Competitive Intelligence

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"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, 'Press on,' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race" --Calvin Coolidge.  This is a quote that perfectly sums up how I have driven my CI consultancy over the years.  What has been your driver in your CI endeavours?

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Based on the responses, it is interesting to note each individual twist to what is perceived as a key driver for CI endeavours.  I am wondering if we can't identify a common list of drivers, how do we then manage this for our clients?  Is it based on each person's fancy at the time?  Seems to be a common problem in CI!

The list of drivers stands as follows:

Persistence - 6

Curiousity - 4

Determination - 3

Passion - 3

Hard Work - 2

Critical Thinking / Reasoning - 2

 

Persistence is sure making the top of the list with curiousity not far behind.

Based on the responses up to last week, persistence is the number 1 key driver..... so how do you measure it?  How do you train for it? How do you identify it in future CI candidates?

Hmmmm.....  well here's one data point, Babette.

If you find someone who's been working on one global CI project for over 10 years, I think that may qualify as persistence (although it may also be a sign of madness).

Hi Babette,

A most interesting discussion you've prompted here, and one that overlaps to a significant degree with a previous discussion on CI NING between myself and Eric Garland relative to what it takes to be good at CI vs. what it takes to ultimately succeed.

That said, the problem I see inherent to this specific discussion thread is that we aren't linking these identified "drivers," which are really behavioral attributes, to anything. So, right, we have to ask ourselves- the aforementioned characteristics then are ultimately "drivers" of what exactly? CI success? Being good at CI? (Note: Those are two different things) What one should look for when hiring a CI analyst? I'm sure you get precisely where I am going with this.

That said, its been my professional experience as a Principal Strategic Analyst/CI Manager/CI Director that the first 5 items in your list above  are attributes I've consistently seen as common to both good and successful intelligence analysts.  However, without the ever so important 6th element critical thinking, in conjunction with the 7th, a strong ability to communicate, as well as an 8th, an innate ability to adequately interpret signals, being good at CI, none the less being successful, is out of the question.  With this in mind, I've seen analysts with the  first 5 attributes but lacking in 6,7,8 and yes, they fail  every time. So, what's most important to  being good? Well, without question 6,7,8. The folks with 6,7,8 tend to have the first 5 attributes but the reverse is not true. So,  6,7,8 in my experience are the predominant markers for being good at CI. Now, being successful takes a whole other set of attributes in Corporate America -not the least of which is being a supremely savvy politician because if you are doing the job right you're slaughtering sacred cows and that invariably causes organizational tension resulting in politics.

This brings us to how do you test then for 6,7,8? Well, I developed a proprietary method that works quite well. We could discuss this privately if you wish.


Regards,

Monica

 

Hi Monica

You are correct when you comment that the identified 'drivers' are behavioural attributes.  In my experience if these behavioural tendencies are not strongly present, it is difficult for CI professionals (or come to think of it, any professional) to achieve success both for themselves and their organisation.

Determination and persistence to succeed in CI for me, imply that you will seek to learn and enhance any skills necessary including critical thinking, communication and interpretative skills. It means you will seek to get up when you are "knocked down" by your intelligence users. It means you will press on.  However having these skills does not necessarily imply that you will succeed in CI, or get up or press on - if you are not really determined to do so. 

As the quote from Calvin Coolidge states there are plenty of unsuccessful men with talent and the world is full of educated derelicts.

I would like to suggest that far to often we look at skills and not necessarily at behavioural drivers.  I then come back to my last question....how would you identify and measure successful behavioural drivers in CI?

Miss Babette,

 

As a coach for stock market traders, I advised traders to write and keep a trading journal in order to keep track of our trading performances. The content of this journal includes:

 

a) the skills for traders ( fundamental skills/technical skills)

b) business plans for traders to be successful in trading the stock market.

c) personal psychology-what is our thinking/what is our feeling/what is our action during trading the stock market.

