Wake Up or Die

Summary Written by Alyssa Burkus
"In the life and death quest for strategic change businesses have much to learn from war."

- Wake Up or Die, page 131

The Big Idea

Use Data Intelligence For World Domination

"...it’s all about having superior intelligence and the wisdom to use this intelligence in a transformational way."- Wake Up or Die, page 20

Ok, so maybe your goal isn’t world domination and your industry likely isn’t a battlefield, but using data and gathering intelligence is critical, as it allows you to understand the market and your competitors, as well as make course corrections along the way. Similar to using spies in military intelligence, business intelligence allows you to get into the minds of your customers and competitors and create what is needed, well ahead of other players. As Sun Tzu notes in The Art of War, ‘Being prepared for all circumstances is what ensures certain victory.’

“…insights, defined as penetrating truths that you never knew existed and which through intuitive understanding and immediate action allow you to gain a superior advantage.”

Establishing channels for gathering business intelligence is not just a matter of setting up a few Google Alerts, although it can start there. It requires a detailed implementation plan, from analyzing your current state to tracking against specific metrics and outcomes.

Once you have the data, it can allow you to make critical changes if you know how to use it.

Insight #1

Use Data To Rethink Everything

"If you want to change the way a company acts, you have to begin with changing how it thinks."- Wake Up or Die, page 37

Sandler outlines several models for using business intelligence to rethink how you compete successfully, and provides great examples, from Kimberly-Clark to the US Army, of businesses that have made significant operational changes through the use of market intelligence. The solution isn’t just about pulling data from various sources, but integrating it into your strategies and project plans effectively.

Sandler also notes that a different form of leadership is also needed, one that allows employees to run with ideas. It requires being open to new possibilities and allowing employees to change existing approaches in pursuit of new ones if business intelligence is providing the signals. She encourages leaders to allow employees to explore opportunities through “blue sky” sessions and encourage them to rethink the status quo. Using data intelligence as a springboard for creativity can be a continual source of inspiration.

Once you have the intelligence and ideas you need though, you still need to take action.

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Insight #2

Intelligence + Decision-Making = Advantage

"Whether it’s business or whether it’s war, you have to generate better information than your rivals do, analyze that information and move quickly to turn strategic choices into decisive action."- Wake Up or Die, page 22

Data, like ideas, is worthless unless change can be created from it. Knowing how to analyze your data is one thing, but being able to successfully initiate and implement change in your organization goes along with it. Sandler emphasizes the need to build decision-making processes to allow you to take advantage of new information and create new solutions ahead of your competitors.

Data can also be used as an early warning system, allowing you to anticipate where issues occur before they become overwhelming. As Sandler notes, “a resilient company anticipates crisis and objectively determines what the consequences might be.” In our world of disruptive change, resilience is a key competency for survival and success.

I have increased the use of analytics with my clients over the past few years, and while I can safely say I have never evoked war terminology in my work, I really connected with Sandler’s passion for data intelligence, and the higher-level thinking and outcomes it brings to your work. Wake Up or Die will help you build the strategies you need to incorporate data intelligence and go boldly forward to conquer the business world. Harnessing data and using it to solve problems and set new directions will give you a strong competitive advantage over your enemies on the corporate battlefield.

Share your experience with optimizing data and intelligence in your “war to win” in the comments below…

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Corrine Sandler

A thought leader, visionary and exceptional entrepreneur, Corrine has established a reputation for unparalleled consumer understanding and insight development. She is the CEO and founder of Fresh Intelligence Research Corp., a global business intelligence company, working with fortune 500 companies. As a recognized industry leader, Corrine is a highly sought-after and passionate speaker around the world. She is an expert guest writer for numerous publications and has published numerous white papers in her industry. She is known for her assertive and dogmatic approach to business and is a brilliant innovator within the Market Research industry. Corrine was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and now lives in Toronto, Canada with her four children and Golden Retriever, Sky.

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