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Improve Your Competitive Advantage – Think Like Your Competition – Instigate a Red-Team.

In my “Looking back to go to the future” strategic posting (Nov17, 2023), I posed several ways in which you could/can develop with your fellow workers, ideas in which you can visualize the future and how you can combat market influences, today.

Red team thinking refers to a process in which selected people within your organization can be appointed as “The Red Team”. The idea is that this team has to place themselves into the position of your main competitor, with the primary goal of trying to identify the vulnerabilities within your own organization, and its position in your market.

This team could consist of various people in the organization. For larger organizations including most small businesses, they could be the best of your, sales, marketing, product or service divisions. For sole proprietor’s or smaller organizations, I would suggest you take a day aside and collectively, put your organization in your competitors’ shoes, and brainstorm to define what it is that your competition is actually doing, that could benefit your business.

In either case, this means that your Red Team will have to think differently, as an adversarial of your own business, with the idea that you can uncover potential blind spots, and potential weaknesses within your own organization. There are a couple of ways you could organize your red team, the first one being a critical thinking process of your competition, i.e. External to your organizations, and secondly, an internal discussion on internal issues, both approaches may well be constraining your organization’s ability to develop and grow.

External; Team members with selected skills, such as sales and marketing, or service and manufacturing, could compare and discuss your own weaknesses and potential deficiencies verses what they know of your competition.  This is very doable as your sales marketing and service people will be visiting your actual and potential customers, in which they should naturally gleam information on your competition.

Internal; All organizations work with processes and procedures that become honed and fixed over time. These processes and procedures can become an organizations weak point, if market forces are not checked from time to time. Therefore you could pitch people into an [internal] competitive red-team role say, sales will now take on marketing and vice versa.  This makes sense because these two roles are inextricably linked. They can then raise concerns that are internally affecting both their roles, to sales and marketing successful market opportunities.

Additional areas to consider when Red-Teaming:

Adopt the mindset of an adversary; Challenge assumptions and viewpoints held by the organization, uncover potential blind spots and weaknesses in your plans or strategies.

Encourage creative thinking; Explore unconventional ideas. Question assumptions and considering alternative scenarios. Red-teaming helps your organization avoid groupthink and enhances problem-solving capabilities.

Identify and assess risk; That may not have been adequately considered. Simulate real-world threats, this way your organization can better understand its vulnerabilities and develop more robust risk mitigation strategies.

Test existing systems, processes, procedures; Adopt strategies to validate their effectiveness. This could include simulated attacks, market penetration analysis or scenario-based assessments to evaluate your organizations’ ability to respond to market challenges.

Improved decision making; Equip your decision makers to provide a more comprehensive and better understanding of potential market challenges and risks. This, in turn, will allow your organization to refine your strategies and make more informed choices.

Prepare for unexpected events; Adapt to changing internal and external disruptive circumstances. Expose weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and implement proactive measures to strengthen your resilience.

Continuous Improvement; just like standard strategic practice, red teaming is not a one-time activity, it is an ongoing process of continuous improvement. Regular assessments and feedback from a Red Team exercise, will contribute to your organizational learning and the refinement of your strategies and assist in the development and growth of your business.

Conclusion; Red team thinking exercises are a valuable tool for any organization to enhance their strategic planning, risk management, checking their processes and procedures, resulting in a better decision-making process, through an adversarial and critical thinking perspective.