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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Work Like a Spy

From responding to crises to achieving organization excellence, perhaps corporate America has something to learn from spies.

“The truth is, spies rely on psychology far more than they do on technology. Instead of gizmos or gadgets, CIA officers use behavioral techniques to elicit secrets from people and organizations — techniques that are broadly applicable enough to be used in even the least cloak-and-dagger of settings.”
That quote is from former undercover CIA officer J.C. Carleson (9 years conducting clandestine operations). In her new book “Work Like a Spy: Business Tips From a Former CIA Officer” (a clever twist on the career self-help genre), she indicates that her CIA skills -- an increased understanding of human nature, new techniques for eliciting informa­tion, and improved awareness of potential security problems – give her a powerful edge in business.

Applicants in job interviews can subtly glean helpful information using the clandestine tactic of “strategic education.” At the beginning of the meeting, Carleson writes, ask the interviewer what they’re prouc of in themselves. The answer will tell you “what [qualities] they want to hear” in you. page 27

Don’t be afraid to take a lesson from the CIA’s dark side: Use “offensive recruiting,” identify which of your competitorsd ahs “ther deepest bench of talent” and “cherry-pick the best employees.” page 88

As a manager, “make room for lone wolves” in your organization.”Some people thrive on team participation. Other people just want to do their job well and to be left alone to do what they were hired for.” page 97

Never negotiate. “Put together an offer that is so attractive that demurral  would be foolish,” Carleson writess. “And avoid the back-and-forth antics and posturing associated with formal negotiations by beginning and ending with the only offer you plan to make.” page 156

According to Carleson, "The methods developed by the CIA are all about getting what you want from other peo­ple ... in a business context, these techniques apply to seeking a new job, a promotion, a big sale, an advantageous regulatory ruling, and countless other situations."

To quote Sun Tzu, It is only the enlightened ruler and the wise general who will use the highest intelligence of the army for the purposes of spying, and thereby they achieve great results.

Do you agree with Carleson's idead that business would do well to  study the techniques of the covert community?

If you are interested in buying this book,

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek 2/4-10/13

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