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Influencing       for SuccessBy KaSandra Husar, Intel and Rom Gayoso, Intel     Intelligence professionals strive to suppo...
influencing for successmarket dynamics in your industry. Start by acquiring a deep       objectives which guide the organi...
influencing for success   3. Become aware of the product portfolio, knowledge               objectives with sister organiz...
influencing for success                                                                                  analysis, SWOT, s...
influencing for successof artificial neural networks). On the other hand, our brains   Intelligence Topics (KITs), compris...
influencing for successcommunications structure built around their elements of          EFFEcTIvE cOMMUNIcaTIONSinformatio...
influencing for success     Trust is a very fluid form of wealth given or entrusted        to say things in a way very spe...
influencing for successin a special way. Key stakeholders’ communication styles          Hitt, E. (2009). “Corporate cultu...
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Influencing For Success Ci Magazine 2010


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Published December 2010

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Influencing For Success Ci Magazine 2010

  1. 1. Influencing for SuccessBy KaSandra Husar, Intel and Rom Gayoso, Intel Intelligence professionals strive to support key KNOW THE BUSINESSstakeholders and decision-makers who directly impact the A good perceptual framework for intelligence analystsbottom line. Our ability to deliver value to the organization to create is “I am the CEO of my area of responsibility.”is intrinsically connected to our skill in influencing people Not only should you have a good understanding of yourand the amount of credibility we have. In fact, credibility is business environment but also become regarded as a residenta very precious asset since it takes years to build and can be content expert by others. In order to achieve this, you needlost in an instant. Especially in the business environment, a well-developed perspective of the micro- and macro-levelrelationships take time to develop and require constantmaintenance in order to flourish andsupport the intended collaborative results. One might be tempted to believe thata mere position or title ensures credibility.But in reality if stakeholders have no trustin the messenger, then the message itselfbecomes lost. With low or no trust, yourability to influence would be very limited.Even though credibility might take timeto acquire, as competitive intelligenceprofessionals, we can increase our ability toinfluence if we:• Know the business fundamentals or gain business acumen• Have a good understanding of our audience• Utilize effective communication stylesFigure 1 graphical depicts the influencingprocess. Figure 1: Influencing elementsVolume 13 • Number 2 • April/June 2010 7
  2. 2. influencing for successmarket dynamics in your industry. Start by acquiring a deep objectives which guide the organization as a whole. Map yourunderstanding of the products or services the firm offers intelligence work to all levels of objectives, so that you canalong with a strong knowledge of your company’s branding easily explain how the intelligence process supports the firm’sstrategies and market positioning. A succinct knowledge strategies. If you cannot map intelligence collection to one ofof company financials and strategic direction can enable you those objectives, then it is not a value-added effectively translate environmental dynamics into concrete Even though it might be interesting to account forfinancial opportunities or threats. every move in the marketplace, you should only consider Another important micro-level skill is an understanding information that ties to objectives. In today’s informationof your company’s operational profile, including both its explosion times, keeping track of that alone is a formidablemanufacturing process and the supply chain. Here’s one way challenge. Once information processing and objectives areto view the value of this information: consider what would connected, you have a much easier job demonstrating valuehappen to the supply chain if there is a swine flu pandemic in the information processing exercise and the value of thisin Central America and the Panama Canal closes. Sound job function as a key contributor to the organization’s success.unlikely? The electronics industry had a brush with troublea few years ago when the Avian Flu epidemic spread acrossChina’s southeastern seaboard, slowing down or paralyzing BUSINESS acUMEN: KNOWINg THEthe flow of goods in and out of the country. ENvIrONMENT Any serious issue disrupting a major transportation Alternatively, you can develop sophisticated businessroute will affect the company. If it does occur, what kind of acumen skills if you approach the understanding of marketcontingencies could be put in place to mitigate those risks? dynamics according to job scope. If one looks at the marketThe ability to understand your company’s operational profile from the scope perspective we would find that the spectrumcan also be beneficial when developing a deep understanding runs from issues which matter at the departmental levelof key players in a marketplace, of the supply base, or of a all the way to broader