Friday, May 29, 2009

Protecting your own organization's data = the emperor has no clothes

It's interesting that the White House is advocating new measures to tighten the nations digital security

Fact is most of information in corporate America most often walks in and out the door. I did an audit one time of my organization that was very revealing. I challenged a PI firm to attempt to penetrate our premises and to gain as much strategic information as possible. They walked right in, spent a lot of time "mingling" and hanging out in a allegedly very security-conscious workplace environment at P&G. They took, photographed whatever they wanted. They fielded market research. They asked directions, created their own ID cards, attended meetings and presentations. They listened in on conversations of employees on-site and off (public locations like restaurants). Now given the ease of access to the physical premises, they invited in a world-class hacker to sit in a conference room and ping the system. Our best-in-class outsourced IT security service took 20 hours to figure this out. After a couple of hours he was close to getting through the fire wall. Finally I took the video footage from this exercise and played it back with voice over commentary to the entire organization. Shook them up a bit for a short while. Probably timely to do it again.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Intel for Bus Development

Studies show that companies that do the best coming out of recession over the past 20+years are ones that continue to invest in innovation, marketing, and mergers/acquisition ( So many firms I come across big and small are struggling with declining or sluggish sales to existing customers and finding it hard to find new ones especially right now.

In my experience there is almost nothing material you can't find out about a "customer". In the era of cyberspace and social media online, this is even more true. Whether your footprint is bigger or smaller, local or (inter)national, it's still true. Whether you are a not-for-profit, a company, and public institution, your product or service or need has a supplier and a customer.

Non-profit examples:

1) You are a faith-based not for profit which needs to raise funds for a cause. A simple review of stats from organizations that publish data on philanthropic donations (e.g. IUPUI) reveals that most of the people you need to reach out to are people of faith of very average incomes who regular attend church services. There are 450k churches in America. Guess where your customer is. US census data provides more specificity by zip code about characteristics of each area. Many fundraisers, especially on the political side, have built successful models for how to reach out. President Obama's Triple O campaign? What links these churches together (ministerial associations, community causes, personal networks). That's your way forward. And, find out what others like you are doing...they are more than willing to share and teach. Especially talk to bigger organizations that have developed the experience, models, processes to consistently succeed. Look for analogs and case studies in philanthropic fundraising pubs.

2) You are a local life science incubator serving perhaps a 50 mile radius around your city. You want to provide technical, financial, commercilizaton advice, community and services to advance very early stage new technology which improves life and creates employment. You want to connect with scientists, physicians, biomedical engineers, etc. locally. Well, where do they reside, invent and go for help - patent attorney's, CPAs, librarians, academic colleagues/mentors, technology transfer offices, local high networth individuals, VC's, local angel investor groups, on line communities and subject-specific blogs, scientific meetings, innovation competitions, bus development meetings (e.g. BIO), your "competitors" in the region, regional subject matter experts, bus development personnel at big firms, suppliers of related specialized testing & lab equipment, Chambers of Commerce, state government programs, Small Business Administration, etc, etc. As you network to build relationships and to engage these organizations you will quickly develop a mental Pareto chart for where the most fertile prospects usually are, make them aware of your organization and get commitments to have inventors referred on. Then get disciplined and systematic about your approach prioritizing highest probablity targets.

Stan Dyck

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The boundaries of competitive Intelligence - who needs it? define it?

Most people don't seem to think they need CI. Doesn't matter if they are small or large. Sometimes they are right, but at least as often not. At least that is my experience and why P&G kept me employed doing this for 20+ years. I'd consider that a successful experience for a number of reasons (you can read my profile on Linkedin). It's interesting that when I left there were 10+ other FTE's claiming to own and do competitive intelligence. I didn't know most of them thought they were doing that.

Words are a funny and imprecise thing. Turned out there were a lot of people with their own definitions: market intel, competitive intel, bus intel, technical intel, and probably permutations and combinations beyond that. Probably best to call it external intelligence. In my world practitioners (or claimed ones) included scientists, IT experts, library types, financial analysts, market researchers, marketing folks, PR agencies, etc. Perhaps you have reached success when everyone across your work community is doing it.

In the end I'd say it doesn't matter what you call it or name it. It's about looking at the strategy and tactics across key SBUs and key functions, seeing what assumptions have been made about all the external environments and challenging those to be more robust, more data driven, more insightful and more foresightful - in ways that lead to action and keep 'em coming back for more.

Once the strategy is nailed (in someone's mind, on a piece of paper) and deployed to that organization (for profit, not for profit), and you start "doing it", I invariably find that there are ever shifting holes, blind spots (u don't know what u don't know), and assumption changes.

I call those key intelligence topics (KITS) and you have to work hard with key leaders to select only a few of those to work on...the 80 for the 20. There are always fire drills that take you away from the top 80% of work represented by the 20% of most important issues.

Isn't it funny how specific organizations are assigned to knowing the consumer (market research, product management generally) and also to understand the customer (bus development, sales). But everyone owns the competition. That can and should work well if harnessed appropriately. But, there needs to be a collection point, a node, an external intel integrator who proactively collects internal and external SME knowledge about that external environment and configures it to move the decision process in a strategic direction.

I'd be happy to audit your environment and show you where the gaps are and how to start to fill them both with what you know already and aren't integrating or by finding the missing pieces form the internal environment...and, then transitioning this back to you/yours so you are stronger going forward. You can easily do this.

