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Acquiring Personnel from Your Competition to Gain a Competitive Advantage
Sunday, February 11, 2007
As the 89th NHL season approaches the two-third mark and with the trade deadline less than three weeks away all thirty of the NHL’s teams jockey for position. The competition is fierce.There are age-old rivalries that keep getting more and more bitter. I happen to be a fan of the Edmonton Oilers. For those who are not hockey fans, I’ll remind you that the Oilers lost in the seventh game to the Carolina Hurricanes in last year’s Stanley Cup Finals. What’s worse is that a week later they lost their marquee player Chris Pronger after he bolted from the city after only fulfilling one year of his five year contract. The Oilers have not yet recovered from losing the all star defenseman Pronger. It just shows you how much a business that sports has become.

So how does this tie in with online marketing? Well it reflects the competitive nature of business. Take for example the following. All season the Oilers have been trying to land a puck moving defenseman to replace Pronger, and all season the most coveted defenseman available was Boston’s Brad Stuart. As the Oilers struggled through the first half of the season, they were considered to be the leader to obtain Stuart from the Boston Bruins… that was until yesterday when the Oilers arch rival the Calgary Flames from out of nowhere pulled the trigger on a deal for Stuart. The move was not necessarily made to bolster their lineup as the Flames have a solid core of defensemen, the move was made to prevent their competition (ie the Oilers and other division rivals) from the possibility of landing Brad Stuart. They were keeping the talent of Stuart away from the competition.

This happens all the time in business. Through signing bonuses and lucrative benefit packages, organizations continue to lure away the talent from their competition.Last April for example, Microsoft lured Steve Berkowitz, then CEO of ASK, to run Microsoft’s online services. Really this is a great strategy for organizations to pursue, here’s why:

1. The 4 Point Factor – when you lure away talent from a competitor, not only do you potentially weaken your competitor, but also you strengthen your team. Just as in the NHL when a team gets a win over a division rival, the two point win now becomes a four point win as the winning team prevents the losing team from getting two points (so in essence by preventing them from obtaining two points and by the winning team having obtained two points, you end up with a 4 point win.)
2. The PR Factor – a lot of times when an organization can acquire a key industry player from a competitor they receive the fanfare and publicity that goes along with it. People, whether it be potential consumers, other competitors or existing clientele will take note and chances are your organization will achieve top of mind awareness status.

3. Makes You the Best that You Can Be – when you acquire talent from your competition, you are bolstering your team. Just as the Flames did in acquiring Stuart, they became a better team by adding a top defenseman that will help their powerplay and goal scoring production.

4. Motivates Existing Staff – acquiring a key player can help improve the camaraderie and work ethic of your team.

Business is competitive, hockey is competitive, all of sport is competitive. How can you make it less competitive? Well one of the easiest methods is to acquire key personnel from your competition and assemble a team that will be stronger and will continue to perform at a level that is higher than your competition.

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posted by Jody @ Sunday, February 11, 2007  
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