socio-demographic trends whichcompetitor. impact the whole economy. When developing a complete Another valuable expertise for intelligence professionals environmental picture so as to make optimal businessis developing a more comprehensive understanding of decisions, consider five steps or levels:macro-level market dynamics. These dynamics encompasselements that relate to the industry, and variables that affect 1. Understand the individual area of the business.the broader economy. Start by building on the micro level 2. Understand the market dynamics for the strategicskills you’ve previously developed. For example, a natural business unit at the group or division level.extension of understanding an operationalprofile would be to develop deeperknowledge of the business climate of thehome country as well as where the companyoperates. Further, consider the geographicaldispersion of the supply chain, as in thePanama Canal example above. You will find value in assumingownership of a firm-specific productportfolio and developing marketprofile knowledge, and then securing abetter understanding of the operatingenvironment. In general, develop strongerbusiness acumen whenever informationregarding the industry and the businesscycle is relevant to conduct business.STraTEgIc OBjEcTIvES In addition to understandingdepartmental level and divisional leveloperational objectives, also develop adeep understanding of those strategic Figure 2: Scope approach to know your business8 Competitive Intelligence
  3. 3. influencing for success 3. Become aware of the product portfolio, knowledge objectives with sister organizations, with each group of the market position of each of the offerings, and responsible for parts of the corporation’s overall strategy. understanding of key financial metrics for the firm. 4. Develop industry level awareness. 3. Product portfolio, market position and key financial 5. Understand the macro-economic environment and its metrics forces. The third step in this approach is to develop business acumen based on an awareness of the company’s productFigure 2 diagrams the steps to take in order to know your portfolio, an understanding of the market position of eachbusiness using the scope approach. offering, and knowledge of the firm’s key financial metrics. In this step, intelligence would support the implementation1. Individual areas of corporate strategies in light of core competencies and To follow the job scope approach, the first step is to perceived strengths.develop an understanding of the individual area of the For example, consider Southwest Airlines’ expansionbusiness. Departmental level business objectives matter along through its acquisition of Frontier Airlines. Southwest canwith the individual objectives held by key stakeholders. You leverage its relatively lower operational costs, no frills attitude,can easily identify those stakeholder objectives if you already and market position to justify the acquisition of assets inunderstand the firm and divisional level’s strategic objectives. receivership. Southwest’s core competencies should be able For instance, a commodity buyer conducts company to turn more airplanes, new routes, more employees and abusiness according to specific standards and broad strategic broader portfolio of offerings into even higher profits andcost objectives. An obvious one would be management’s better customer service.direction to secure a certain level of discounts for a givenvolume order and market conditions. He would also be 4. Industry level awarenessinterested in maintaining good business relationships with the The fourth step on the scope approach requires industrypool of suppliers and creating a comprehensive understanding level awareness. In this step, effectively applying analyticalof supplier health and solvency. tools to understand competitors becomes very important. For For example, the recent economic crisis caused the most example, working through Porter’s Five Forces Model wouldvulnerable members of the automobile parts’ supply chain force you to consider the level of rivalry in the industry, whoto collapse and share in the fate of both GM and Chrysler. would be potential market entrants, what is the nature ofHere it would have been useful to apply and interpret the product substitutes, and to what extent buyers and suppliersAltman z-score statistic, a statistically derived tool designed to have relatively more (or less) power in the supply chainestimate firm distress (Altman 1968). (Porter 1979). Another way to illustrate the importance of Another way to approach this level of scope would be tounderstanding the individual business area would be to look consider IBM’s acquisition of statistical software maker the role of an iron ore buyer for a steel mill. Since steel With this acquisition IBM extended the reach of its softwareitself is a sub-product, the commodity buyer must understand product portfolio into the statistical market, and SPSS usersthe market dynamics associated with steel production, its gained the backing of IBM, a prestigious name in the high-consumption, as well as the firm specific strategic objectives. tech industry. Although the end result of this transaction is not yet clear, productivity software makers and statistical2. group or division level software makers such as the SAS Institute now must pay The next step on the job