Competitive & Marketing Intelligence Resources
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.
Famous People - Next Job Interviews
Julius Caesar - My last job involved a lot of office politics and back stabbing. I'd like to get away from all that.
Jesse James - I can list among my experience and skills:
- extensive travel,
- logistical organization,
- intimate understanding of firearms,
- a knowledge of security measures at numerous banks.
Lucretia Borgia - My greatest accomplishment? after I took over the department, our competition just seemed to drop out of sight one by one.
Pandora - I can bring a lot to your company. I like discovering new things.
Genghis Khan - My primary talent is downsizing. On my last job, I downsized my staff, my organization, and the populations of several countries.
Macbeth - Would I go after my boss's job? Do I look like the kind of guy who would knock off his boss for a promotion?
Lady Godiva - What do mean this isn't business casual?
Elvis - My last boss and I... say, are you going to eat those fries?
Just because the Resume / CV looks good does not mean it wasn't embellished. And even if the interview went well, the candidate could have lied. Rather than take the risk, take up the references!
Are you lonely?
Then why not hold a meeting?
- Do you work on your own?
- Do you hate having to make decisions?
- You can get to see other people.
- You can sleep in peace.
- You can delegate all your work to others.
- Decisions will be made and you won't have to take the blame when they go wrong.
- Arrange a meeting at lunch time and you won't even have to worry about what to eat!
Meetings - the way to make business seem easy!
The Mushroom Theory of Management
Keep all employees in the dark and feed them sh*t!
Another month ends
All targets met.
All systems working.
All customers satisfied.
Staff eager and enthusiastic.
Pigs fed and ready to fly!
However important it is to keep records, a culture that expects everything to be sorted at month-end is dangerous. Another example is where management set unrealistic targets, (perhaps even with penalties if they are not met). All that happens is that people "invent" or exaggerate what is happening, manipulating information so that it matches what management has asked for. Over time this becomes embedded in the culture - another blindspot.
Benjamin Disraeli is reputed to have said: "There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics". Companies spend a lot of time using statistics to show what is happening - but is this real and objective or just wishful thinking and subjective?
- If you're bidding on a job for UPS, don't send your bid by FedEx.
- If your computer says, "Printer out of Paper," the problem cannot be resolved by continuously clicking the "OK" button.
- If you want your refrigerator's ice maker to work, you need to hook it to a water source.
Air doesn't make good ice unless it is mixed with water.
- No matter how much data you add to your laptop computer, it will not get heavier. (And also the reverse: deleting lots of files will not make it any lighter)
- When your PC says "You have mail," don't go to the company mail room and look for a package.
- The French version of Internet Explorer doesn't translate English language web pages into French.
- If you're in the armed services, and it's April 1st, and you get an e-mail message to call Colonel Sanders for new orders, don't.
- If you go to the computer store to buy a mousepad, you don't have to specify whether it's for a Windows or a Macintosh.
Rules of Work
4) Your look
Always try and look impatient and annoyed - this gives the impression that you are are extremely busy on important, yet difficult, work.
Sigh loudly when people pass by. This gives the impression that you are under enormous work pressure.
If you work in a big open plan office, make sure that you have two jackets. Always leave a spare jacket over the back of your seat. This gives the impression that you are in the office - throughout lunch, early in the morning and late in the evening, when actually you'd left early to watch a football game.
Based on ideas from BBC Television's The Office. For further rules of work and office humour, bookmark this page and visit again soon.
Quick Tip: Deadly Sins
The Seven Deadly Business Sins
1) Greed - Are you satisfied with what you've achieved or are you always seeking more, and never consolidating and strengthening what you currently have?
2) Opinion - Do you ever dismiss ideas without analysis? There have been many opportunities that were missed because opinionated management failed to see the wider picture.
3) Routine - Just because something worked in the past does not mean that it will continue to work in the future.
4) Emotion - Is the reason for your decision based on analysis, or emotion? Many managers are driven by their fears and desires without ever stopping to justify the reason for their fear or hatred or love. Often these prove to be unjustified and unjustifiable.
5) Ego - Do you make decisions because you are the cleverest, the biggest, the market leader? Are you obsessed with your own image and abilities? Many leaders in the past also thought that they were invincible. A quick look at history shows that they were not!
6) Success - Over-confidence is dangerous and can blind you to competitors seeking to emulate your success.
7) Hope - Can you justify your reasons why things will improve, or are you just burying your head in the sand, and refusing to see reality?
These seven deadly business sins are based on some work by Ben Gilad, one of the foremost Competitive Intelligence experts. Businesses need to understand their blindspots - what they would rather not see, and work to remove them. Each of these seven sins is a type of blindspot if it dominates the thinking within the company. It's OK to have each to a certain degree, balanced by the others. (All businesses need to believe in themselves, have hope, aim to make money....). The problem is when one aspect starts to govern the way things are done in the company, preventing rational and logical thought.