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Business & Management Lessons from Humour

Businesses (and people) over time develop habits and patterns of working. Sometimes these lead to success. However often they stop management from seeing reality – especially when the business environment changes. Competitive intelligence can identify these business blindspots – both in the company itself, and in its competitors. Taking advantage of competitor blindspots is a major way that a company can beat its competitors, so it is crucial to understand one’s own blindspots so as to protect oneself from possible attack.

Business problems can be shown through humour. Humour allows businesses to take a step back and see a problem applied to a situation that appears different to their own. One can also sometimes see similar behaviour in one’s own organisation – thus highlighting a possible blindspot. Humour is just one technique for showing blindspots. Others include the use of drama workshops and story-telling, or war-gaming where the business environment is modelled and management try and take an external look at their and their competitor situations.

The following “stories” and office “theories” are taken from our humour database – with a random selection shown. Refresh the page for further examples.

Don't overlook the obvious

A story is told about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.
Once, Conan-Doyle was visiting Paris and climbed into a taxi cab. Before he could utter a word, the driver turned to him and asked, "Where can I take you, Sir Arthur?"
Conan-Doyle was flabbergasted. He asked the driver if he had ever seen him before.
"No, sir," the driver responded, "I have never seen you before."
Then he explained: "This morning's paper had a story about you being on vacation in Marseilles. This is the taxi stand  where people who return from Marseilles always come to. Your skin color tells me you have been on vacation. The ink-spot on your right index finger suggests to me that you are a writer. Your clothing is very English, and not French. Adding up all those pieces of information, I deduced that you are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle."  
"This is truly amazing!" the writer exclaimed. "You are a real-life counter-part to my fictional creation, Sherlock Holmes!"
"There is one other thing," the driver said.
"What is that?"
"Your name is on the front of your suitcase."

Sometimes one doesn't need to depend too much on analysis. The answer is available just by looking. Many analysts try and show how clever they are by making something simple look complicated - or worse, actually spend company time searching through various sources when the answer is right in front of them.


Rules of Work

It doesn't matter what you do, it only matters what you say you've done and what you're going to do.
When the bosses talk about improving productivity, they are never talking about themselves.
Everything can be filed under "miscellaneous."
Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn't the work he/she is supposed to be doing.
If it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would get done.
The last person that quit or was fired will be held responsible for everything that goes wrong.


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