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How well does your organization assess its own capabilities versus competitors?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 220,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How well does your organization assess its own capabilities versus competitors?

  • We drastically overestimate our capabilities.: 22.3%
  • We overestimate some of our capabilities.: 37.7%
  • We accurately assess our capabilities.: 28.6%
  • We underestimate our capabilities.: 8.6%
  • We drastically underestimate our capabilities.: 2.7%

A little overconfident. Overestimating your organization’s capabilities can be a huge strategic mistake. If you push your beliefs of greatness too far, you’ll create strategic blind spots that are easy for your competitors to exploit. Before you know it, the market will offer it’s less-than-flattering assessment of your capabilities. A rigorous approach to evaluating your capabilities is the key to staying humble and staying safe in a threatening market environment. Actively participate in these assessments on a regular basis. Question your beliefs about your capabilities. Challenge your assumptions. It’s best that you challenge yourself before your competitor challenges you.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.”