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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

Do you really need all your employees?

Linda and Marion were comparing notes on the difficulties of running a small business.

"I started a new practice last year," Linda said. "I insist that each of my employees take at least a week off every three months."

"Why in the world would you do that?" Marion asked.

"It's the best way I know of to learn which ones I can do without," Linda replied.

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

Making assumptions.

A standard phrase heard all the time is I assume that....
This often really means I haven't a clue but I am guessing that....
It's OK when you get it right, but not when you get it wrong. A golden rule before "assuming anything" is to think of the letters that make up the word assume. Whenever you make an assumption and get it wrong - you will have made an Ass of u and me.

Wise Owl

Keys to better relationships

The Six Most Important Words: I admit that I was wrong.
The Five Most Important: You did a great job
The Four Most Important: What do you think?
The Three Most Important: Could you please?
The Two Most Important: Thank you.
The Most Important: We.
The Least Important: I

Wise Owl

Rules of Work

1) Never walk without a document in your hands.

People with documents in their hands look like hardworking employees heading for important meetings. People with nothing in their hands look like they're heading to the staff restaurante or the coffee machine. Worse though is to walk with a newspaper. People with a newspaper in their hand look like they are heading to the bathroom. If you have to read a newspaper, read it at your desk holding a pair of scissors or a highlighter pen. That way people will think that you are working and looking for suitable articles to add to the company clipping service.

This rule about carrying documents is especially important when leaving work at the end of the day. Make sure that you are seen to carry loads of stuff home - giving the impression that you work much longer hours than you do.

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: Entrance

Quick Tip

Robert Smith was devastated.

As the owner of a small retail business selling various groceries he had always recognised the threat posed by major supermarket chains such as Tesco, Walmart, Carrefour and the like. Now a branch of Tesco had opened next door, and business was tailing off.

He told all his friends how worried he was - and that things couldn't possibly be worse. And then a branch of Walmart opened on the other side. Robert now told friends that he expected to be out of business within the year.

His friends were really surprised when they met him a few months later - getting out of a top-range Mercedes wearing an expensive suit and with a big smile on his face.
We thought business was so bad that you were about to go bankrupt. What happened?

Robert replied: Well that is what I thought. And then I remembered that one secret to effective marketing is to make sure that your potential customers know where to find you. So I changed the name of my company. Come and look!"

Robert's friends followed him to his shop, sandwiched between Tesco and Walmart. Over the front, the new name was posted in big neon letters ENTRANCE

How do you promote your business? Can potential customers find you? Do your marketing promotions send people away, or invite them to come and buy. You need to ensure that all your marketing promotions allow customers to enter.

(For more marketing and business humour, visit our humour pages)

 

Books - Competitors (Fahey)

Recommended Book

Competitive-Intelligence-in-the-UK
Competitive Intelligence: Gathering, Analysing and Putting it to Work
Christopher Murphy
Buy UK £ or US$

Read our review of this book

If you are interested in learning about competitive intelligence with a UK / European focus then this book is for you. Most books on CI are written by US authors and take a US perspective. They fail to note the significant differences between what is available in the US and Europe and the UK. For example, in the US the US Freedom of Information Act is key for finding a lot of information. Such legislation has only recently been enacted in the UK and the type of information available is more limited. In contrast, financial information is much easier to obtain in the UK than the US. Murphy's book redresses the balance and fills a gap in guiding the CI newcomer on how to gather CI in Europe.

One of the best sections is a detailed examination of the sources and types of financial CI information that can be obtained within the UK. In fact I think this is unique. Of all the CI books I've read - none give anything like the same depth on this crucial topic.

For a thorough review of this book check out FreePint's book review.

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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.

One technique that works is Win-loss analysis. This is perhaps the single most overlooked, yet valuable, technique in the competitive intelligence arsenal.

When you lose a client find out the reason why - not just what the salesperson says, but the real reason. Follow up with the lost client to find out why they switched, to whom and how their new supplier compares. Do the same when you win a customer - why did they choose you in preference to other options in the market. The information gathered can show what you are doing well and where you are failing. It can help you understand competitor strategies and tactics - how they sell, what their targets are, their pricing, and so on. The only drawback is that it can be difficult for a company to call up lost clients themselves - and that's where AWARE can help.

For more information on Win-Loss analysis, 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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