Proactive Intelligence

  I am reviewing Proactive Intelligence written by  John J McGonagle and Carolyn M. Vella published by Springer. This is a book that any smart executive involved with intelligence should have on their shelf.
The first three chapters deal with the definitions, terms and explanations involved in the discipline of competitive intelligence.
According to the authors:
“The tools and techniques that will enable you to produce your own CI for your consumption are out there, and have been honed by decades of work. But, you cannot just adopt them—you have to adapt them. When you get finished reading this book, you will still be thedata collector, the analyst, and the end-user. But traditional CI is premised on a reactive, two-part relationship—that is, a CI professional responding to what an end-user identifies as a need, usually the result of seeing another new threat. But,by doing this yourself, you can turn CI from being reactive to being proactive. As the decision-maker, you can get what CI you need, when you need it, and then use it almost seamlessly.”
This book will:
  • Educates working executives and managers about the power of competitive intelligence.
  • Provides real guidance on how to identify what competitive intelligence is needed and then how to get it.
  • Tells readers how to use competitive intelligence to develop competitive – and career – advantages

Traditionally, tapping into the power of competitive intelligence (CI) meant investing in the development of an internal CI unit or hiring outside consultants who specialized in CI.  Proactive Intelligence: The Successful Executive’s Guide to Intelligence offers an alternative: learn how to do it yourself and how to effectively manage the parts you cannot. The tools and techniques that will enable you to produce your own CI for your consumption are out there, and have been honed by decades of work. But, you cannot just adopt them – you have to adapt them.

Why? Because, when you finish reading this book, you will be the data collector, the analyst, and the end-user. Traditional CI is premised on a reactive, two part relationship – a CI professional responding to what an end-user identifies as a need; by doing this yourself you can turn CI from being reactive to being proactive. As the decision-maker, you can get what CI you need, when you need it, and then use it almost seamlessly. Written by two of the foremost experts on CI, Proactive Intelligence: The Successful Executive’s Guide to Intelligence:

•shows where and how CI can help you and your firm,

•provides practical guidance on how to identify what CI you need, how to find the data you need, and how to analyze it, and

•discusses how to apply CI to develop competitive- and career- advantages.

Each chapter is supported by important references as well as by an additional list of resources to support and supplement your knowledge. Proactive Intelligence: The Successful Executive’s Guide to Intelligence teaches you how to generate proactive intelligence and use it to advance your business and your career- making it an essential resource for managers and executives, as well as everyone who wishes to integrate CI into their daily work

Content Level » Professional/practitioner

Keywords » Competitive Intelligence – Decision Making – Management Planning – Strategic Planning – War Games

Related subjects » Business & Management for ProfessionalsLawOrganization – Human Resource ManagementProduction & Process Engineering


Key Performance Indicators


Today I will review the book Key Performance Indicators by Bernard Marr, published by Pearson.


This book is amazing! It contains 75 measures that EVERY manager needs to know. These 75 KPIs are divided in 6 parts:

Financial Perspective
Customer Perspective
Marketing and Sales Perspective
Operational processes and supply chain Perspective
Employee Perspective
Corporate social responsibility Perspective

In each of these parts Marr gives us the essential metrics according to the business perspective, for example: On part 3- Marketing and sales has KPIs such as Market growth rate and Customer online engagement level, just to name a few. For each KPI described in the book the author uses the same framework outlining:

Why is this indicator important?
How do I measure it?
Cost/effort in collecting the data
Tips and warnings

   Effective managers and decision makers understand the performance of all key dimensions of their business by distilling them down into the critical KPIs. Not understanding key metrics can often cause anxiety and can hold people back. This book will demystify and explain in simple terms the most important KPIs in use today. It will equip you with the skills to understand, measure and interpret the most important aspects of any business.
                      Bernard Marr

I found this book very usefull, because these business perspectives used are shared across most organizations irrespective from the type of industry and sector. You can use this book in two ways:

1) As a reference guide, because it allows you to look for the KPIs you want to learn about.

