Develop Proactive Competitive Intelligence through Business Blindspot Analysis & Executive Personality Profiling

I attended SLA’s annual conference in DC last week where I was reminded about the slow death of print media as I walked around the exhibit hall and noted how much more information is imparted digitally.

I taught a couple of courses on competitive intelligence analytical tools. In the spirit of cooperative intelligence I will share two analytical tools and how using them together can be empowering: business blindspots and executive personality profiling to predict where a company is going, and will use these tools to illustrate the slow death of print media.

In business blindspots, you seek to uncover the biases of your company, competitors or co-workers and recognize that you have them too. We all have blind spots based on our experience in life! When you combine this with executive personality profiling, you can come up with some insightful conclusions.

Here’s one that surprised me. I have been a Wall Street Journal subscriber of both the print and on-line editions for many years. News Corporation’s Rupert Murdoch acquired The Wall Street Journal in Dec. 2007. He has revamped the paper to vie more directly against the New York Times in content. In fact I even get almost the identical on-line news alerts from both papers within minutes of each other.

Here’s News Corporation’s blindspot: they thought I would pay over $400 per year for the print version of The Wall Street Journal when I paid $199 last time which included on-line access. Maybe they thought business people wouldn’t notice since their companies pay for their subscription. Like many I watch how I spend my money in these tentative economic times. I let my subscription lapse.

At a time when on-line media is gaining on print media, and we have a recession The Wall Street Journal raised its price! I couldn’t believe it and wondered what weed they were smoking…that is until recently when I got an invitation to subscribe to both the print and on-line versions of The Wall Street Journal for $149 per year. Presumably they had lost some market share with their inflated rates, and not just to digital media!

If you research & analyze Murdoch’s personality and leadership, you would expect him to intend to improve the profitability of The Wall Street Journal since it has not been contributing to Dow Jones’ profitability in recent times. However, you would also learn that Murdoch is a savvy businessman and is into his media investments for the long-term.

When I decided to discontinue my subscription, I strongly suspected that I would get a better deal, and I did. If I didn’t I wasn’t going to read The Wall Street Journal since I do read the New York Times on-line. I wonder how many subscribers walked like I did and didn’t renew even at the lower rates since they were so incensed by The Wall Street Journal’s doubling of its rate in one year when many of our 401K accounts have been reduced to 201K status!

This is a very simple example in my life, but you can often predict company’s actions, including your competitors by analyzing their leadership and uncovering their business blindspots. Happy Summer!

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