 

At the outcome of each trades ( whether the traders made money or loose money),  traders have to assessed whether the key areas ( fundamental analysis, technical analysis, money management) are being utilized correctly.But most importantly, traders need to write and assess their personal psychology ( emotions-thinking-behavior) during the trades.

 

Not too many traders understand, that knowing ourselves first are very important in order to be successful in trading the stockmarket. Successful psychological traits ( healthy emotions, positive behavior patterns) are very important in the stock market. However, we cannot ignore the skills in trading the stock market ( such as analyzing company reports, charts, understanding basic money management).

 

I hope this applies to our discussion as to how we can identify and measure successful behavioural drivers in CI.

If we have a basic CI journal to write and keep, it would probably look like this:

 

Hard Skills for CI analysts

 

1) Communication

2) Interpret signals in the market

3) Knowledge or insight on specific sectors/issues

4) Hard work

5) Teamwork

6) Qualitative CI skills

 

Psychology Skills for CI Analysts ( Emotions/thinking/behavior)

 

1) Persistence and coping from challenges

2) Curiosity

3) Determination

4) Passion

5) Critical Thinking / Reasoning

 

I think for us to measure successful drivers in CI analysts, we cannot ignore these two areas that goes hand in hand (CI Skills and CI Behaviours).

 

In the stock market, consistency in making money is important but it does not mean we can never loose money because as traders, we have to loose money sometimes. It happens..

It is just a matter of whether we are consistently discipline in following our plans, execution of our plans and having a positive overall psychological being.

 

I hope this applies in measuring our CI analysts performances. We have our own skills, our preparations, our plans in execution and our own unique psychological skills. However, we have to come across challenges (corporate politics, back stabbing colleagues, abusive or toxic CI managers and demanding clients).  But it is the way we cope in the face of these challenges is what sets us all apart from other CI analysts performances.

 

I think each and everyone one of us are different in that respect because of our own personal psychology..!

Thank you Jafni for your comments. I agree that there is a need to understand BOTH skills AND behaviours to enhance individuals in their roles.  I sought understanding around the behavioural drivers as much has been written already around the "hard" skills as you put it.  Mind you I would also add analytical skills to your list of hard skills.

How would you identify and measure for these behavioural attributes to ensure you have the right CI manager in the job if everyone as you say is different "because of our own personal psychology"?

I would like to suggest that we need to identify behavioural attributes important to successful CI managers, then move to understanding how we can identify and measure these attributes or characteristics. Based on my readings to date, I am just not sure that there has been a process developed for this in the field of CI.  I may have missed something.

Miss Babette,

 

My apologizes if I share my experience within the global financial markets..

I might be able to identify good traders in the financial markets because that is what I do now..But unfortunately I do not have such experience in selecting good CI managers. Really sorry. So far I have yet to come across books or authors who wrote on identifying behavioural attributes in successful CI managers.

 

To my knowledge, attributes of managers and leaders are different. There are so many managers out there who likes to "manage people". I prefer those leaders who knows how to "lead people" because leaders have better  people skills - leaders inspire confidence and knows how to push people when it matters. I do hope there will be more "CI leaders" than "CI managers".

 

From my short experience as a coach, I find everyone have talents and unique strengths. However, having talent is not enough to succeed in any profession we desire because there have been spectacular failures and self destruction stories from talented people in the corporate world ( I am very sure you heard so much within the financial world recently! )

 

I drafted some attributes/measurements for identifying good trading mentors and managers and I like to share this would you. Hopefully it might be used as possible measurements of a CI leader:

 

1) Install confidence/beliefs in each member of the CI team.

2) Install the right character in each member of the CI team

3) Teach the importance of passion, perseverance and survival in the CI profession

4) Encourages initiative and teamwork among CI members

5) Responsible for preparing, sharpening and strengthening the skills of each of the CI's members.

 

Does these attributes apply to the CI leaders in their field?

 

As a coach in trading the stock market, it is important to maximize traders/students potential while not just relying on their existing talents.

For someone like me who is also passionate about CI- if a CI leader or manager is able to bring the best out of someone, then I think he/she is doing just find..That is my measurement..

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