scope approach involves closer attention to adjacent areas of the business, as furtherunderstanding the market dynamics for the strategic business market consolidation is still possible.unit at the group or division level. Here, pure departmentlevel knowledge is no longer sufficient: you would need 5. Macro-environmental forcesproduct knowledge as well as substantial understanding of Finally the broadest perspective of the scope approachthe technological issues that revolve around the production involves developing knowledge concerning the macro-process. economic environment and its forces. Analysts tend to talk At the business unit objective levels, company about the macro-economic environment only in political,competencies and weaknesses would matter. The specific economic, social and technological terms, but it is alsogoals and strategies of this organization within the important to include the legal and regulatory perspective ascorporation would be based on the company’s place in well as that of environmental concerns (Gayoso & Husar,the market and the division’s collaborative part to play in 2008). For example, consider the interest in lower carbonthe strategy. There could be a coordinated set of strategic footprint and lower emissions as a driver for the adoption ofVolume 13 • Number 2 • April/June 2010 9
  4. 4. influencing for success analysis, SWOT, scenario planning, and war gaming. This encompasses different types and methods of analysis which allows you to piece together the various data and information to form a environmental picture of your company’s position in the marketplace. Ultimately it sets the knowledge base for the formation of strategy to meet risk factors and develop strategic objectives and plans. KNOW YOUr aUdIENcE Another important determinant of your ability to influence your audience relates to understanding what is important to them. Often analysts are too concerned with making a point or promoting ideas that are important to their own department. Instead we should concentrate on the needs and priorities of our clients (higher levelFigure 3: Intelligence dossier elements managers) and understand how the way we operate can help them meet their own goals for the organization (Goldsmith, 2008).renewable energy alternatives, such as that from solar, wind, Since we all work in an environment where we needand geothermal sources. to deal with organization politics in one form or another (Vigoda & Cohen, 2002), we should focus our energy onINTEllIgENcE dOSSIEr understanding those key stakeholder’s needs, so we can be One potential way of developing strong business acumen of greater value to them and ultimately survive longer as ais to utilize a variation of the business dossier approach. function. A structured approach to knowing your audienceThis systemic approach enables you to learn your company’s can be applied through stakeholder management, which is abusiness in the same manner in which a true CEO level condensed process people use to organize thoughts and reflectwould through four pillars of knowledge: upon relationships in general. Note that stakeholder management can also be 1. product or service successfully applied to help build a representative framework 2. supply for all our work relationships. Any effective program or 3. external markets project effort needs to design the process of organizational 4. analytical tools engagement in such a way that its very existence implies a certain level of stakeholder management. Product or service knowledge is knowing your businessin terms of what it offers to the marketplace. This includessuch elements as product or service description, knowledge Stakeholder managementof component contents, bill of materials breakdown, and One way to understand the audience is to map out themore. Supply knowledge entails knowing your business from stakeholders inter-relationships, their roles, and the ways theya supply chain, vendor and operational aspects perspective. interact, which will give us a way to chart our work placeThis includes elements such as supplier revenue, supply chain environment. One useful tool for cataloging stakeholders isstructure, business segments and more. mind mapping. External markets knowledge allows you to understand Modern mind maps generally take form in the waythe markets in which your company, its supply base, and Buzan and Buzan (1996) envisioned them. The main thesiscompetition operates. This may include total market of mind maps is based on the way that computers ‘think’capacity, industry cost structure drivers, pricing strategy which is linear – one concept after another – in a neatlyand more. The processing step includes use of analytical organized format since computing algorithms are mostlytools and incorporates such constructs as Porters industry based on linear programming patterns (with the exception10 Competitive Intelligence
