune provides its own SWOT (strength-weakness-opportunity-threat) analysis for each of the Fortune 100 companies.
If your firm competes with one of the firms so profiled, I suggest that you proceed to the Fortune 500 home page, select that firm and read the SWOT analysis there. It may provide you with some help. But don’t accept it as the end of your research or even worse, as a substitute for your own research and analysis. Regard it, at best, as yet another input.
Now, if your firm is one of those so profiled, also review the SWOT material on the website. If the analysis, whether of strength or weakness, opportunity or threat, is accurate, that means that your company is just that much more transparent to your competitors. You may want to think about protecting against that sort “disclosure” in the future – if you can.
What if you disagree with the analysis that you find here? First, think it through. Is it possible that the unnamed analysts who provided this for Fortune are correct and that you and your colleagues at your firm are not? If so, then you have gained an important insight.
Second, if it turns out that the analysis is inaccurate, dated because of very recent events, pointing out something that your firm is already doing something about, etc., do not just stop there.
Above all, please do not publicly challenge this analysis as incomplete or dated etc., or let your firm do so (if you can stop it). By doing that, whether in a press release or just in an email to a colleague or college classmate, you are simply letting your competitors know something they should not know. Don’t make a good situation, that is, one where competitors are potentially being misled by the mistakes of a third party, into a bad situation, that is correcting their (unknown) error.
Instead, consider how Fortune’s erroneous/incomplete analysis may impact how a competitor of yours will act. Then think through how your firm could/should react to their possible forthcoming (misdirected) actions. Think of it as a wrestling move: you expect an effort to charge at you, but you can step out of the way because you know it’s coming, and then bring down the competitor while it is off balance. In other words, anticipate a reaction to misdirection and then exploit it.