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.
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.
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?
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
Rules of Work
3) Voice Mail
Never answer your phone. People don't call you because they want to give you something for nothing. They call you because they want you to do work for them. By not answering your phone and letting all calls go to voice mail you can screen the calls.
If somebody sends you a voice mail message that sounds like it will result in work, then respond during the lunch break or when you know the caller will not be there. It'll look as if you are hardworking and conscientous - even though you're actually shirking work.
Based on ideas from BBC Television's The Office. For further rules of work and office humour, bookmark this page and visit again soon.