  5. 5. influencing for successof artificial neural networks). On the other hand, our brains Intelligence Topics (KITs), comprised of Essential Elementsare known for their radiant thinking which is a system based of Information (EEI), is another fundamental buildingthought process. Thus the brain can make sense of very block for understanding your audience. Herring (1999)complex systems in a very short time. argued that the KIT process not only helps competitive Mind maps are spider-web-style graphs where a key intelligence professionals identify their organization’s needs,concept is in the center and a series of other topics or but the process is also fundamental to creating a viablethoughts are distributed around the outer rings (Wu andWang, 2009). In practice, mind maps havebeen applied in several higher education andengineering environments, as well as beinga powerful knowledge management toolon the hands of information professionals(Lamont, 2009). Currently, computersoftware such as Microsoft Vizio or Java-based FreeMind help create maps ofcomplex tasks in a very cost effective andexpedient way. Svendsen and Laberge(2005) took the mind map concept onestep further. They advocated taking asystems view of relationship networks, asstakeholders are better able to improve theirinteraction with each other when their goalis to make the organization more efficientand meet higher level management’s needs. Network maps are flexible instruments.They can be used to describe a weddingmuch the same way they could be applied todescribe the relationships between the headsof manufacturing (“bride”) and research Figure 4: Family network example(“groom”), along with their auxiliaryorganizations such as Finance, Marketingor Human Resources. (See Figure 4, whichdepicts a stakeholder map/network of afamily wedding.) Network maps can also be utilizedfor a new product introduction. Oneexample would be when a finance companytries to launch a new socially responsiblemutual fund. In this case key nodes wouldrepresent the fund manager, most importantcustomers (such as pension funds) and afew other key social actors or stakeholders.Network and mind maps can also be drawnto represent key intelligence topics andtheir relationships, instead of customers orpeople.Key intelligence topics Understanding your client’s (or if aninternal client, your organization’s) Key Figure 5: Network mapping exampleVolume 13 • Number 2 • April/June 2010 11
  6. 6. influencing for successcommunications structure built around their elements of EFFEcTIvE cOMMUNIcaTIONSinformation. Even though KITs are often used within the The third building block for your ability to influencemilitary context, competitive intelligence professionals resides in the communications process. In addition tocan derive great benefit from applying them in a corporate understanding the business and knowing your stake holdersenvironment. well, you must also have a communication’s framework in Once you have identified your KITs, you can also place to allow the dialogue to be as effective as possible. Fororganize them in a mapping format. In this format you can communications to be truly effective, competitive intelligenceevaluate the relationships among them, as well as understand professionals must be able to translate their analysis into athe type of infrastructure needed to support the investigation format that matches the organization’s culture, and in a wayand additional situations where those KITs or the that the customer wants it.information they yield align with the organization’s strategic In order to achieve this effective communicationobjectives. Nevertheless, the intelligence process does not goal, you need to invest time in building relationships andexist in a vacuum – it too requires the existence of structure learning to speak the language of the corporation as well asin order to function properly. its sub-groups. In the process of building and maintaining relationships, you must develop the soft skills foundationInfrastructure Needs necessary to help you navigate the organization. Another important building block in the process ofunderstanding your audience is to develop the infrastructure relationship Managementsub-components needed to help intelligence analysts work To ensure effective communications, it is not onlythrough the KIT process and meet stakeholder’s needs. important to build relationships, but also to dedicateWithin the broad infrastructure category, such infrastructure enough time to maintain those relationships in goodbuilding blocks are typically referred to as sub-components standing. Relationships need to be managed just like youor network systems. There are three main such networks: would manage any other important business process. Youpeople, information, and tools. could argue that it is even more important to invest time Understanding the people networks means identifying in relationship management, as it is either an enabler or athe players in the intelligence network strategy. This necessary condition for other key business processes. In factwould include head count information, as well as the Svendsen and Laberge (2005) remind us that to increaseamount of resources consumed to support the network. collaboration, it is important to both engage stakeholdersThe information network consists of the components that and to ensure sustainability of the relationship. Buildingsupport the intelligence sources strategy. Knowing what data sustainability in the relationship process is key. Sinceand information is available can be essential to creating an those relationships do not exist in a contextual vacuum,effective intelligence function. The tools network relates to it is important to take a system’s approach to relationshipanalytical techniques and strategy. management. Consider stakeholder management as engaging with a • What