This article was originally published on  translated into English.

In an interview with Harvard Business School , Andrew Grove, former CEO of Intel, delivered his astounding vision of leadership:

“None of us really know the direction to take. And certainly not me. But decisions do not wait, you cannot wait until a situation clears up on its own. You have to make the decision at the right time.”

This quotation dates back to 2003, it is still valid. CEO’s and executives of 2017 perceive responsiveness and adaptability as one of the main challenges in their profession. They are expected to make decisions in the light of new structures and new players that are likely to disrupt their markets, the innovations that emerge every day, the regulations that are evolving, or the increasingly powerful consumer’s brands.

Keeping track of facts and staying on top of masses of data are two missions that can quickly turn out to be superhuman, at a time when “infobesity” (information overload) has returned to the common language. The main obstacle is a lack of time, especially when tasks build up.

It is, therefore, necessary and indispensable to rethink how we consume information.

Reaching out to new sources

The press no longer has a monopoly on information. Social media can have a strong impact on a brand. This is particularly evident in the crises that can arise on social media before being relayed by the press. The first challenge for a CEO/director is to capture and react to this crisis before the press!

Social media can also bring good news. A celebrity or an influential person talking about your products, or any community that positively mentions your new campaign, is important data that can be capitalised.

Beyond social media, other sources of information can be considered. For example, for comprehensive competitive intelligence, it is vital to take into account job offers published by your competitors. Are they recruiting lots of engineers? If so, they are probably working on a new product. Are they looking for a Development Officer in Spain? Chances are they’re tapping into a new market. 

And, let’s not forget that competitors advertising spend and keywords are full of interesting information, about their target, their products and their developments.

Is there a good time to check information?

Directors have very structured days, where each hour is allocated in advance to a specific task. According to a study by the American media Quartz , 3/4s of CEOs dedicate their mornings to looking at information. But what if the vital information appears later in the day? Will they only see it the next morning when it will be too late to react effectively?

To be able to make a decision based on current events, it is essential to take the time to be informed. There are two ways to do this:

  • Dedicate one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon to look at information surrounding your brand. The problem with this is that time is a luxury that few directors have. 
  • Set up alerts, based on specific interests, which will notify you when relevant information is published.

What tools can help you?

There are tools like Executive Alerts. It uses powerful artificial intelligence to select the most important daily information from over 10 million social media mentions, advertising spends and job offers from your competitors. This application alerts you in real-time about crucial information, as well as a daily summary of the news.

No time to read an article? You can save it for later with the Pocket application. By connecting your browser directly to your smartphone, this app allows you to save your items for later viewing in offline mode. Ideal to optimise your journey times for example! 

Is your news being circulated by the media? You can analyse the impact of your press releases in the global online press and on social networks with Meltwater Impact. It’s ideal to know if one of your new products attracts the interest of the general public. You can also benchmark your communications with those of your competitors or measure the discrepancies between your paid and earned media.

Know how to react to information

According to a study by HBR, analysing the profile of more than 17,000 senior executives, including 2000 CEOs, the most effective directors are not those who consistently make good decisions, but those who take them more quickly with more conviction.  Some even do so when they have only incomplete or ambiguous information!

Often, a bad decision is better than no decision at all. This can be corrected and become a source of learning and evolution for the future. A lack of decision, however, may reflect a lack of direction.

Responsiveness also means knowing how to delegate and circulate information to the right people in a company, in order to make a joint decision.

To ensure you don’t lack behind your competition, the key is to remain open to opportunities and crises while grasping the right information at the right time and reacting accordingly.

to information

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