We confess. We do love a good Sunday paper. There’s nothing quite like the early morning thud of the Sunday Times hitting your front door. It’s the one day where we can luxuriate in the time to read each section cover to cover. Yet, here’s confession number two – this doesn’t happen nearly as often as we’d like. As much as we call ourselves news junkies, there’s just too much. Because between the standard printed news sources, network/cable TV, industry publications, online magazines and blogs – not to mention social media outlets – time and volume is our enemy.
So we do the best we can by some stealth skimming. We’ll do a seemingly endless amount of searches. We’ll manually set up alerts and cross our fingers that we know enough to get through the work day. And maybe it’s enough to get the job done, but is it enough to get the job done exponentially better? Our guess is no. But sadly, that’s how most business leaders operate on a daily basis. In fact, we’ll wager that most leaders opt for the following:
1. The AM Shotgun Reading Session
We know a lot of CEOs that read up to 5 printed dailies while scrolling the news on their smartphone. We applaud the optimism. Truly. But a daily newspaper, no matter the pedigree, will only deliver a fraction of the information you need. Yes, there might be some gems on the front page, but chances are that it’s not necessarily going to be impactful for your business. The material intelligence that you need might be buried on page 35b – which, if you’re being honest – you’ll never get to.
2. All-Day-Long Manual Searching
This is what we refer to as ‘trolling the internet one search at a time.’ And yes, it could literally take you all day. This is fine for the average consumer because they are likely searching for one thing at a time. But businesses track hundreds of different things daily. If you’re fortunate to have a research team available, congratulations. But our guess is that you’d prefer they do other things with their time.
3. Plowing Through Noisy Email Alerts
Alerts can help, but be ready to set up A LOT. They’re just automated searches after all. How focused can they be? How many can you realistically manage? Prepare to spend more time following more links. Because remember this: the internet is an enormous flowing river of information, not a quiet lake of data. New information is constantly added and older information just depreciates. So you can’t spend your day hitting the refresh button.