Stan R. Dyck

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Stan Dyck asks - When is enough enough

Dear Blogo-Sphere-

I'm not sure how you start a blog, but as a lifelong writer it seems pretty natural to tell you (who are you?) where I'm at on my journey. I'm really not sure who that is or should be of interest to but people have increasingly told me to write both on the personal side and on the business side. My 10th grade teacher, Miss Davidson, started prompting me and everyone who reads my Christmas letter has reiterated that, and other former P&G colleagues. Here goes-

Many of us wonder, especially in a country as wealthy and privileged as the US, when enough is enough. While I know the latest economic crisis, has many thinking this no longer applies, relative to most of the world our standard of living in wealth and freedom is unparalled. I'm on a journey of figuring that out, but determined to live with more passion and purpose. I was born overseas, grew up in Canada of very modest means and raised by parents who survived the Great Depression. I have biases. I think the answer to this question frames much of how we live and make choices.

The fact is I came to the conclusion a couple of years ago at Procter & Gamble that I had enough of that life. I was 52, had been there 30 years and wanted to live with more passion in living out my dreams, faith, person-hood. This was prompted both by experiences at work where programs like Gallup's Strength Finders and other materials increasingly crystallized the fact that most of us only engage a small amount of our total mind, body, soul in the workplace. For me that was draining me, consuming all my energy and not tapping nearly all of me. I was getting angry. Some challenging teaching by Jeff Greer at Grace Chapel in Mason, Ohio pulled me further in the direction of better defining my life-song as a claimed Christ-follower. You have to understand that when I embrace something, I'm very committed, determined and loyal. It's hard to change direction. And, once you hit a certain age you realize even more acutely that the clock is ticking. In my circle of friends, people around me were experiencing major life-changing crisis including death. You can't just keep saying, "One day I'd like to...". You have to embrace the full risks of life.

I asked for an early retirement package and eventually got one. I realize that isn't a real possibility for many of you. I am most grateful to P&G. Still there have to be ways to live more fully.

I didn't want my kids (then 21,18, 15) thinking that you have to just grit your teeth and heart and always tough out what isn't enriching or purposeful. So it was a tough call but the right one.

I had been calculating "the number" I needed to hang it up for 10 years. There's a clue right there. Sounds like I knew 10 years prior that I needed to have an exit strategy. And in some ways I was waiting it out. In any case, I had on my own married most of the conventional rules of financial planning to my expectations and had that vetted by a financial adviser. I had my own modest definition of "enough". And of course that has been redefined since October '08.

So,I left P&G Jan 2/08 and started my journey of self-discovery reapplying to my own firm, NTEL4u my skills as a competitive/market analysis and stategist both in the pro-bono side (,, other) and doing a variety of consulting projects built mostly on my background in CPG and pharmaceuticals. (8 projects, 5 clients, 5 figures in my first year)

What I have learned more about so far is that:

1) I enjoy helping others be successful but I am still struggling to combine that with "enough" - financially, emotionally. My work as a SCORE counselor and fundraiser for an NFP has been challenging and enjoyable and allowed me to take the lead on new things - writing business plans, learning more about funding businesses and fundraising systems, applying my research and analysis skills to many more and diverse situations. I like to connect the dots and people.
2) Business development has so much to do with psychographics. Only making that personal connection and being patient allows you to get a real be fully heard in terms of the unique value you can bring to the table and in this market a lot of patience is needed. Meeting other like-minded hearts and minds is critical. Speed-dating is generally pointless. Be real. It's efficient and simply right.
3) Compartmentalizing your life is draining. God's at work on purpose. He made each one of us for a specific purpose. Our job is to find that purpose and do it. Then hang on for the ride of your life. As Georgia Byrd says in Last Holiday (Queen Latifah), "I have live my life in a box and I don't want to be buried in one". No more of that. He will reveal what is enough and always provide it. It's been amazing how financial resources have come to my wife and kids over the past year as I have struggled to stay on my business and life plan.
4) Community is so important. Right now that is significantly about networking and meeting new people. It's an incredible way to learn - all these other minds/lives absorbing, experimenting, networking. Right now I haven't found that community in a local church and am coming to the conclusion that the real church is a small group of authentic believers you connect with regularly and do life together with. Most times, these are one on one or two on one interactions where there is time to be real, to listen and learn - to believe.
5) Competitive intelligence is forever changed. While you have to make the competition as important as consumers and customers, it's all about DIY now. You have to better enable others to do their own, to learn the disciplines and processes, to think differently. You have to knit together and operationalize readily available sources and find an internal operator at your client. You still win by knowing competition better and before you. It's still about strategic gap filling because no one knows what they don't know. Information still doesn't flow well in organizations given their structures and personalities. Blue Ocean Strategy is right that you need to get beyond the competition as is Michael Lanning's DVP thinking, but you still have to have a clear view of competition. They make you better. You are simply tapping into another group of very smart people who happen to be competitors. You still win by knowing them better and before they know you (counterintel is fun). As a consultant you have to offer outstanding value. Any consultancies I admire offer extremely high value at a modest price. Big consulting is increasingly "toast".

Ok. That's if for today. Am reading David Merrman Scott's book on the "New Rules of Marketing and PR" - very good. Again it dimensionalizes how much the world is moving toward DIY given new technology and thinking. Also reading Kaufman Foundations "Thoughtbook-2009". I don't think they get it quite right on education. This is a space of ultimate expression of DIY going forward and credentialing will take a hit.

So enough is becoming enough when you are more full of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness and self-control and when your thoughts are full of what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable. Money will always consume time and attention and talent, but is somewhere down the line. I keep trying to keep that in perspective...often not succeeding.

On the journey,

Stan R. Dyck (beta)
513.235.0262 mobile
513-785-0680 fax
(meet me.... well part of me....on Linkedin)