One of a CEO’s most important duties is to ensure that opportunities and threat “inflection points” are spotted early and acted upon decisively in order to optimize results. Fast movers enjoy huge advantages that may never be overcome by competitors – speed to market, lower customer acquisition costs, brand dominance, etc.
3 years ago, my appeals to Intel Agency government contractors to diversify their businesses into the commercial markets were received with deaf ears. Why? They believed that Intel spending would continue unabated for years to come and that since they were unfamiliar with how to do business in the commercial markets, it wasn’t a good move for them.
Fast forward to government spending reductions, $250 billion per year in cyber damages to US industry with increasing threats and the commercial markets are now looking pretty good to many federal contractors.
Those who started making moves years ago have a significant head start and will reap greater rewards than those who start now. It’s still a great move as experience in Federal Intel is highly valued by the commercial markets – in stark contrast to the general perception of government work experience.
Here’s what you can do to improve your “situational awareness” of pending opportunities and threats:
- Follow national and international news developments so that you have some sense of macro patterns
- Follow subject matter experts in your industry closely and keep in close touch with the best practitioners via your trade associations
- Stay on top of competitive moves and industry dynamics
- Train your team – employees, suppliers and customers – what to look for and communicate with them frequently.
Situational awareness combined with good strategic and operational planning can help you not only survive but thrive as others lose ground.