Monday, August 7, 2017

Cultivating an Agile Mindset

By Robert Zeas
Global Strategic Competitive Intelligence
Level 3 Communications

As I reflect on my service in various intelligence capacities, I find the agility my colleagues astutely observe in my approach has come from two places. First, at the beginning of my career, I served in a high-pressure sales role. This led to my embracing a highly adaptive, time bound success approach to all work on a non-discriminatory basis. What does this mean? Well, simply treating all clients as I would expect, including now in my service in a staff role. Don’t make clients unduly wait for things they should receive attention and support with, even when you may not truly have the time-and the activity isn’t highly visible and doesn’t always earn managerial praise. 

In my intelligence role, this means every qualified business question you are fortunate enough to have a client approach with means they are placing tangible value in your business perspective and skills to serve their needs. Just like the Hard Rock motto, “Love all. Serve All.” And let them know up front exactly when you will be back with them to deliver on this promise.

Second, I actively seek out and immerse myself in a variety of broad “stretch” projects with my senior leadership. What reflection techniques do you use to begin working on an innovation facing project whose topic is entirely new or foreign to you? When is the best time and where is the best setting for you to reflect and begin work? I don’t like to fess up on this one, but vacations and driving time are the best times for me to brainstorm new approaches for new learning. Inspirational keynote speeches from industry leaders instill new perspective. My local Rocky Mountain SCIP leadership serves as an excellent sounding board!  

Any way you decide to approach your innovation reflection time, or new ‘white space’ topics, means we as practitioners get to ride a new adventure in learning along the way. Dig in. Embrace the new. Over time, you will gain a reputation for being a multi-skilled intelligence ninja. Becoming more resilient in handling new leadership topics increases your agility and depth as a thought leader in multiple realms salient to your business. This approach also helps prepare you for board rooms and future career leadership opportunities.

Innovative frameworks and initiatives often arise through collaborative engagement with academia and the supply chain. Additionally, reviewing various intelligence sources can help direct you to areas of innovation adoption for your business. Here’s a list of sub-topics that will help as you begin framing your research scope in support of innovation projects. These intelligence sources help define and identify emerging innovation opportunities:

Peer reviewed journal articles           University research collaborations
Supply chain proof of concept trials   Doctoral dissertations
Public and private equity funding       Hiring activities in areas of emerging expertise
Patent filings                                    Innovations in alliance led distribution models
Professional business forums            Co-funded research and development

The more diversity in serving our business stakeholders and related project topics- the broader and stronger our bench skills become.Seldom are we going to find instances where the seeds of innovation are found in the press, news feeds or other intelligence sources. Commit time to remove distractions to permit quality reflection time. Brainstorm and organize sub-topics to begin your research and supply chain engagement. As an excellent sounding board, confer with your SCIP local chapter peers and leadership. Good things come, enjoy your journeys until our next meet up my friends!

Robert has served as a Senior Executive Advisor for several Global Fortune 1000 firms. In this capacity, he led U.S. and global competitive intelligence programs, primary pricing research and managed P&L responsibilities directly contributing $195M+ in revenue.

Also in his advisory capacity, Robert has led enterprise market intelligence briefings with senior executive leadership in development and support of long term strategy.  Robert relies on his leadership to ensure the insight and guidance provided is accretive to shareholder value, enhances the customer experience and innovates in a rapidly evolving technology marketplace.

No comments:

Post a Comment