kind of information technology system is in series of different networks, as opposed to the singular and place? impersonal view of “engaging management.” Working from • Which types of analytical models can be used (such as this perspective you not only seek to understand how these Porter’s Five Forces)? networks operate, but also work to become an integral value- • What types of techniques (such as econometric added part of them. If competitive intelligence professionals modeling) are available in-house to support analysis? add value at their network level, those relationships will mature as stakeholders’ needs become better understood and In essence, knowing your audience requires a good more easily met. As these relationship networks grow strongerdeal of stakeholder management, key intelligence topics and as managers are more comfortable familiar with yourdefinition, strategic objectives alignment, infrastructure analysis capability, you develop an established reputation,needs and availability, and mind maps application. However, allowing stakeholders to develop greater trust in the work ofknowing your business and knowing your audience alone their competitive intelligence professionals.cannot guarantee success in our ability to influence key This trust building process takes time to mature – it isstakeholders. These efforts need to be crowned by effective not an overnight process. Your job title alone does not buildcommunications. immediate trust. Be aware that your most valuable assets are the reputation you develop and the faith stakeholders have on your ability to consistently deliver value.12 Competitive Intelligence
  7. 7. influencing for success Trust is a very fluid form of wealth given or entrusted to say things in a way very specific to our workplace. Theseto us by our key stakeholders. Give serious consideration to expected behaviors and norms are true for individual firmsinvesting more time and resources into building trust and as well as for many industries. Those codes of conduct areforming stronger networks, for without them you cannot the basis of the organization culture which also exists in theachieve effective influencing. Also, networks exist within the manufacturing environment, such as in the semiconductorsframework of the firm and those of broader social networks, industry (Gayoso 2007). Professionals in scientific areas whoso invest time to understand the particularities of your key leverage technology and quantitative methods in their workstakeholders. need to make an even greater effort to navigate the corporate Currently corporate cultures emphasize the advantage philosophy (Hitt 2009).of management diversity. Although it may initially appear Those important soft skills involve not only gaining ato be more difficult to develop connections and rapport good understanding of the corporate culture (which can bewith people of dissimilar backgrounds and life experiences, translated into organizational awareness) but also requiretechnology has provided several channels to help us better some understanding of non-verbal communications, andengage through social networks. even developing some degree of political savvy. One way to deepen relationships is to become an active For example, in some parts of India shaking one’s headmember of professional associations such as SCIP. Active from side to side does not mean ‘no’ but rather is a positivemembers not only read the website (which has much valuable sign. In other cultures, individuals do not look directlycontent) but also participate in regional meetings and annual into another’s eyes. They do this not because they areevents. Another way to be an active member is to share your untrustworthy, but rather because it is considered rude. Non-experience in publications such as this one, where others can verbal communications are based on local cultural constructsrelate to you, help you solve a problem, or educate us about and we need to be aware of that, else we will risk somethe best way to tackle a situation. In any event, sharing will miscommunication, or far worse, develop an ethnocentriccertainly help you grow as a professional and will add value to view of the world.the field. Another approach to developing trust and building Speak the languagestronger networks is to leverage our commonalities across Effective communication cannot occur without a deeperthe life spectrum, and to value the different communities we understanding of the verbal communication patterns specificshare. For example, attend a meeting of the next management networks develop over time. All forms of communicationslevel up in your company. It is truly amazing to see how are socially co-constructed, circumstantial, and contextual.complete strangers can relate to each other and form bonding So you must understand the communications styles, grouprelationships once we understand that we share common values, norms, and expected behaviors of the members of theinterests or face similar challenges. Even though it is easier different stakeholder associate with those with whom you share common Typically you find at least three different languagesexperiences, it can be even more enriching to associate with in the workplace. First is “My” language, which is theothers who do not necessarily exhibit these commonalities. communications style of your immediate associates. AsOne