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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

AWARE Competitive Intelligence - Showing business blindspots through humour

The KISS Theory of Management

It is always an idea to keep things simple - as expressed by the abbreviation KISS. I have heard a number of explanations for what KISS stands for. Take your pick ;-)

  • Keep It Simple and Sexy
  • Keep It Simple and Straight
  • Keep It Sweet and Simple
  • Keep It Simple Stupid
  • Keep It Simple for the Suckers.

(Of the five options, the last one is dangerous if used by a company to describe their sales process and view of customers. This is a typical business blindspot i.e. the customer is too stupid to assess what is really going on. The others are almost the reverse - in that they emphasise the importance of keeping things plain and simple, rather than hide behind complexity - another business blindspot!)

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

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.

Wise Owl

Quick Tip: Frog in well

Quick Tip

We think too small, like the frog at the bottom of the well. He thinks the sky is only as big as the top of the well. If he surfaced, he would have an entirely different view.(Attributed to Mao Zedung).

What is your perspective on your business environment? Are you missing opportunities because you only see your immediate industry or geographic location, when there could be new opportunities slightly further away or in related industries?


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.

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.

AWARE Phone numbers: 0845 430 9125 (International: +44 20 8954 9121). Fax: 0845 430 9126 (International: +44 20 8954 2102) AIIP

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Last page / site update: Sunday, April 7, 2013

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