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How to Enlist the CEO as Chief Intelligence Officer for Competitive Intelligence

Some organizations actually have their own chief intelligence officer, who’s in charge of competitive intelligence and works directly with the CEO to formulate strategy. If your organization has no such position, then your CEO may need to do double duty as the chief intelligence officer and perform the following job duties:

  • Serve as the top-level sponsor for CI, communicating its value to the rest of the organization. The CEO is a figurehead with the power and visibility needed to promote CI’s efforts and hold others accountable for implementing recommended changes.

  • Assist in identifying strategic areas that are most likely to benefit from CI. The CEO is in the best position to formulate the big-picture view of what the organization must do to remain competitive, so he probably has a pretty clear idea of the types of information required to identify opportunities and threats and forecast where the industry and different markets are headed.

  • Collaborate with CI and department heads to formulate and execute strategic initiatives and other changes. The CEO really holds the power of the bully pulpit to implement changes in the organization and how it operates. When the CEO plays an active role in spearheading change initiatives, the organization is much more successful in putting intelligence into action.

Here are a couple tips for how to enlist your organization’s CEO to serve as its chief intelligence officer and how to harness her power:

  • Suggest that the CEO demonstrate the value that she places on competitive intelligence, such as by commenting on it in corporate newsletters and other organization-wide communications.

  • Meet with your CEO for five minutes each month to pass along the monthly intelligence briefing and gather any intel that she has collected during the past month at industry meetings or other gatherings.

    If you take the initiative to meet and also limit your time to five minutes, the CEO will always welcome your visit. Senior-level executives usually work 70+ hours per week, and their calendars are overbooked. If you can work with the CEO’s administrative assistant to get your five minutes per month, it will benefit the entire CI gathering process.

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