2) To complete your performance management framework, business dashboard, banlanced scorecard or business intelligence strategy.

If you are interested in this book click here to download a free chapter.


How to be a Person of Influence


Today I just finished reading this amazing book, How to be like Women of Influence written by Pat and Ruth William with Michael Mink from HCI Books. Before we go any further to all our male readers please stay! Although the book is all about women’s don’t be put down by the title, because the main purpose is to learn how they made a difference, how they influenced their countries, the world and history.

The book is about how these extraordinaire women and how influenced the world and made great contributions to humanity. The authors had chosen 20 of the greatest women that lived on the 19th and 20th century. It was a great read, it’s not a biography, but you get to know a little about the life of these great women’s and how they succeed in their respective fields, how they stayed strong in face of adversity, overcame prejudices and pressed forward the boundaries of race, religion, politics, disability, culture and business to make their own contributions to the world.

Each chapter is dedicated to a woman such as: Eleanor Roosevelt, Mother Teresa, Anne Frank, Margaret Thatcher, Sandra Day O’Connor, Oprah Winfrey, Golda Meir, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller, Marie Curie, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Amelia Earhart, Florence Nightingale, Harriet Beecher, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Clara Barton, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Mary Kay Ash.

What I liked the most about the book (besides the content),is the way it was written. Each chapter is full of stories, anecdotes, historical facts and curiosities with well chosen quotes.

On the end of each chapter there is a section How to be Like Oprah Winfrey (for example) and it comes with 7 to 16 bullet points of the characteristics and actions that these women’s had that made it possible for them to achieve their goals, with an additional text in each one of them. On top of that on the end of the book there is a section called Book Club Questions for Discussion, which I thought it was really good.

The great lesson is how can we become a person of influence? What the 20 women in this book had in common was:

  • Each one figured out what the prime motivation in their life would be and pursued it with passion.

“Before I was even into my teens…My goal was to be the greatest athlete that ever lived.” Babe Didrikson Zaharias

  • Each one set specific goals related to their passion and worked toward these goals.

“Nothing in life happens. It isn’t enough to believe in something; you have to have stamina to meet obstacles and overcome them,to struggle.” Golda Meir

  • They didn’t just dream; they made things happen.

“It is the individual who can and does make a difference even in this increasingly populous, complex world of ours. The individual can make things happen.” Sandra Day O’Connor

  • They made things happen because they were willing to work hard.

“Happiness…that’s something you can’t achieve by taking the easy way out. Earning happiness means doing good and working, not speculating and being lazy.Laziness may look inviting, but only work gives you true satisfaction.” Anne Frank

  • Each woman had a strong core belief in what she was doing and never gave up on their dreams. They persevered in good and bad times with their focus on their mission.

“If you have a sense of purpose and a sense of direction, I believe people will follow you.” Margaret Thatcher

  • They all had an “I can do” attitude. In their minds there were no limits to what they could achieve.

“Don’t depend on forces outside yourself to get ahead.” Oprah Winfrey

  • These women of influence simply kept focused on their passion, never letting “that’s impossible” become part of their vocabulary.

“The first principle: never to let one’s self be beaten down by persons or by events.” Marie Curie

  • In every single case these women were individuals. They defined who they were and refused to let anyone change that. They were true to themselves.
  • They all realized there was someone or something greater than themselves and they practiced their faith and also felt the need to give back to the world.

“Be a living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.” Mother Teresa

  • They were courageous women, and each one ventured into unknown fields and were willing to take the risks necessary to achieve their dreams.

“Decide then whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is stop worrying. To worry is to add another hazard. It retards reactions, makes one unfit.” Amelia Earhart

  • These influential women took responsibility for their own lives. They didn’t blame others or circumstances. They took what life gave them and made the best of it.

