Don’t just wonder who moved your cheese, keep and eye on who might eat your lunch. Competitors are always looking to eat our lunch. It is a tough world out there, however you define it. That’s why leaders are so concerned with changes in market share and sales volume.

But there are two other threats leaders need also to be concerned about: cannibals and crows.

Cannibals are those that eat our lunch from the inside. They sink competitiveness by having a lop-sided focus on what is going on inside the company. They are highly competitive, but the focus is internal instead of external. Silos, turf, individual business unit P&L, and bonuses are typically top of mind to the exclusion of larger company opportunities. One wonders to what extent companies like GE or Wells Fargo suffered from internal pressures versus the external.

Crows are examples of opportunistic animals that can take our lunch when are not looking. We can lose opportunities when we are distracted or not paying sufficient attention. The problem here is that we may not even know that the opportunity was there before it is gone. How many great ideas do you imagine fly the coop, because of leaders being swamped with the day to day?

While it is no great honor to lose to the competition, it is the way of the world. Sometimes the competition is just better. Losing out to cannibals (inappropriately applied competition) or crows (lack of attention), well that’s just a cryin’ shame.