I2 A better way to our future sustainability

Charlene Norman
4 min readDec 27, 2023

Many moons ago, I was a senior executive in a company known for its ‘global thinking and local care.’ Truthfully, I had no idea what that phrase meant; however, my experience there shaped my perspective forever after that.

It was the beginning of my deep dive into I2. Integrated Intelligence.

When a smart company gets to a certain size, it analyzes its product offerings to remove the low performers and enhance the strong ones. The marketing head often recommends consolidation and reordering, which will result in a new branding effort.

Our ‘global thinking and local care’ motto was exactly that.

We researched how each product in each subsidiary performed, compared that performance against every other product in every other subsidiary and ultimately ranked them from best to worst performers in terms of profit margin and ROI.

We went further and compared similar products doing similar things, grouped those into categories and then compared all the marketing messages to look for similarities. We also reviewed the lead times it took to get those products into the hands of new accounts and highlighted the most efficient subsidiaries.

We ended up with a streamlined product offering, which could be sold anywhere in the world, with fairly standard selling processes we called the best of the best and a list of acceptable deviations in local marketing messages. This gave us a very coherent brand globally with an appropriate personal touch level in the local marketplace.

Getting to that point was not easy. There were silos to crack open, egos to deal with, and ingrained systems and attitudes that had survived decades. A huge factor behind the success we ultimately had was we tried something completely different. We called it the cross-functional team approach.

We invited representatives from marketing, sales, production, finance, research and development, customer service and administration to the table. For the sole purpose of squeezing out the highest level of profit from our existing product lines in the least disruptive and costly manner.

That began my love affair with the team approach and collaboration.

Eventually, though, I came to see that there were obvious shortcomings with this approach. It was company-specific, so fresh ideas from the outside were not injected into the process. It was rank-dependent, so those with the most seniority had the biggest voices at the table.

The underlying motivation was money, which meant we could find ways to grow the organization’s bottom line and pad our personal bank account with a bonus. And it definitely perpetuated the Peter Principle. Many people were ultimately promoted for reasons other than merit.

Ultimately, I tinkered with each one of these shortcomings in every team effort I set up thereafter. And when I got close to what I termed ’near-nirvana,’ was gobsmacked by the extraordinary results.

In writing my latest book, I was struck with the term Integrated Intelligence, or eye- squared. Truthfully, it is a term I made up.

Of course, in the spirit of there are no new ideas anymore, a quick search by Professor Google indicates there is a company in the US which states that for its brand, ‘Integrated Intelligence is integrating knowledge, information, and results by evolving the mission tradecraft enabled by technology, infrastructure, analytics, applications, and data sources collaboratively across the Intelligence Community (IC) and Department of Defense (DoD) Agencies.’

Let me hasten to add this is definitely NOT what I had in mind! Here is what I see when I talk of Integrated Intelligence. (I2)

Bringing together a comprehensive collection of humans from many disciplines, with varying levels of seniority, age, experience and interests and giving them one goal. That goal is to find the best solution to a particular or defined problem that is for the highest good for all.

Many of us understand the urgency of taking action and developing solutions if we are to stand any chance of stopping the erosion of Planet Earth. And most of us understand there are many, many different ways we can take action in the many, many different areas that need salvation.

If we take the attitude that we are all in this together and the approach that wisdom is already buried inside each of us, we can get behind being part of small groups or pods. In those groups or pods, we can combine the wisdom of mankind from around the world, the ancestral knowledge of our indigenous tribes and the inherent harmony of the Universe. In other words, sharing and listening to ideas of how the planet actually works, how those man-made ideas have worked successfully elsewhere, adapting all those ideas to the local conditions and then implementing them with acceptable deviations may very well prove to be the best way forward.

In my experience, this approach works better and faster because it is collaborative, not individual. It saves time by tapping into the well of wisdom that already exists. It bypasses rank and file, ignores sex, age, race and bias, and focuses on bringing many, many different disciplines and industries together. There are no personal promotions or windfalls. Simply the satisfaction of making a difference that is truly the highest good for all.

This altruistic approach is what the 5cs podcast, book and the community are all about. No theory, no courses, no upsells. All action. In the highest good. Integrated Intelligence at its finest.

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Charlene Norman

Inspiring good humans to make a difference for all on Planet Earth. Podcast host, author, and community leader. Fanatical about change for the highest good.