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!
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.
A matter of interpretation.
- When I take a long time - I am slow.
- When my boss takes a long time - he is thorough.
- When I don't do it - I am lazy.
- When my boss doesn't do it - he is too busy.
- When I do something without being told - I am trying to be smart.
- When my boss does the same - that is initiative.
- When I please my boss - I am creeping.
- When my boss pleases his boss - he is co-operating
- When I do good - my boss never remembers.
- When I do wrong - he never forgets.
Another version - this time from a more feminist perspective (?) was passed to us as an E-mail from the "Cab Lady" in Singapore. The original was by Katherine S. Beamer. It can, however, be made more general - just change some of the words: man could become "lazy employee" while a woman could become "the boss". It doesn't work totally - but it illustrates how some people view work and others.
- A man is a person who, if a woman says, Never mind, I'll do it myself, lets her.
- A woman is a person who, if she says to a man, Never mind, I'll do it myself, and he lets her, gets mad.
- A man is a person who, if a woman says to him, Never mind, I'll do it myself, and he lets her and she gets mad, says, Now what are you mad about?
- A woman is a person who, if she says to a man, Never mind, I'll do it myself, and he lets her and she gets mad, and he says, Now what are you mad about? says If you don't know I'm not going to tell you.
Rules of Work
5) Leave the office late
Always leave the office late, especially when the boss is still around. (If you do have to leave before your boss, make sure you walk pass his office on your way out so that he sees how late you are leaving). You could read magazines and books that you always wanted to read, or write letters to friends and family - just be there and look busy.
Send important emails at unearthly hours (9.35pm, 7.07am, etc.) and during public holidays. You may even be able to set your computer to do this for you by changing the time or date on the system clock - sending the email just before leaving - and then putting the clock back to the normal time.
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: History
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.