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How to Convince Executives to Act on Competitive Intelligence

Even when an organization’s leadership has all the information and research it needs to execute a positive change, it may fail to take action. In fact, about 80 percent of all change initiatives fail, so a big part of CI’s mission is to overcome resistance to change and convince leadership to act on the intelligence that the CI team delivers. Here are some suggestions on how to overcome the most common and exasperating obstacles:

  • Position CI as a profit center. Profits, not politics, should drive decisions, so whenever possible, point out concrete examples of what CI has done to help your organization capitalize on an opportunity or avoid a threat or a costly mistake. In essence, keep score.

  • Recruit pathfinders among your organization’s leadership to sponsor CI. Sponsors promote CI throughout the organization, ensuring cooperation in gathering intelligence, formulating strategy, and executing strategic initiatives. People who have a pathfinder personality type promote change and are your greatest allies. Look for people who are enthusiastic about the future and who have to have the latest and greatest products that hit the market.

  • Engage everyone in your organization in CI. When everyone is engaged, they’re more likely to grasp the importance of competitive intelligence and appreciate the need to act on it. So encourage everyone to pass along information to CI and use the resulting intelligence to implement positive change in their divisions or departments.

  • Conduct executive team briefings regularly. Prove the value of CI on a regular basis by briefing the executive team on the information you’ve gathered, its significance, and how your organization can use the intelligence to gain a strategic advantage over the competition.

  • Purge narcissism, the absolute enemy of innovation. Work toward developing a culture of rational thinking and eliminating the defensive posturing that’s often the product of office politics.

  • Use logic to battle interpretation bias. Interpretation bias is the tendency to draw conclusions that support rather than challenge existing beliefs. Defeat it by never assuming that you’re presenting information and insight to rational human beings. Instead, present a strong argument that proves the case for making the changes that the intelligence reveals are necessary.

  • Toot your own horn. Better yet, encourage your CEO or another influential executive to publicize CI’s accomplishments internally. Make sure the CI team’s efforts and accomplishments are highlighted in internal communications, including memos and company newsletters. The more confidence your organization has in the power of competitive intelligence, the more eager everyone will be to execute strategic initiatives.

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