How to Gain Competitive Intelligence Sponsorship in a Business
To gain respect in the organization, competitive intelligence needs management and executive sponsorship — influential leaders in the company who have the power to raise CI’s profile and standing in the company.
The CEO is the best sponsor your CI can have because he’s a visible and enthusiastic presence in the company. Get the CEO onboard and ask him to encourage the formation of a small team of executives who will not only work with the CI team in discussing sensitive information but also be willing to show support for the work and the value of the CI team.
The best ways to recruit sponsors are to get them involved in CI and continually demonstrate its value:
Interview executives and managers to determine what intelligence they need to make better decisions and their timetables for making those decisions.
Create periodic intelligence briefings for executives, including the CEO and managers. You need to deliver on the promise of CI by demonstrating its value.
Ask influential members of the executive management team who seem supportive to serve as CI sponsors, either formally or informally. (Look for people who show an interest in the information you’re collecting and in what you’re doing; these are the people who are likely to be most supportive.)
Don’t ask any leaders who seem unsupportive to serve as sponsors. They’ll only drag you down.
Coordinate all efforts with your intelligence sponsors so they feel engaged in the process and can provide you with valuable information and insight.
Remind sponsors of the importance of sharing credit for CI success. They should feel free to take credit for their decisions, but CI needs to be acknowledged in a high-profile way for its contributions in order to motivate the CI team and encourage all personnel to share data and intelligence and consult CI before making key decisions.