way to approach this is to join your local Toast Masters’ competitive intelligence professionals we tend to talk in codesclub: its diversity can generate differing perspectives and and use specific jargon. Certainly KITs and EEIs would haveoften a lively discussion. different meanings – if any at all – to other professionals. In any event engaging people who have different The second language is the communications style of yourbackgrounds and who hold different views can only benefit organization or company. The expression “FASB #157” hasus in the long run, as we acquire the ability to understand meaning for the finance community and in an accountingmultiple perspectives and learn to value others on their firm, but it would likely have little meaning outside thoseown terms. When you develop a heightened capability to communities as others are not aware of its context. Anotherunderstand different perspectives and you invest in trust- example would be a discussion between environmentalistsbuilding activities, the end result is forming stronger market and energy producers, where “mtoe” and “kw” wouldintelligence networks. certainly find their way into the conversation. Although metric tons of oil equivalent and kilowatts have meaning, outSoft Skills of the context of discussions like this they would not have the Building stronger relationship networks is not based same importance.on how many models you can generate or how well you can Finally, you must also learn to understand and speakcreate spreadsheets, but requires more sophisticated soft skills. in the same style as your customers. Often our customers’Your business environment operates with unwritten rules communications style is dependent on their position in theabout how to behave, when to engage others, and even how supply chain. For example procurement people communicateVolume 13 • Number 2 • April/June 2010 13
  8. 8. influencing for successin a special way. Key stakeholders’ communication styles Hitt, E. (2009). “Corporate culture in current times: Seekingalso vary according to their value set – look at what metrics the right fit.” Science 324 (5928), p821-828.those people pay attention to. For example, revenue miles Lamont, J. (2009). “Managing critical knowledge in higherper passenger flown would have meaning to an airline education.” Knowledge Management World. v18n5, Mayexecutive, but would not be import to those in other Intelligence professionals need to be able to carry Porter, M. (1979). “How competitive forces shape strategy.”on a conversation with diverse people who value different Harvard Business Review, March/April.things, who come from different backgrounds, and who Svendsen, A.; Laberge, M. (2005). “Convening stakeholdercommunicate in contextual-rich ways. networks: A new way of thinking, being and engaging.” Journal of Corporate Citizenship v19, p91-104. Vigoda, E.; Cohen, A. (2002). “Influence tactics andSUMMarY perceptions of organizational politics: A longitudinal This article highlighted the importance of knowing study.” Journal of Business Research 55, p311-324.your business and your audience. When you combine this Wu, Z.; Wang, X. (2009). “E-Government system demandwith effective communications, it will result in your creating analysis based on mind map.” In: Proceedings of thea stronger ability to influence them. All the intelligence 2009 International Conference on Networking and Digitalfunction can guarantee you is a seat at the table. It is up us to understand which information is the right one toleverage, what time is right for the stakeholder, and whatcommunication form we should use with our customers, sothat we can do a better job at meeting their needs. KaSandra Husar is the supply chain market intelligence program manager with Intel. She is also responsible for drivingrEFErENcES the design and development of the buy-side Intel IntelligenceAltman, E. (1968). “Financial ratios, discriminant analysis solution, including the spearheading of a company-wide and the prediction of corporate bankruptcy.” Journal of endeavor to bring together strategic planning and intelligence Finance, September, p189–209. professionals across the corporation to address competitiveBuzan, T.; Buzan, B. (1996). The mind map book: How to and market challenges in the industry. Prior to joining Intel, use radiant thinking to maximize your brain’s untapped KaSandra was in Supply Chain Management with Philip potential. London: Plume Publications. Morris Companies in Northern California. She holds anGayoso, R. (2007). “Organization cultural characteristics International Masters from the Universitat Wien and an MBA applied to semiconductor manufacturing.” The Business from the University of South Carolina. Review, Cambridge v9n1, p29-36.Gayoso, R.; Husar, K. (2008). “Buy side market intelligence practice: Reflections from high tech manufacturing.” Competitive Intelligence v11n2, p26-33. Goldsmith, M. (2008). “Influencing Up: You make a Rom Gayoso is an economist and an Intel Technologist. His difference.” Leadership Excellence v25n1, January p5-6. research interests are on Competitive Intelligence and MarketHerring, J. (1999). “Key intelligence topics: A process to Research. Rom is also a futurist and works with scenario identify and define intelligence needs.” Competitive planning. Intelligence Review v10n2, January p4-14.14 Competitive Intelligence