How To Get Briefed like You’re the President


How do you start your day? If you’re the President, you start with a briefing. The President’s Daily Brief is intended to provide the president of the United States each morning with new international intelligence that warrants attention and an analysis of sensitive international situations. It’s been filtered and flagged by a team of experts. It’s highly focused and efficient. 

The concept of a morning briefing is also relevant for the rest of us. You may not have a west wing’s worth of staffers to filter content for you, but you still need a briefing because things don’t stop while you are sleeping. Whilst you were dreaming last night your industry was changing, new research was published, new insights were gained, and competitors launched new products. How are you going to stay on top? With a focused daily briefing.


Everyone needs a daily briefing

In the old days it was common to see staff reading a morning newspaper as they sat on trains commuting to work. A newspaper is a classic example of a morning briefing. It has limitations in that it is not personalised. It’s been filtered by an editor, who doesn’t know what matters to you. 

These days many people start their day by checking their Facebook or Twitter feed. This is at least more focused than general media because you’ve chosen to follow certain people. But this is not a comprehensive view of industry news. They’re not posting based on your interests. There’s a lot of noise among the signals – how can you filter to see see the right stuff?

API – Actionable, Personalised Intelligence

Every knowledge worker needs actionable, personalised intelligence which they can assess, reflect on, and apply to their work. What makes for an effective daily briefing?

actionable intelligence


It’s got to be personalised to you. It should be  specific about what you want to track. This may be at the very specific level of a company, a sector, or a group of experts.  Filtering out irrelevance is the key to personalisation. Personalised might mean 

  • my work interests
  • what my colleagues are sharing
  • what my network is sharing
  • what influencers I respect are saying/sharing
  • what publications I respect are publishing
  • what content in my area is getting most shares or trending
  • my non-work obsessions

This is the ‘seeking’ phase in the Seek / Sense / Share model put forward by Harold Jarche. By setting up the right filters, you’ll waste less time seeking out information that’s not relevant to you.


You then need to get a sense of this content and decide whether it’s something that you or your team need to consider. This is where a briefing becomes intelligence, not just a newsfeed. It’s actively assessing content and considering questions like

  • Does this present a risk?
  • Is it an opportunity?
  • Is this helpful in changing our thinking on a topic?
  • Is there someone else in my team who could use this?
  • Is this something I want to come back to later?
  • Is this not relevant (and I need to update my filters so I don’t see more)

By asking these sense-making questions, you’re adding another layer of filtering to the content. You’re making it more personal.


So, what’s the action? With every piece of intelligence, what can you do? At the core here is your team. Your close colleagues are likely to be working on the same challenges and scanning the same materials. So by sharing insights, you build connected knowledge and help each other. Share by 

  • Flagging content as a risk or opportunity 
  • Commenting – say why this is important
  • Saving it in a shared knowledge base for future use 
  • Reflecting on what trends you’re seeing as part of a team briefing
  • Adding back to learning programmes to help them stay relevant

This is the triple filter. If your team are all seeking, sensing and sharing content and you’re all focused on similar areas, the odds of something getting past you are greatly reduced.

Three steps to an effective daily briefing

  1. Use filtering tools. Don’t let too much information in from too many sources. You can use our Anders Pink app to filter information from multiple sources into a single briefing. You can use:
    • keywords to filter content from across the web, you can use multiple keywords, must include keywords and exclude keywords to get exactly what you want
    • Twitter handles to bring in content from influencers, you can also filter what they share by keywords
    • Domains or websites, to see all new articles they publish or filter them by keywords
    • RSS feeds, to bring in content from multiple RSS feeds and again filter by keywords as you need
  2. Develop a daily briefing habit. You need to be on top of this every day. Decide when you’re going to review your briefing information – for example, after your first coffee, or after you sit down on the train. 15 minutes a day should do it to start with. We’ve written more about forming daily learning habits here.
  3. Share and you’ll get more back: In a connected knowledge team, the more you share to help your colleagues, the more they will share back with you. In the AP app you can flag content to your team, flag content to specific team members, comment in articles and save articles to shared pinboards. So set the tone and flag content. Better to over-notify than let things slide by. More on how connected teams help each other here.

There’s an overwhelming amount of content produced every day. You can worry about missing out on the important stuff.  But the President doesn’t get FOMO.  Set up a Personalised Daily Briefing, get your team to do the same, and you won’t either.

Sign up for the beta version of our new app to see how.