How do some CEOs stay ahead of the rest?
Yet the unspoken and often unrecognized other strength a CEO brings to a company is a drive to digest large gobs of information, assess its value and act expediently—ahead of the competition. Such a CEO will know a supplier’s and even a customer’s moves before the rest of the market. Sometimes this intelligence will tell the executive it’s best to sit tight; other times, it screams for action before the competitive opportunity disappears. There are nearly as many ways to express the competitive intelligence competency as there are CEOs. For some, such as Vasella, it’s a cultural acuity, an ability to sort out the useful and potential profitable competitive insight from many competing and distracting pieces of information. In Crandall’s case, competitive knowledge is all about the numbers. Taylor likes to act quickly on the basis of instinct. While for Pickens, competitive intelligence means literally seeing your competition on the ground, watching its day-to-day movement.
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