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Business Humour


Businesses (and people) over time develop habits and patterns of working. Sometimes these will lead to success, but often they can stop management from seeing reality - especially when the business environment changes.

A successful competitive intelligence programme will identify these business blindspots - both in the company itself, and in its competitors. Taking advantage of competitor blindspots is a major way that a company can beat its competitors, so it is crucial to understand one's own blindspots so as to protect oneself from possible attack.

One way to illustrate business problems is through humour. Humour allows businesses to take a step back and see a problem applied to a situation that appears different to their own. However on deeper examination, one can sometimes see similar behaviour in the organization - thus highlighting a possible blindspot.

Humour is just one technique for showing blindspots. Others include the use of drama workshops and story-telling, or war-gaming where the business environment is modelled and management try and take an external look at their and their competitor situations. This page gives examples of business humour that may seem amusing but have a grain of truth to them. (If you know of other similar items please contact us and if we like them, then we will add them - with an author credit if desired. We also plan to change stories on a regular basis - as we come across suitable items - so bookmark this page and revisit for further examples of business humour.)

Most of the following stories and office "theories" are anonymous. That does not mean that they lack validity - and in fact there are a number of lessons relevant to general business, marketing and competitive intelligence that can be learned from them.

Wise Owl

Make sure you understand your information sources

A film crew was on location deep in the desert.

One day an old Indian went up to the director and said, "Tomorrow rain." The next day it rained.

A week later, the Indian went up to the director and said, "Tomorrow storm." The next day there was a hailstorm.

"This Indian is incredible," said the director.

He told his secretary to hire the Indian to predict the weather for the remaining of the shoot. However, after several successful predictions, the old Indian didn't show up for two weeks. Finally the director sent for him.

"I have to shoot a big scene tomorrow," said the director, "and I'm depending on you. What will the weather be like?"

The Indian shrugged his shoulders. "Don't know," he said. "My radio is broken."

One Moral: Make sure that you fully understand your sources of information - and any drawbacks or weaknesses associated with them, before using them for any major plans.

Wise Owl

Rules of Work.

  • It doesn't matter what you do, it only matters what you say you've done and what you're going to do.
  • When the bosses talk about improving productivity, they are never talking about themselves.
  • Everything can be filed under "miscellaneous."
  • Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn't the work he/she is supposed to be doing.
  • If it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would get done.
  • The last person that quit or was fired will be held responsible for everything that goes wrong.

Wise Owl

The Mushroom Theory of Management

Keep all employees in the dark and feed them sh*t!

Wise Owl

AWARE Competitive Intelligence - Showing business blindspots through humour

The KISS Theory of Management

It is always an idea to keep things simple - as expressed by the abbreviation KISS. I have heard a number of explanations for what KISS stands for. Take your pick ;-)

  • Keep It Simple and Sexy
  • Keep It Simple and Straight
  • Keep It Sweet and Simple
  • Keep It Simple Stupid
  • Keep It Simple for the Suckers.

(Of the five options, the last one is dangerous if used by a company to describe their sales process and view of customers. This is a typical business blindspot i.e. the customer is too stupid to assess what is really going on. The others are almost the reverse - in that they emphasise the importance of keeping things plain and simple, rather than hide behind complexity - another business blindspot!)

Wise Owl

Job Advertisement translator

What they say

What they really mean

A highly visible position

We can't afford any office partitions, let alone offices

Flexible Hours Work 40 hours

Plus whatever your supervisor asks you to.

Duties will vary

Anyone in the office can boss you around.

Must have an eye for detail.

We have no quality control to speak of

No phone calls please.

We've filled the job. This ad is just a legal formality

Seeking candidates with a wide variety of experience.

You'll need it to replace three people who just left

Seeking candidates who require little or no supervision

You're on your own here; sink or swim.

Problem-solving skills a must.

This is a company in perpetual chaos and turmoil.

Requires team-leadership skills

You'll have the manager's responsibilities, without the pay

Good communication skills.

Management communicate, you listen, figure out what they want.

Ability to handle a heavy workload.

Whine or complain and you're fired!

Rules of Work

2) Messy Desks

Senior management can get away with clean desks. For anybody else it looks as if you are not working hard enough. Build huge piles of documents around your workspace. To the casual observer, last year's work looks the same as today's work. It's the volume that counts. So pile the papers high and spread them wide.

