Watch officers - Please read

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Al-Akhbar Management

Date 2008-02-05 20:06:05
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This is good stuff, Karen. Looking at this it is clear we need to do a better job of sending stuff to GV alerts - it makes it to OS (meaning monitors are doing their jobs) but not to gvalerts (shame on us). I commented on three below, but the point remains that we're missing GV-able items. The simplest solution is probably just WOs taking more time to become familiar with the client list so that we recognize GV items quickly when we're in a hurry.

I think the breakdown of misses is very helpful. Perhaps as Orit suggested we should do this regularly - evaluate the previous shift's work each shift? This would be brutal, but it would also be a good exercise (both for the person being evaluated and the person doing the evaluating).
Looking back when there is more time to consider each item, it is easier to see my mistakes and as such I'm much less likely to make them again. The evaluations would be up for comment by any of the WOs, which would help us improve as well. I'll (sheepishly) offer my shift today as the first for evaluation if Karen thinks she'll have time to grade me tonight. Karen, if you do, go for it - it's nighttime in Orit-land so we probably won't hear from her for several more hours. Probably we would only need to do this for a week more or less, but it wouldn't have to be a permanent fixture as it could become quite time-consuming.

Here's to more effective WOs!
Orit Gal-Nur wrote:

These graphs definitely help us see the layout of our coverage. It's also something we can do every two weeks to monitor AOR coverage from the OS and Alerts lists. But we also need to consider that some of the AORs will have more reppable items, such as the Middle East and Europe.
Agree on this. Latam is important for mining/lng/oil issues for clients, but these don't always make it to reps.
One side note about the list you compiled below, is it possible that my OS box differs from yours? In my thunderbird, one item on the list below was forwarded to alerts, and a few others did not show up at all in OS (I don't delete anything from OS).
While a crucial aspect of our job is speed, sometimes it's hard to balance this with accuracy. As Karen mentioned, the double and triple fact checking is mandatory, but it can slow us in tackling the OS in a timely manner. Sometimes during the quick decision making in whether to rep or not, I pass a potential rep only to rep it later after reading another article and either seeing it a different perspective or with just different wording. Agreed on this, too. We should be fast, but we should also be accurate. The solution is to get better at both. We need to have exercises that allow us to look critically at our work. One might be the graph below, done on a consistent basis, to see how our sweeping and repping is covered. Another exercise could be to compare the time frames from certain days as Karen did, giving us each a chance to analyze the lists and eachothers' repping mistakes. This type of feedback and learning will spread to all aspects of the job and influence all our decision making.

Thanks Karen, this is a good start.

Karen Hooper wrote:

Hi all,

It is clear that we need more accountability and discussion of the principles that drive Watch Officer decision-making at Stratfor. Below is my own evaluation of the relationship between the OS list and the Alerts list between 5 am cst and 1 pm cst Feb. 4. During that time, there were a total of 24 items sent to the alerts list and 20 items sent to the gvalerts list. There were only three items sent to the GV alerts list between 7 am CST and 8 pm CST yesterday, which is a problem.

The alerts list is closer to where it ought to be, but we may have missed a few items that should at the very least be brought to the attention of the company. We are also just not as fast as we could be. I know that I sometimes get caught up in sweeping, consulting with monitors and analysts, and double and triple checking things before i rep them, which puts me in a position where I've not forwarded alert items the list as fast as I ought to. This is something we all need to be acutely aware of -- we have to be reactive, and we must err on the side of overreaction.

At the very bottom of this email is a graph showing our sitrepping patterns over the last two weeks. The data only include weekdays, and do double-count reps that qualify for more than one AOR. I'm not sure what is to be learned from it, except our sitrep coverage of Latin America is decidedly less than awesome and our coverage of East Asia is spotty. Latin America is pretty internally focused right now, but we need at the very least to be picking up the cartel violence. I will take the lead on talking to our two monitors who touch on latam and putting together some tactical guidance for WOs and Monitors.

To date, we've been really focused on the monitors, getting them up to speed, working out scheduling, etc. It's definitely time that we took a look at our own performance, and we need to be thinking about ways that we can improve our consistency, speed and thoroughness. Reva has pointed out the need to be more careful in our highlighting process, which is something she sees easily, first thing in the morning. But we are the only ones who can easily go through the OS list -- and we should do so in with the aim of keeping each other honest.

By controlling the flow of information, the watch officers hold the family jewels of the company. This will become increasingly true, and it's our job to make the right call, every time.

