Creative Librarians in Competitive Intelligence: SLA 2009

I taught two Click University competitive intelligence certificate programs at SLA 2009: intermediate and management CI analytical tools and techniques. My students had a cooperative spirit, great curiosity and a strong desire to learn. This is my favorite kind of student.

One student group devised a creative use of the Radar Screen 360 degree analytical tool. I learned about this tool through Adrian Slywotsky’s Value Migration book, where competitors are placed around a dart board in accordance with how competitive they are relative to your company. Your company is the bull’s eye and your key competitors are placed in the inner rings of the dartboard, where as outliers or potential competitors might be placed towards the outer rings and even outside the entire dartboard.

We were analyzing an executive in the hotel industry, in an attempt to predict what his next move might be. Would he buy the hotel next door or not? The case told us his life story, including his personality all the way from his childhood to the present as a middle aged man. We were provided with his history of buying and managing hotels, including his keen ability as a financial manager, his tendency to micromanage, his habit of reinvesting earnings back into the business, and his drive to grow and take risk in the entrepreneurial spirit.  The first step this team took was to use the Radar Screen to show us how this executive perceived his hotel business relative to the competition.

RadarScreenSLAPersonality

They broke the radar screen into quadrants which depicted customer service, attention to detail, financial stability, and risk taker/entrepreneur. What a brilliant use of the Radar Screen as a psychological tool! They concluded he was an INTJ on the Myers Brigg Scale. He was extremely well organized, independent and a classic entrepreneur who experienced growth through risk taking, by extending himself to buy or rebuild hotels. From this analysis we could see that he had a robust ego and that he thought he did everything well, if not better than the competition. The hotel group’s financial results underscored that he was a savvy, smart businessman.

From this analysis we could study the executive’s decision-making patterns to date, and figure that as an entrepreneur with no hobbies, he was likely to continue his habit of extending himself financially and buying the hotel next door. He didn’t know how to operate any other way: there was nothing that seemed to provide enough impetus in his life to change this behavior.

This team was right: the executive did buy the hotel next door even though it meant extending his and his wife’s work life by several more years. He didn’t know how to stop this cycle, and perhaps wasn’t ready to make changes towards retirement at age 49, while his wife had quit her law practice in a step towards retirement.

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