While competitive intelligence is not a kind business function, it is a necessary one, and we can be kind people when we bring cooperative intelligence practices into our work. Cooperative intelligence is kindness: you give without an expectation of something in return. People realize that you genuinely want to help them in their work. After all, competitive intelligence is a support function. You need to keep giving, and eventually those in your network of contacts will support you by sharing great tidbits on the competitive environment since your giving is infectious, and they just can’t help themselves. People are attracted to you by your good example of producing the goods they need and your giving attitude.
Being ready when a crisis hits is a huge competitive advantage! Scenario planning is a great exercise to flesh out which crises you should be prepared for. If you wait until the crisis hits, it’s too late, especially in today’s real-time world! While the more sensational story was around NCBA’s involvement in the Oprah Winfrey show in 1996, I more appreciated how NCBA implemented its risk management strategy when Mad Cow entered the US on Dec 23, 2003, and believe they reacted in a way that reflects cooperative intelligence principles.
How many companies say “Our Employees are Our Most Important Asset,” but their actions don’t match these hollow words? This is not the case at Southwest Airlines, where employees are valued in all phases of their relationship with the company’s management, and provide the company its competitive advantage!
The simple idea behind design thinking is that leaders need two key traits: the exploratory innovative to produce great ideas, and the analytical that exploits the business, improves the offering, and develops the right processes to gain market share. he ideas behind design thinking are well expressed in Roger Martin’s The Design of Business. Think of both the learning and the discovery process as moving through a knowledge funnel. People need to apply analysis and creative thinking at different points within that funnel. Morton suggests that to develop your design mind, broaden your “personal knowledge system.” Design thinking and operating can give your company and you a competitive advantage since they provide a good balance between innovation and operational excellence and often uncover business and individual blind spots. What a competitive advantage!