By Dr. Ben Gilad, ACI Faculty

I met a senior executive on a recent trip to Europe (flying business class pays off). He asked me what I did for a living. I told him I run war games. Actually I was on my way to run one for a Pharma company. He was very interested in the subject (most executives are when they first hear about war games).

We exchanged cards and each returned to his own screens. I thought that would be it (I actually hoped that was it; I wanted to read the intelligence briefs for the game).

Apparently he ‘binged’ me, because a few minutes later he looked up from his laptop and said,

“I see you have this school for competitive intelligence.”

Yes, I do. He sounded surprised.

“So you basically may be training your future competitors.”

Yes, I am at times.

“Why?” he asked.

Instead of replying, I turned my screen towards him and let him read the comments from our last training programs in March and June; one was in Europe and one was in the US.

“An incredible set of pivotal lessons on CI. This is an absolute must have for everyone in the CI profession” Carlos Cruz, Chevron Phillips Chemicals

“Fantastic course on tools that help create and enhance a business intelligence acumen”
Matthew Chandler, ExxonMobil

“The combination of theory, practice and world class teachers makes this one of the most valuable five days of my career” Hanadi Said, TEVA Pharmaceuticals

“Very hands-on and pragmatic course on war gaming. I will implement my learning at work”
Ingemar Svensson, Ericsson

“Black swan effect is hard to trace, with Anticipating Disruptions you can turn them white!”
Ahmed Farouk El-Khatib, Pepsi Cola

“Competitive Blindspots, the best course in the program. Miss it at your own cost!”
Kushal Gohil, Parexel

“Outstanding content, engaging presentations which are all grounded in practical experience”
Stuart deGeus, Little Caesar Enterprises

“Very valuable content that will help refine and evolve our strategy and enhance the effectiveness of our CI function” Steve Hausknecht, inContact

“Ben Gilad is engaging and inspiring. I love that his primary motivation is to help us be a more effective CI professional and demonstrate my value at my company” Danielle McDowell, Bose

“War Gaming is a very useful course on how to lead your company to making strategic decisions”
Christopher Jelks, Pratt & Whitney

“Highly recommend Gilad’s War Gaming course as an invigorating kick-in-the-pants to make you better in CI” Barb Watkins, The Boeing Co.

“Discovering all the activities that have nothing to do with strategy was eye-opening”
Steven Ramirez, Symantec

Ben takes you out of your comfort zone in order to help you develop as a CI professional”
Gerald Flynn, Amica

Sound advice

The guy nodded skeptically. “You could be making much more money if you kept the knowledge proprietary and sold consulting instead”.

How can you explain to someone what a teacher feels when his students actually put to use what he taught them? I could have shown him one of my favorite quotes:

“Refreshing, Challenging, and Life Changing” Maggie Hill, Berry Plastics

I could have also shown him a recent email from a graduate of the 2015 program who was promoted to associate director right after completing the CIP-II:

“The CIP-I and CIP-II courses have equipped me with the fundamentals for true competitive intelligence (not information delivery!), which has played a significant factor in my rapid promotion at my current company” Heresh Rezavandi, UCB Pharma

But it wouldn’t have helped my cause. Teaching is not a classic money making profession. It’s a passion.

So I just smiled. For me, the above feedback is worth millions. When someone asks me why do you still teach I say, to change lives.

And then there is this comment:

“Worth my time” Marc Paolantonio, Novartis.

Nothing special, right? Well, consider this: He works for a Pharma. When he says it’s worth his time, I know our program is on target. Getting a compliment from a Swiss Pharma’s manager is like extracting water from a rock.

I should know.

That’s why I still teach.