CI 301 – Competitive Blindspots
CREDITS: 0.7 CEU CREDIT
SUMMARY: The Foundation of all strategic intelligence: Industry, Competitor and Blindspots analysis framework.
“This course is critical for individuals seeking to make a lasting impact within their organizations. My favorite portion of the course was how Ben laid out the five forces and had them actually apply them. I am going for my MBA at the moment and I found his presentation of the five forces more helpful than anything I have learned in class.” – BAE Systems
In this course:
Using a Harvard Business School case study you will learn how to:
- Predict your industry’s evolution paths
- Identify competitors’ behaviors and predict significant competitive moves
- Pinpoint competitors’ soft spots, blindspots, and strategic vulnerabilities
- Assess the importance of information and the right questions to ask your collection network
- Evaluate your own company’s strategy and its blindspots, as well as pinpoint its vulnerabilities
- Identify sources of critical change in the market
- Create proactive intelligence to preempt competitors’ strategic moves
With this course, attendees can purchase Dr. Gilad’s book, Early Warning (Amacom, 2003).
Here we list the key questions that this seminar addresses. If you can answer “yes” to three or more of the 10 questions posed for this course, it will meet your needs.
Do you need to…
- Identify the major forces affecting the performance of your industry?
- Track early trends that will change the performance of your industry?
- Predict where the industry is going?
- Predict competitors’ moves?
- Assess competitors’ responses to your firm’s moves?
- Know your company’s position relative to competitors?
- Identify and alert management where your company’s strategy is wrong?
- Identify where your competitors’ strategies are wrong?
- Develop a framework that will direct and organize a continuous collection effort (in addition to answering management questions)?
- Support senior executives with insightful analysis?
All ACI programs teach students how to overcome the most challenging competitive intelligence issues. The following are sample lessons taught in this course:
Predicting a Rival’s Behavior
In analyzing competitors, most companies track actions; the competitors’ strategies, and its capabilities. The infamous SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) conducted by every company at least twice a quarter and on the weekends is but a basic capabilities analysis. Can you predict what competitors will do in the future from knowing what they are doing today? Can you predict which capabilities will be enforced and augmented in the future and which will be allowed to stagnate, based on the analysis of the competitors’ current costs and current technologies and current manufacturing? Not nearly as well as you need to.
- What is missing from this picture above? What will enable you to try and predict future competitive moves with some confidence beyond guessing?
- What is the effect of executives’ backgrounds on competitors’ moves and do you need a degree in psychology to make predictions?
- What is the role of stated goals? Numerical goals? In predicting competitors’ collapse?
- How do you get into competitors’ heads and think like them? What are the obstacles to doing so?
The reality of industry’s evolution – gradual changes in the way the industry’s five major forces affect the company’s profitability – does not always register with companies. The reason is that companies and their management have black holes in the way they perceive risk in their industry. These black holes — the so-called Competitive Blindspots — affect the way companies react (or do not react) to the signs of early warning (and the CI that comes with them). Identifying these black holes is crucial for the survival of the firm and the effectiveness of the CI effort.
- Is there an analytical methodology that will allow you to identify your management’s blindspots?
- Is there a way to identify competitors’ blinders?
- If you could identify a competitor’s black holes, what can you do with it?
- What is the role of culture and executive background in promoting (or discouraging) blindspots? Can you do something about them in your own company?
Competitor Negotiations and Issues Surrounding Consolidation
Cronin, the CEO of the second largest electronic components distribution company in the world, faces a dilemma. He believes that the industry is about to go through consolidation and that only large distributors survive. However, his attempts to interest several competitors in entering talks about mergers have failed spectacularly.
- Is there an economic reason why his competitors refuse to enter the talks, or is it basically ego?
- What are the forces that bring about consolidation in an industry and where does it stop?
- Can you predict what Cronin will do next based on his history?
- What does Cronin really think of his competitors? (Hint: It is not what it seems! It never is.). How does it affect Cramer’s strategy?