Introduction to Competitive Intelligence

Over the years very little has changed in the competitive intelligence (CI) process, while the execution of the collection phase has changed remarkably over the 20+ years I have been in the business with the advent of the Internet in all its iterations, e-mail, text messaging and more recently through social networks. This also affects counterintelligence, since it is easier for your competitors—or anyone who is interested enough—to dig up information about your company that you consider proprietary.

Are Associations Going the Way of Print Media?: Part II

This post focuses association chapters, the grass roots of associations, which are often the step-children in the association world since they don’t product revenue, and many don’t even break even. We are adapting our chapter meeting venue to the reality of today’s dispersed and busy workforce. We are co-hosting a meeting with the Denver APMP chapter on Sept. 25 at 3 p.m. where people will have 3 choices for connection. for details.

Key Insights to Be a Better Leader in Today’s World

Here are my takeaways from this leadership session sponsored by Sustainable Business Group. We all have a tendency towards a particular leadership style. A good manager is flexible and uses the right style to be effective at the appropriate time. It’s also good to employ people whose styles you lack to keep balance in the workplace. Empathy is the foundation of emotional intelligence regardless of your culture. “Nobody cares what you know until they know you care.”

Gain Cooperative Intelligence through ‘Being There’

I just read a fabulous article by Ulla de Stricker entitled “Creating Influence through ‘Being There’ published in SLA’s July/Aug 2009 edition of Information Outlook. While the article targets librarians and information professionals, most of Ulla’s ideas benefit anyone, including competitive intelligence managers. I notice they also align with the practices of cooperative intelligence–especially cooperative leadership and cooperative connection.

Honoring Edward “Ted” Kennedy: Cooperative Statesman

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country!” While this quote came from his older, brother, former President John F. Kennedy, I believe Ted Kennedy lived this quote for at least the 47 years that he was a senator from Massachusetts.

Contrasting the Traits of Good Product Managers & Competitive Intelligence Managers

Many of the traits that make a good product manager also make a good competitive intelligence manager. Like product managers, competitive intelligence professionals rely on others in their company for support who do not report to them. The best product managers need to understand the customer’s world. Don’t filter customer’s input based on what you believe. A common question product managers ask executives is “what keeps you up at night?” to get focused on what the executive needs immediately. While CEOs may be critical of product managers, they expect leaders to have product management experience. This sure isn’t the case with competitive intelligence, a key skill, which is not a pre-requisite for the executive suite!

How Executives Find & Value Information

A recent Forbes survey of 354 executives at large US companies indicates that competitor analysis is the most critical area for research. The Internet is valued more than any other information source, including internal, external and personal contacts as well as newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, conferences and trade shows. Connecting with the executive suite has always been a challenge for competitive intelligence professionals, but now that they can access information so readily, it’s even worse since it can give one a false sense of power! Today more than ever, we need to help our executives realize the value of accurate, insightful intelligence–which is NOT posted on the Internet!

Deloitte Shift Index Findings: Global Collaboration Will Improve Business Competitiveness

The Deloitte Center for the Edge recently got my attention with its findings that competition is intensifying globally with a US return on assets dropping consistently across 15 different industries by 75% over the last 40 years! The Shift Index consists of 3 indices: Foundation, Flow and Impact, plus 25 other metrics that together quantify the stock, pace and implications for change. Successful firms will shift from what’s worked in the past, scalable efficiency to scalable learning.

Think Apple Computer when you think about a successful company by these “Shift Index” standards. It’s no coincidence that Apple customers enjoy the experience of using its products. I think a lot of what this long-term study concludes with is what good competitive intelligence has been preaching for YEARS. Keep reaching out and connecting both internally and externally and build on the intelligence you gather. Stay connected with people through all the means technology allows you to reach them. Isn’t this the foundation of a good early warning system?

Jeffrey Immelt’s Ideas on Renewing America’s Competitiveness

Jeff Immelt, GE’s visionary and innovative Chairman & CEO thinks the US needs to create an industrial renewal as follows:
1. Invest in new technology
2. Win where it counts in Clean Energy and Affordable Healthcare
3. Become a country that’s good at manufacturing and exports
4. Embrace public/private partnerships
5. Encourage leaders that are also good citizens
He concludes that as “Business leaders we are responsible for the competitiveness of our own country.” The US is at a competitive disadvantage globally since its private and public sectors are often at odds and do not cooperate like they do in most other countries in the world!

Todd Wille, Turnaround Leader Extraordinaire, A Cooperative Leader

Read this remarkable turnaround success story about how Todd Wille’s cooperative leadership and management brought back the customers to Unify Corporation and boosted the morale of the workforce during a very difficult time when the company was under investigation from fraud, they were almost bankrupt, and it seemed like all they could do was fail! I applaud Todd Wille, winner of the 2008 turnaround executive award!