Insight Into the Marketplace
It's important to be situationally aware in three areas: 1. the role that you seek. Sales, Project Management or Product Management. One should be conversant with the tools of the trade. Of course, the Internet offers a wealth of such information. 2. the industry of the company that you are pursuing. One should research both the company and its competitors. 3. the marketplace and the economy, as all companies of all sizes are affected by macro and micro economic conditions, e.g. what does the EU Brexit mean to us all?
With so much information available all of the time, it is easy to know a sentence or two about many topics and not be able to understand the interrelationships of important topics. I consider this to be the CNN or CNBC or USA Today approach where one hears the headlines without analysis of the foundation of the story.
My personal approach was to read consistently what I felt that my customers were reading.
As I called on international financial institutions for most of my technology sales career, I read the Wall Street Journal for 30 years. I stopped when I felt that it became the printed version of Fox News, owner of the WSJ, and no longer provided a balanced point of view. You may feel otherwise about this publication. My on-going sources of personal, professional insight were and remain The New York Times, The Economist and the The New Yorker. I read these publications daily and weekly and over time I've learned how to read these publications, i.e. what are my priority sections in case that time is short.
You may find other publications better suited to your role, company and industry. Whichever are your preferred briefing materials, it is important that you are able to inform your profession with insight and opinion about what influences your business.
In the same week recently, I heard a retired submarine captain say, "Readers are Leaders" and a retired IBM executive say to a class of newly hired MBA graduates, "Readers are Achievers."