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Archive for September, 2009

How Do You Stay On Top Of Your Game?

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Recently I was forwarded a great article (thanks G.A.) that was an interview with David Novak Chairman, Chief Executive and President of Yum! Brands.

The article discussed some of his business philosophy, bosses, lessons learned and his best interview question.

How do you stay on top of your game? To me I interpret that question to be how do you get better at what you do? How do you know what is happening in your industry? How do you become more relevant with your clients?

I thought this was a great question and one that I have already started using when I interview candidates.

For me I try to get better at something every day. I try and read a number of articles and subscribe to online newsletters that are relevant. I also make it a point to attend industry sessions that give me a chance to hear what experts think about a particular subject and keep in touch with many contacts in the industry to keep my hand on the pulse of the industry.

But now it is your turn to answer the question:

How do you stay on top of your game?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Know Your Company . . . Know Your Competition!

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

A few weeks ago I was watching the 2008 World Series of Poker on ESPN. Please stop laughing. I know that event happened last year and yes I know who won but there wasn’t a ton of other things on and I like to watch poker on TV from a strategy standpoint. Most professional poker players would say that in order to be successful, you need to read the other players better than playing your cards. In essence, know the competition, know their tendencies, understand them . . . really understand them and you will probably beat them.

I paused for a minute or two and asked myself is the same true about all industries and specifically the market research industry. If you are a finalist for a piece of business:

  • Do you know who the competition is?
  • Do you know what your strengths are compared to them?
  • Do you try and highlight their weaknesses?

To me it was interesting to think about and relate it to our company.

Yes in this economy, price is a deciding factor on lots of projects–more than many people would like to admit. But with that said, there has to be a number of projects where highlighting your strengths vs. the competition should come into play.

If that is the case what are you doing about it?

  • Do you ask clients who else is in the bidding process?
  • How much information do you know about the competition?
  • Are you on their websites?
  • Do you review their ads and marketing materials?
  • Do you get their newsletters?
  • Do you know their pricing strategy? (Okay, I’m pushing the envelope a little bit and know that most people WON’T admit that.)

I look forward to reading your comments.