Peter Earnest is a former CIA covert operative and spy master with over 36 years in intelligence. He is the E.F Hutton of the spy world, they say "When he talks people listen!" He is also a man who got the job done all those years consistently, time and time again.
In the world of espionage that is an impressive accomplishment, if I do say so myself - he also did something else amazing through all this when you think about it "he managed to stayed alive". So besides being a national hero he is also freaking , scary brilliant!
So when a friend told me he wrote a book, I went on a mission to find it. Well I found it, it is titled: "Business Confidential: Lessons for the Corporate success from inside the CIA".
It is a remarkable read, that I would highly recommend to anyone interested in spying or espionage. It basically explains how techniques commonly used by spies and diplomats in the intelligence service and applies it to business success.
A particular section on gathering intelligence on people is most revealing.
He suggest that the best approach to get information in most cases is "flattery, criticism, pretext and using the leverage of someones emotions...in such a way as can be put to work in your office.
Instead of saying "who dropped the ball on the business deal" you could try direct questioning techniques where you can search for clues to indicate deception or deceit. For example you might say "what signs did you notice that the deal was falling apart" and guage the response.
There is also the emotional appeal to team loyalty or the company.
And the "futility proposition", as he calls it - "I don't see any way out for you on this, why not tell me what happened with the project maybe. So I can make sense of it.
Other techniques include 'the Fear Down" overture and the "pride and ego approach" all effective ways of manipulating people to get specific information. Which you can then use in formal logic, using deductive or inductive reasoning, like Sherlock Holmes.
It's all sneaky stuff. But it is reflective of a mindset used in the murky world of espionage that can also have it's practical applications in the world of big business.
Peter Earnest's book is available on Amazon.com. See also www.mcgrawhill.co.uk/html/0814414486.htm
For information on what is really a "crash course in espionage" visit the International Spy Museum www.spymuseum.org
Robert Tilford *_*