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How Intelligence Managers Can Free Up More Time

Dawn Faint

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June 26, 2018

It can often feel like the research and information channels in your organization all lead back to you. You have your own set of goals and tasks that need to be accomplished, but the nature of your job means you spend most of your time reacting to new product rollouts and company mergers that were not foreseen.

It can be overwhelming to try to keep all your necessary tasks and intelligence requests from different departments and senior management in the air at once, but that's what you do every day to get the job done. You have more strategic insight that often doesn't get shared due to your normal overload of tasks. Freeing up some of your time will help you reach a point where you can contribute more of these insights. Get a seat at the table and share the unique information you can offer to help your company stay ahead of the curve.

Here we share a few ways you can free up more time.

Stick to Priorities

Intelligence managers often live in tiny pockets dispersed throughout a company. The knowledge and abilities you have often aren't well-known until word starts to spread across departments and across the organization. People hear of the amazing report you pulled for someone in accounting and come to you for help with the project they need to present by the end of the week. While assisting your coworkers in accomplishing their goals is an important and valued task you take on, if you want to manage your time, you need to also manage their expectations.

Take into account what you have on your plate and the limit of additional capacity you can manage at a given time. Communicate that when the requests start to pour in, as they always do. Gauging and monitoring your priorities will help you accomplish what you need to get done, manage your time, and offer realistic results to the coworkers who are requesting your resources. They are grateful for the insight and analysis you offer them, but you need to be transparent about the amount of time you can dedicate to each of their requests. If their report deadline is not within the scope of what you can accomplish, then it is better to let them know how long it will take and when they could expect your input to be complete. You are often juggling a wider range of tasks and responsibilities than your coworkers might be aware of. Communicating capacity will allow you to plan, prioritize, and make space for those requests and for the personal work initiatives you are driving toward completion.

Resources

A key problem of your overwhelming task load is that you need more resources than you have access to. Increasing your resources could mean hiring a larger team of analysts to assist you or finding an analysis tool to widen the scope of tasks you can accomplish. Hiring a team of people to organize content for you can be immensely helpful in adding time back to your day. A team that works on different levels will allow you to delegate the churn coming in from all sides of your organization and create time to focus clearly on the tasks you have in front of you.

While constantly being inundated with unmanageable tasks doesn't feel sustainable to you, you make it happen for the company by working hard and putting in long hours. However, senior management will not feel the same pain that you experience, because the work is still getting done. This can become a problem when requesting more resources in the form of hiring a larger team. Justifying the additional money allotted to hiring those analysts to help you get the job done will be difficult if management doesn't see the immediate need to do so. You can manage this by communicating your limited capacity and what might occur if you weren't able to manage the level of work that keeps you in the office after 5 and often working weekends.

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Hiring a team to assist you can also be a short-term solution to a larger need for competitive and market intelligence — a need your company will continue to have as it grows. CI has an unpredictable and snowballing nature. There will always be more information to dig through and deeper analysis to complete. How long will it be until your newly assembled team needs to add another member?

Enlisting a software as a resource will assist not only you, but also your organization as a whole in accomplishing daily CI queries. A software that facilitates and displays CI research and analysis can be accessible to everyone who needs it at your company. They can collect the answers from the tool without you needing to exert duplicate effort, effectively freeing up your time to sit in on more calls earlier in the planning process. Your valuable, inside knowledge can be shared when it will influence business decisions and not only when reactive information is needed. You had the insight all along, but part of getting a seat at the table is having the capacity to spend the time on those calls.

Delegating tasks is critical. Whether that is in the form of hiring a team or adding a software to widen your bandwidth, you will see the immediate difference in capacity and your ability to offer valuable information to projects — insight you always had, but didn't have the time to express.

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Dawn Faint
Dawn Faint

Dawn helps companies in the Life Sciences space map their competitive environment, develop intelligence strategies which identify risks, and position them for future growth. Prior to joining Cipher, Dawn worked for many years in the Healthcare space in leadership roles at Cigna, Schering-Plough, Pharmacia (now Pfizer) and Johnson & Johnson companies Ortho Biotech and Ortho-McNeil, and in the Management Consulting space for Right Management.

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