By JC Abusaid, CEO/President as Featured in Forbes 

A big mantra for our organization is: We always strive to be better. Year after year, we’re on the hunt for innovations and more effective approaches, scrutinizing operations and questioning our practices. We’re omnivorous: happy to take advantage of great ideas from just about everywhere. What we can discover from our competitors ranks close to the top in learning about new deliverables, innovations and trends in our industry.

It’s also helpful in validating what we’re already doing as a company. Every time my firm has the chance to cross paths with our competitors or take part in a focused survey, I view it as an opportunity. But one must also be cautious and prudent in this endeavor, so I’m offering my experienced philosophy and approach to getting and vetting useful information and ideas from industry peers.

Where The Opportunities Are

I make a point of engaging in some kind of networking event at least quarterly, whether that’s an industry conference or a direct back-and-forth with a competitor. Hewing to that discipline has yielded great ideas and directions. What you learn can help you confirm the strategic directions you’re taking with your own business. Right now, my firm is focused on generating leads, so it’s been helpful to speak with other leaders to see where their new business is coming from.

Here are some examples of how you can interact with your competitors in an appropriate setting.

Annual Industry Conferences

At these large gatherings, one headliner session is always, “What’s new?” You get informed about what your competitors are up to, whether it’s building better infrastructure or implementing industry trends. It’s useful to hear how everyone is growing, differentiating themselves and succeeding—and weighing this against your company’s own trajectory. Another benefit: Networking opportunities abound.

Regional Events

Quite often, you’ll be seated next to an executive with whom you literally compete. With some reserve, comparing management practices, in general, can be especially helpful. For example, how are your peers handling “back to the office”? Are you falling behind the curve in certain ways? Of course, no one is going to divulge their trade secrets or confess to failures, but highly useful information on general policies and new technologies frequently gets shared.

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