When I was in college, I took a Global Monetary Policy course. The only thing I can remember to this day from that class was one story that my professor told us.
My professor in a prior life worked at the Federal Reserve and earned his PhD in Economics under Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago. He would talk about global currencies and market fluctuations and other things that just flew right over our heads.
One time, he shared some investing advice. He said we should invest in a fund managed by a fund manager who is or has been under indictment from the SEC. I thought to myself that this was a strange notion to take. Why would I want to put my money into a fund that is under investigation?
The reason, he said, was because that fund manager was willing to do whatever it takes to gather information to give his fund the competitive advantage that he needed to bring in a higher return for his fund and clients.
This makes sense. How often do we hear about companies or even people trying to gather information through outside and non-traditional routes? Nonetheless, these methods may be tainted or invalid.
How do you gather ethical intelligence to give your company the competitive advantage?
The best way to gather ethical intelligence is to hire an outside firm to gather the competitive information directly from your buyers. The buyers are the direct source of information and the ones buying the products, whether it is your company’s or the competition’s.
By hiring a third-party firm, your company is able to obtain the ethical information that has not been conceived by nefarious means, and the information is from the very mouths of the ones that matter - your buyers!
Every business is looking for a competitive advantage in the business battle. Some may find more than admirable means of obtaining information. Collecting information through principled means is the best way to avoid a hard conversation with the ethics board when they ask, “How did you get this?” Now you can respond with a virtuous response: “We had a firm ask our customers for us.”