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Competitive & Marketing Intelligence Resources
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

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:

  • leadership,
  • 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!

Wise Owl

Meetings

Are you lonely?

  • Do you work on your own?
  • Do you hate having to make decisions?
Then why not hold a meeting?
  • 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!

Wise Owl

The Mushroom Theory of Management

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

Wise Owl

Top-Down Planning?

In the beginning was the plan and then came the assumptions and the assumptions were without form and the plan was without substance and the darkness was upon the face of the workers and they spoke amongst themselves saying "It is a crock of sh*t, and it stinketh".

  1. And the workers went to their supervisors and said
    It is a pail of dung and none can stand the odour that rises from it.
  2. And the supervisors went unto the managers and said
    It is a container of excrement and it is very strong, such that none can come near.
  3. And the managers went to their directors saying
    It is a vessel of fertiliser and none can stand its strength.
  4. And the directors spoke among themselves saying to one another
    It contains that which aids plant growth and it is very strong.
  5. And the directors went unto the vice-presidents and said
    It promotes growth and is very powerful.
  6. And the vice-presidents went to the President and said to him
    This new plan will actively promote the growth and efficiency of this company.
  7. And the President looked on the plan and saw that it was good, and the plan became policy.

The above story, unfortunately, is typical of the way many companies work. Rather than listening and communicating honestly, different levels within the organization pass on only what more senior management want to hear. This way the truth disappears, and policies are made that ignore reality - a classical business blindspot. This tends to go hand-in-hand with the Mushroom Theory of Management above.

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

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.

Wise Owl

Quick Tip: Questions

Quick Tip

A key competitive intelligence skill is the ability to distinguish what you do know from what you don't know. The effort is then to find out sources for the unknown information - as the great English writer, Dr Samuel Johnson said:

Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.

Unfortunately even with the knowledge there can be problems. Lewis Branscomb - the US physicist and Harvard management professor once said:

People rarely distinguish among data, information, knowledge, and wisdom. But they are as different from each other and as interlocking as starch molecules, flour, bread, and the flavorful memory of a superb morning croissant.

The aim of competitive & marketing intelligence is to turn data into something that can lead to competitive advantage in the same way that your morning croissant or loaf of bread depends on flour and water interacting to make something that is more than just a mixture of the raw ingredients.

 

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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Competitive Intelligence?

We offer in-house Competitive Intelligence Training, customised to your requirements.
Find out about our training services today!


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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