“What basic objective I had, for many years, was to grasp every opportunity to live and experience life as deeply, as fully, and as widely as I possibly could. It seemed to me stupid to have a gift of life and not use it to the utmost of one’s ability.” Eleanor Roosevelt

  • Education was very important to all of them. They were all lifelong learners, contributors to society and understood the value of education.

“Books showed me there was possibilities in life, that there were actually people like me living in a world I could not only aspire to but attain. Reading gave me hope. For me it was the open door.” Oprah Winfrey

I highly recommend this book it’s a great read and very inspiring. It makes you think and give more value for the things we take for granted in life. It motivates you to aim for big goals and work hard to achieve them.

Book Review:100 ways to Motivate Yourself

I just wanted to share with you this great book I just read from Steve Chandler, 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself (Career Press). It is a fun and inspirational read full of practical ideas, and how to apply them in a simple way in your daily life. The book has 219 pages, I read the 3rd edition and it comes with an additional 10 ideas! What I loved about this book is that it is very honest; there is no “magic” or promises of “miracle” instant success. It is all real things that the author did himself and he teaches you to positively change the way you think and act. On the final chapters he concentrates in helping us understand that it’s not just reading and accumulating knowledge, we have to apply what we learn in our lives, and again there is no magic trick. The bottom line is we need to take action, in the author’s words “The best way to motivate yourself is to act” and “…action is what creates motivation. Not the other way around”.

My favorite chapters are:
2- Stay hungry
7- Look for the lost Gold
8- Push all you own buttons
9- Build a track record
26- Run toward your fear
31- Find a place to come from
62- Bring on a good coach
77- Serve and grow rich
108- Do what you can today
110 – Enjoy your resistance training
It’s difficult to choose a favorite part, but these were the ones that I identified with most. Another good thing is that throughout the book he recommends lots of great books as well (which I put on my list for future reading).
I would recommend you to read this book, and then after a while, start reading it again, one chapter a day giving you that extra dose of motivation to start your day well.


What about you? What books have you read lately that inspired and motivated your life?

Thinking like Successful People


Today I will talk a little bit more about the purpose of this blog, this way we can get to know each other better…

Like I said on the first post, I am also on the personal development quest. I think there will always be room for improvement and I enjoy the journey. One of the things I do to improve myself is to be constantly reading and studying.  I love reading and I collect Books of all the subjects I like. Usually I log the books I read (according to subject relevance) on my PDP, this way I keep track of my progress and performance. That’s why every now and then I will be recommending some books I read, like the one bellow:

9 Things Successful People do Differently

I just read this book, and it is totally relevant if you are setting your goals and want to create good habits,leave the bad ones and get motivated. The book was written by Heidi Grant Halvorson, PhD. The book it’s straight to the point, a fast read (106 pages) but with great quality and content. It gave me some really good insights.

On top of that, it comes in a great pocket book format so you can have it nearby when you need some help or to boost your motivation and get back on track.

On 9 Things Successful People do Differently  (Harvard Business Review Press) , Dr Halvorson explains in a very simple and enjoyable way what these nine things are:

1)      Get Specific – Dr Halvorson talks about the importance to get specific not just with your goals but also with the obstacles that lie in the way getting there. And explains about the mental contrasting technique.

2)      Seize the Moment to act on your Goals

3)      Know Exactly How Far You Have left to Go- On this chapter, Dr Halvorson explores the importance of monitor your progress and seek feedback on a to-date and to-go basis.

4)      Be a Realistic Optimistic

5)      Focus on Getting Better, Rather than Being Good

6)      Have Grit – Grit is the persistence and commitment to long-term goals. This chapter is also about the importance of will power.

7)      Build Your Willpower Muscle – Here we learn how to develop and train our will power.

8)      Don’t Temp Fate

9)      Focus on What You Will Do, Not what You Won’t Do.

Leave your recommendations and favorite reads that have helped you move forward in your personal and professional development.