“We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us”Posted: July 30, 2015
July 30, 2015
This quote is from the old comic Pogo, in a strip first printed in 1970. It is a reflection on the then-state of the environmental movement. But it contains within it a wise message for competitive intelligence.
A new book, Your Strategy Needs a Strategy: How to choose and execute the right approach, also evokes this. There the authors suggest that some successful corporate strategy programs “deliberately manage which approach to strategy [of the 5 described by the authors] belongs in each subunit (be it a division, geography or function) and [then] run those approaches independently of one another.”
Consider how these concepts might apply to the way you (or your team) conduct your own CI activities. For example –
- If a competitor is a highly structured, centralized organization that operates on rigid plans and on a fixed schedule, shouldn’t you probably focus some of your CI work based on that schedule? So, if they usually launch in the first quarter, should your CI work look at the preceding 4th quarter as a stress period?
- If a competitor is decentralized, and highly flexible, then won’t your efforts have to be more consistent over the year and wide-ranging, rather than based on your internal schedule? Shouldn’t it be based on their schedules and history?
In other words, should your CI operations’ schedules, deliverables, and focus be determined more by your targets than your own employer’s structure, schedule, and culture?
 Martin Reeves, Knut Haanæs, and Janmejaya Sinha, 2015. Harvard Business Review Press.
 p. 177. Emphasis added.