Human Intelligence Series, #3
Using Executive Profiles To Anticipate Future Actions
Mergers & Rumours of Mergers
In an era of frequent mergers and acquisitions, management personnel in a distinguished Canadian insurance company believed that their company would soon merge with either one of two major competitors.
The Competitive Intelligence professional was asked to determine which of the two competitors the insurance company would most likely merge with
Using Executive Profile
Using a technique often used by government intelligence agencies like the CIA, the CI professional decided to use CEO biographies to help determine which competitor would be the likely winner of this contest.
An important attribute of this technique is that it blocks out the noise of speculation and takes into account the human factors that influence business transactions.
The following chart shows the results of research on the CEOs’ biographies:
|CEO Target Company
|CEO Buyer Company 1
|CEO Buyer Company 2
|Shared Business Associations
As can be seen from the chart, the CEOs of the Target Company and Buyer Company 1 have very much in common in that the
- Have the same professional background;
- Belong to the same business associations and social clubs; and
- Belong to the same age group and ethnic groups.
The CEO of Buyer Company 2 had nothing in common with the CEO of the Target Company who, one would assume, would find it easier to negotiate with the CEO of Buyer Company 1
Result: Assessment Proves to be Correc
Within six months, Buyer Company 1 did merge with the Target Company, with the latter continuing to operate under its own name
There was no guarantee that using executive profiles would accurately predict the eventual outcome, but the experience shows that this technique can provide credible option in the Competitive Intelligence toolbox.
Background to Using CEO Profiles
As mentioned above, the use executive profiles is based on the use of psychological profiles by intelligence agencies. Andrew Marshall, who served for many decades in the Office of Net Assessment, was a proponent of this technique: Marshall has relied on the study of psychological profiles of world leaders to help in these determinations. Most notably, he has predicted the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of China.
The Office of Net Assessment is charged with monitoring foreign trends, and has a history of predicting what-nation-will-do-what far in advance of them actually doing it