Even better, put lots of books on the floor to make it look like you are working on something major. Thick computer manuals are one possibility.

If you know somebody is going to visit your desk, bury the document you need halfway down an existing stack and rummage through it with purpose when he/she arrives.

Based on ideas from BBC Television's The Office. For further rules of work and office humour, bookmark this page and visit again soon.

Wise Owl

Quick Tip: History

Quick Tip

After you've heard two eyewitness accounts of an automobile accident it makes you wonder about history.

A key part of competitive intelligence is ensuring that the information you use is valid. Making decisions on inaccurate, out-of-date, subjective or biased information will result in poor strategies that could risk your future. The problem is, how do you check that the information you receive is correct? It is not just a case of believing what you read in the newspapers.

One approach you should take is to think about why the information is actually available. Information does not enter the public domain (which is where ethical CI focuses) without a reason. Understanding the reason is one step in checking the information's validity, and identifying what is really going on.

Ideally, you should also look for further sources that corroborate the information prior to making a decision.

This kind of analysis is what helps turn data into intelligence that can be used in business decision making.

 

Books - Co-opertition

Recommended Book

Smart Services
Co-opetition : 1. a revolutionary mindset that redefines competition and cooperation; 2. the game theory strategy that's changing the game of business
Adam M Brandenburger & Barry J Nalebuff
Buy UK £ or US$

Read our review of this book

Michael Porter described this book as "the most important single contribution" in taking his original ideas on ways of achieving competitive advantage forward. The book is easy to read, inexpensive and contains numerous ideas to help reshape and challenge thought processes. The writers develop Porter's 5 forces model, and introduce a sixth force. They emphasise the strategic advantages of co-operation and look at game theory as a way of approaching business strategy.

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For more recommendations visit our book selection.

 

Competitive Intelligence Training

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Finding Competitive Intelligence using Online Sources

AWARE consultants are experts at discovering competitor information online and have developed a market-leading course on Finding Competitive Intelligence using Online Sources. This course has been given as an in-house course to numerous companies across industries (IT, publishing, telecoms, chemicals....) and countries, as well as publicly at SCIP annual and European conferences, the London International Online Information Conferences and other similar events.

The workshop has received high praise for its unique approach to finding competitive intelligence on the Internet. The workshop - available as a half-day summary, full day or 2-day in-depth training course with extensive practical online sessions - teaches attendees how to find actionable competitive intelligence rather than just present a list of sources that quickly date. Like all AWARE's in-house training, the course can be customised to focus on industry or competitive area.

For more information on this workshop and how it can help you become a more effective Internet researcher check out our Competitive Intelligence Training and ask us about our courses on finding CI information.

 

Institute of Competitive Intelligence


ICI holds regular public training courses & workshops on a range of competitive intelligence related topics. Courses take place across Europe, the USA, India and elsewhere - and are offered in English, German, French and Spanish.

The next UK based ICI courses will take place in March 2012 in central London with further courses in Autumn 2012.

Course Schedule
If you register 40 days in advance, deduct 5% from total fees.

Further information on the Institute of Competitive Intelligence.

 

Competitive Intelligence on a budget

Many businesses think that competitive intelligence research is expensive and hard to do. This is not true. It is quite possible to uncover crucial competitive intelligence without spending large sums.

Visiting industry trade-shows and conferences is a fantastic way to find out what is happening. However there is much more to trade show intelligence than just picking up the competitors' marketing materials. You can discuss what is happening in the industry with sales people on competitor stands and hear opinion leaders at floor-show seminars.

At a trade-show, competitor sales people are generally willing to talk to anybody - including their competitors. They will want to boast about what they are doing and how. What they refuse to say can be as informative as what they do say - and so trade shows present a golden opportunity for gathering intelligence on the whole marketplace in one go - making for fast and efficient intelligence gathering. If you feel uncomfortable doing this yourself or want to know how to do it better, ask us.

For more information on Trade Show Intelligence, and how to do competitive intelligence on a budget, contact us today on +44 20 8954 9121 or .


Our services in competitive intelligence research, competitor analysis and CI training will help you integrate and use competitive and marketing intelligence in your business, strategic and marketing planning processes. Whether you need research, advice or training, our mission is to support our clients so that they achieve their growth objectives.

For the best UK & European competitive intelligence and competitor analysis services, contact us today.

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Last page / site update: Sunday, April 7, 2013

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