Competitive Intelligence: How to Use the Seven-Factor Profiling Assessment to Predict CEO Behaviors

By James D. Underwood

Guessing the behaviors of a competitor CEO is an important part of competitive intelligence. Although the composite score in the seven-factor profiling assessment provides a good indication of how predictable a CEO or organization is, scores for the different factors can help you understand and predict how the CEO is likely to respond in any given situation.

For example, if a CEO scores high on all factors except personal ethics and philosophy, you know that the CEO won’t hesitate to break or bend the rules to further her goals.

Consider the CEO of Company C as the ultimate narcissist who has little regard for others. This CEO’s priorities go pretty much like so: Me first, profit second, everything else third. He’s an emotional thinker rather than a logical one, so when you’re trying to predict what he’ll do, consider the emotional aspects of the situation.

For example, if he has an opportunity to show up a competitor, he’s likely to do so, even if he has to overspend to do it.

Conversely, the CEO of Company B looks at the situation logically. Her priorities look like this: Customers first, personnel second, me last. She’s going to place customers and her company at the forefront of every decision, even if she has to make a personal sacrifice. She’s not interested in self-promotion.

Use your CEO assessment in tandem with see-mean-do (SMD) analysis and observe-orient-decide-act (OODA) loops. In SMD analysis, your CEO assessment can shed light on what certain activity means and what your competitor is likely to do — how your competitor will respond. When using OODA loops, CEO assessments can help you orient your organization in relation to how you predict your competitors will respond.