Countries spend a lot of time, energy and money trying to understand their enemies. Intelligence organizations, scores of analysts, spies, and satellites all working to understand what others are up to. After Vietnam, the Gulf War, 9/11 and countless others, the narrative has been “If we only knew more about them, if we only had more information about our advisories, more spies on the ground, more satellite images, more intercepted communications, more of everything - we would have been better off.”* In the United States, 1271 government organizations are dedicated to counter terrorism. We have 1931 private companies doing the same work. 854,000 Americans have a top secret security clearance and since 2011 in Washington DC alone, we have built 17 million square feet of office space to house intelligence operations. 17 million square feet.** In state craft and in business, you can know everything there is to know about your enemy, but it still won’t solve your problem.
I often take the mindset of an underdog against the big national pest control companies. For me, I’ve always felt like I needed to know just a little bit about the ‘enemy’ but to obsess about Sprague. If we were to act as our intelligence community does, we would miss the details internally and potentially loose the long game. We might not have the resources of big pest control companies, their network or their money, but we will beat them with our service, our locality and our values. If we focus on doing great work, improving ourselves and upholding our values, that will take us where we want to be.