Bob Moore

I don’t worry about competition, I worry about my own vision being wrong, which creates an opportunity for competition to succeed. If anything, I think we spent too much energy thinking about the noise everyone else was making and not enough thinking about our own place in the real market.

Zachary Shore

Reading others requires going deeper than their intentions and capabilities […] We need to get down to the level of drivers and constraints.Intentions are manifestations of a person’s underlying drivers. When you understand why people have certain intentions—what’s driving them—you can better anticipate what their future intentions will be. The same is true of capabilities. We often ask what a leader is able to do. … [ Read more ]

Colin Powell

The challenge for me was to have informal contacts and to get information from outside the organization that had been set up to provide me information. I did that beginning at 6:30 every morning, when I’d hit my office having read all the newspapers. I would get the CIA to come in for 20 minutes with no other staff members present and tell me what … [ Read more ]

Esther Dyson

The most fascinating thing in the world is a mirror.

Robert Kugel

Most organizations are good at collecting internally focused data, but few systematically provide insight about a company’s external environment. For example, only 21 percent regularly track how their competitors are performing. Business is not an us-vs.-us exercise, yet management reports rarely touch on the world outside.

Stephen E. Rudolph, Ernest R. Gilmont, Andrew S. Magee, and Nancy F. Smith

Information is not intelligence, and gathering information is not carrying out competitive intelligence. Many companies have mechanisms to accumulate large amounts of information; significantly fewer companies have mechanisms for conducting competitive intelligence.

Intelligence uses information as raw material, screening, sifting, sorting, verifying, analyzing, interpreting, and compiling it to create a useful output. And just as information is raw material for intelligence, intelligence is raw material for … [ Read more ]

Benson P. Shapiro, Adrian J. Slywotzky and Richard

Every company has a well-defined competitive field of vision, which is usually too narrow. Long periods of equilibrium only exacerbate the problem. A whole raft of “minor little players” operates just at the periphery. They are difficult to see because traditional competitors focus on each other and not on new entrants and “nontraditional” entities lurking at the industry’s fringes.

The Art of War, Sun Tzu, Translated by Thomas Clea

Therefore those who do not know the plans of competitors cannot prepare alliances. Those who do not know the lay of the land cannot maneuver their forces. Those who do not use local guides cannot take advantage of the ground. The military of an effective rulership must know all these things.

The Art of War, Sun Tzu, Translated by Thomas Clea

The contour of the land is an aid to an army; sizing up opponents to determine victory, assessing dangers and distances, is the proper course of action for military leaders. Those who do battle knowing these will win, those who do battle without knowing these will lose.