The Three A’s of Competitive Intelligence – Attitude

Why it’s important?

I’m big on attitude. I’m sure a lot of people are too and that’s why I’ve added this section. Attitude can not only help open doors, but it can help create a sense of action and ownership.


Some of my own personal experiences:

  • Attention to detail: One of my earliest experiences with attitude was some advice I received in my first job, contracting with Microsoft, way back in 1998.  I’m going to paraphrase but the advice was, “When engineers get things wrong, people get hurt.” The context was that, regardless of the job you do, do it right. When engineers get their sums wrong, bridges collapse. The same rigor and attitude towards analysis and research should be taken. Get your analysis wrong and you’re going to give bad advice. The business will get hurt. Take it personally, your attitude should reflect your passion for irreproachable analysis.
  • If you want it, own it: You want to raise awareness to competitive issues, do it. You see a new competitor that you know is a threat, raise it, start coverage. Don’t wait until someone asks you to cover a competitor, be proactive.  This can be a balancing act though. I know from past experience pressure of being asked to track too many competitors. Everyone thinks their patch is the most important. Ranking your competitors with respect to threat levels can help make people aware of what you are tracking.
  • Listen: A lot of what I’ve been writing in this blog has been about how to get “your” message across to an audience. This is only half the battle. Being willing to listen to sales reps, partners and users experiences with your own product as well as competitor’s offerings is a key attitude trait for CI professionals. Being able to listen to dissenting points of view is often valuable when you’re building consensus.
  • Share: Dealing in information can lead to having “silos of data” and, in some extreme cases, “silos of insight” where information is hoarded and used as an internal bargaining chip. Being aware of what information you have, and what information other lines of business may need can dramatically raise your awareness within an organisation. Can public relations use the latest market share or growth figures within a press release or as spokesperson soundbites? Can your marketing group use the information you have gathered on competitors upcoming events to plan better event timing themselves? Your data, may have more than one audience when you think about possible, proactive uses.

That’s it for the Three A’s of CI. I’d really appreciate any feedback on these points, plus any of your own experiences. Should this list be bigger? Smaller? All inputs welcomed!


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