Battling with Ill-Defined Competitors

Today, companies do battle in emerging marketplaces where competitors can be ill-defined, with unknown strength, lurking in loosely related industries. Rear Admiral Jack Fletcher could relate to these circumstances some 75 years ago. in May 1942. His Task Force 17, having 2 of the 4 US carriers covering the entire Pacific was to prevent the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) from gaining a strong foothold in the South Pacific. The exact location, composition, and timetable of the Japanese naval and troop strike force were unknown.

Meanwhile, the Japanese anticipated the US to put up some resistance, likely in the Coral Sea but lacked sufficient intelligence on their whereabouts of possible naval assets, including one or more carriers. Given these circumstances, the first remote carrier to carrier attack and defense in naval history took place.

The Battle of Midway, one month later was the second such encounter, with both Japan and the United States placing their entire available carrier assets into play. The US had enhanced intelligence on the date of the air attack on Midway, yet the composition and attack vectors of IJN forces remained unknown.

When Multiple Objectives Aren’t Prioritized

Japan’s major weakness in both the battle of Coral Sea & Midway was that they were trying to pursue two major objectives that became mutually exclusive in the course of the engagements, without either taking priority. Vacillating between attacking land assets (Port Moresby in New Guinea in the Battle of Coral Sea, or Midway Island in the June 1942 rematch), Japan compromised its defense of its carriers. From these two battles, the Imperial Japanese Navy lost five fleet carriers (one heavily damaged, four sunk), in addition to one light carrier sunk, while the US lost two fleet carriers (Lexington & Yorktown). Possibly more damaging to the Japanese was the loss of highly experienced pilots, aircraft support personnel, and carrier officers.

Accelerate Your Time to Hire -- Now

Is your firm’s engineering ‘orchestra’ well-staffed & managed? Can it both conceive and release top-hit products to keep your firm as an industry headliner?

If not, why not schedule a complimentary 45 minute free consult session?  We can together review your specific recruitment needs and better understand what’s holding your firm back from a successful hire. I’m certain I can provide you with two or three ideas that can improve your firm’s performance.

If your needs are time-sensitive, we can source & present you with well-qualified candidates for open engineering positions in thirty days, or less. That’s guaranteed in our Statement of Work. Our clients can fill that those missing vital employee positions needed to more reliably accelerate their product releases.

Most leaders simply call me at 702.623.0443, or email me directly:

Battle of Coral Sea’s Relevance to Your Business

Non-withstanding the profusion of information on the Internet and available through service providers (including private service providers, like CB Insights, Hoover’s, & Reuters), firms can still have weaknesses similar to that of the Imperial Japanese Navy:

  • Major initiatives can become watered down, due to the absence of clearly ranked priorities that are understood & executed by management & staff at all levels;
  • Specific, measurable objectives cannot be met, given inadequate staff and material assets assigned to projects;
  • Delays to milestone attainment is not factored into revising engineering tactics, or re-calibrating the risks & rewards of a given strategy;
  • An intense focus on one’s own strategies can blind activities concurrently taking place with competitors; and
  • Jeopardizing loss of key employees, by placing them on high risk, low success assignments, that can increase the chance they will depart for more attractive assignments elsewhere.

Having reliable leaders, managers and innovative engineers can make all the difference in whether you will be defeated in future battles with your rivals. What’s it costing you being under-staffed, with repeated delays to product release dates? Have you trimmed your scouting resources to better assess your ill-defined competitors? Have you a plan to source your critical engineering leadership and senior technical staff vacancies? Your next battle may arrive sooner than expected, while these key questions remain unresolved.

Your next battle may arrive sooner than expected, while key strategic questions remain unresolved.

Your Partners in Retained Search
Giving You a Competitive Technical Recruiting Advantage

Minda & Alfredo Hannenberg
Principals & Senior Recruiters
Informative People Inc.

© Copyright 2017 Informative People Inc.

Subscribe to Our Weekly Blog

Starting in June, we cover topics that we feel can inspire, and encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. Many of our blogs will segue into recruiting issues, processes and recommended action. Others will cover business strategies in general and team building.

We know key employees leave their companies when their firm’s leadership repeatedly falters. Common themes we hear from our candidates include:

  • limited or no feedback on their performance
  • inattention to project issues raised by team members
  • inadequate staff or material provided
  • no realistic goal setting
  • no consistent personal career or team success

What we find is that the above themes commonly appear in wars and in sports. They also are seen by inventors as obstructions that need to be confronted head on. So we decided to cover battles, inventors experience, and sports for the first three weeks of each month. Something was missing though. Time away from work that was valued by some of the most successful inventors and business leaders early this century. Thanks to a trip to the Thomas Edison Museum in Fort Myers Florida earlier this year, we were reminded of the incredible value of active idea sharing. Edison, Firestone, and Ford shared campfires together. We should too!

Something was missing though. Time away from work that was valued by some of the most successful inventors and business leaders early this century. Thanks to a trip to the Thomas Edison Museum in Fort Myers Florida earlier this year, we were reminded of the incredible value of active idea sharing. Edison, Firestone, and Ford shared ideas and campfires together. We should too!

What’s in store each month:

Week 1 — We cover military history. There are numerous parallels to operating a business, beating adversaries that may have more resources available, but have chinks in their armor. We go after those chinks.
Week 2 – We profile an inventor who has profoundly and positively changed our lives. Look for takeaways on how these individuals like Glenn Curtiss–The Father of Naval Aviation don’t fit the typical HR job requirements mold. How do you make ensure your firm doesn’t turn away exceptionally talented individuals?
Week 3 — We shift into sports that are relevant to what’s going on today. We at times find Giants that are not readily recognized or appreciated. We look at these game changers.
Week 4 — Engineering & Science needs inspiration outside the confines of our ‘normal’ work. It’s not far away & can be fun.
Week 5 — We look back on recent blogs, adding latent observations, examining connections that cross business, engineering, the sciences and the arts. If you missed previous weeks, it’s easy to see what you may have missed.


Minda and I attended earlier this month a terrific Memorial Day performance at UNLV. This included audience participation, popping paper bag ‘cannons’ during the 1812 Overture. We hope you too can celebrate and honor the many men and women that helped preserve the liberties we hold so dear, in the United States Armed Services.

Thank you and your families–both past and present for their service!