My senior year of college I took a Judo class. I had already graduated early from Michigan State and had an extra year of eligibility remaining on my football scholarship. As a result, I spent that year taking mostly elective courses that seemed interesting (and easy), such as scuba diving, football coaching, classic cinema and the ancient martial art of Judo.
My Judo sensei was a tiny, 60-year old, Japanese-American man who was previously the head coach of the US Olympic Judo Team. Suffice to say, he enjoyed using his oafish football player student (me) as his demonstration dummy to showcase each day's lesson. At only 5 feet 6 inches, the sensei would deftly kick my 6'4" 235-pound butt all around the dojo, to the delight of my classmates.
Aside from learning how to better defend myself, the biggest takeaway from Judo was the ability to recognize the strength of my opponent and utilize that very strength against him. Judo Masters are taught to look for the strength that is his opponent's pride and joy. He assumes, and does so with high probability, that the opponent bases his strategy on this strength in every fight. Next, the Judo Master figures out where this continuing reliance on a particular strength leaves the opponent vulnerable and undefended. Then he turns his opponent's strength into the opponent's fatal weakness that defeats the opponent.
According to the great business strategist Peter Drucker, businesses, like Judo fighters, tend to become set in their behaviors. And then "Entrepreneurial Judo" (meaning exploitation by often smaller, scrappier start-up companies) turns what the market leaders consider their strengths into their very weaknesses that defeat them.
Therefore, my question to you is... are you able to recognize your opponent's strengths and exploit them as vulnerabilities? Would you even know how to do this? Would you like to learn how to become a Business Judo-Master? One of the best ways that I have learned to do this is by applying the principles of the CIA's CARVER Target Analysis and Vulnerability Assessment Methodology (which you can access down below).
Just as my Judo sensei taught me all those years ago, Peter Drucker reminds us, "be agile, recognize the strengths of your competitors, and look for opportunities in parts of the market that they have ignored." May you, too, find the clarity to become a Business Judo-Master.