Below is the result of a sample i took from 5 am CST to 1 pm CST. The lists below are of items that probably should have been sent to alerts or GValerts:

GV:
[OS] TURKEY/ENERGY - Ankara delays natural gas tender for March 14
[OS] ENERGY - Trans-Black Sea pipeline studies under way
[OS] UAE/IB - Abu Dhabi plans investment of $280 bln
[OS] KUWAIT/KSA/ENERGY - Kuwait, Saudi to increase Neutral Zone oil capacity
[OS] LITHUANIA/POLAND/SWEDEN/ENERGY - Seimas passes nuclear bill I may be overlooking something, but I don't see that this one should have been GVd.
[OS] NORWAY/ENERGY - Turbine fire shuts down 20, 000 barrel per day Njord A oil platform off Norwa
[OS] RUSSIA/SOMALIA/CT - Pirates seize Russians, British man off Somalia (More details) A similar article was sent to gvalerts prior to this one. But it raised a question in my mind - what kinds of updates do we need for GV items? So I asked Joe. He says there's no need to update a story unless it changes the fundamentals or a briefer contacts the WO to say it is important enough to a client to warrant tracking more minute changes.
[OS] ANGOLA/SOUTH AFRICA/IB - Angolan mining potential in focus in South Africa I don't think this one needed to be sent to GValerts. The only new information is that a presentation is being given.
S2 - NIGERIA/CT - Rebels claim Nigerian oil delta attack
[OS] BRAZIL/TURKEY/ENERGY/IB - Petrobras, Turkiye Petrolleri Find Black Sea Oil, Referans Says
[OS] CHINA/IB - Copper Rises as Costs May Curb China's Output; Nickel Declines
[OS] SERBIA/US/PP/IB - Serbia, US Steel sign environmental protection deal
[OS] COLOMBIA/ENERGY - Colombia To Auction Rights To Seek Oil In 151 Blocks In 2008
[OS] FRANCE/VENEZUELA/ENERGY/IB - Total Signs 2 Heavy Oil Study Deals With PDVSA
[OS] IB - Airbus Completes First Civil Aircraft Test Flight With Alternative Fuel

Alerts:
[OS] IRAQ/IRAN/ENERGY - Baghdad protests against Iranian violations of Iraqi oilfields
[OS] JAPAN/CHINA/IB - Japan sends mission to China over food poisoning incidents
[OS] CHAD/CT/UN - EU Chad mission suspended but will go ahead-Solana
[OS] US/MIL/CT- U.S. Citizen in Singapore Accused of Selling Military Hardware to Iran [It was too old to rep, but it should have been sent out]
[OS] IB - White House Budget Request
[OS] FRANCE/VENEZUELA/ENERGY/IB - Total Signs 2 Heavy Oil Study Deals With PDVSA
[OS] ITALY - Berlusconi Rejects Government as Early Election Looms

Other issues:
[OS] EGYPT/GAZA/CT - Palestinian gunfire wounds 2 Egyptian policemen [this was sent to the OS list three times, it was repped over an hour after it was first sent to the list]
[OS] COLOMBIA/CT - Colombians in anti-Farc protests [i repped this later, when the numbers were made clear (half a million protesters), but it was still pretty impt when sent out at the beginning of the day]
[OS] SPAIN/CT - Spanish police arrest Basque separatists [This was repped, but not until an hour after it was sent to the OS list] INDIA/MALAYSIA - India, Malaysia seeking ways to join hands in fighting terror [this should have been resent to the OS list with a CT tag]

Sitrepping by AOR over the past two weeks:

Feb. Feb. Jan. Jan. Jan. Jan. Jan. Jan. Jan. Jan. Jan.
4 1 31 30 29 28 25 24 23 22 21
East 3 6 5 7 3 16 4 3 8 6 8
Asia
Middle 15 15 7 8 8 17 15 11 17 14 12
East
Latin 3 4 3 3 3 2 2 1 3 4 6
America
South 6 9 11 4 5 6 11 6 11 10 5
Asia
Africa 6 8 6 2 5 1 5 1 7 3 6
Europe 6 7 4 8 6 3 16 9 7 9 8
FSU 3 5 6 7 6 9 9 11 7 6 4

--
Orit Gal-Nur
Watch Officer
Strategic Forecasting, Inc.
[email protected]

--
Thomas Davison
Watch Officer
Stratfor
(512) 366-0196

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