So, it’s confession time. I’m embarrassed to admit that I love Karaoke. I really enjoy the atmosphere in pubs and bars on karaoke night, and I really enjoy hearing the good (and bad) renditions of songs that people sing. I don’t actually sing myself (with a few rare exceptions), but I try to get to a karaoke night once every few weeks and soak up the atmosphere.
A couple of weeks ago, I wandered into a karaoke night at my local pub and ordered a round of drinks for me and my friends. As I was queuing at the bar, I noticed that the singer seemed really good—which seemed a sure sign that we were in for a good night! Then, singer after singer came up and they were all really good. This came as a surprise to me. Normally once the beers start flowing, there are some—well—less than good performances. I was intrigued…
I got closer to the front and I watched the karaoke DJ closely. As I got closer, I noticed the DJ was making subtle adjustments to his sound deck. As a singer started, he added echo (reverb) to their voice. He decreased the volume of the vocals and increased the backing track. At certain points, from behind the scenes, he sang along into a second microphone, ‘filling out’ the singer’s voice. In some cases, he turned down the singer’s vocals quite a bit and turned the backing track up a lot! The karaoke DJ was doing everything he could to make each singer sound as good as possible—even if they had no natural singing ability—to avoid embarrassment and ensure everyone had a good time. And he was doing this seamlessly, unnoticeably and in the background.
Sure, you could still tell the really talented singers from the less talented ones, but the DJ’s work ensured that nobody got embarrassed and everyone enjoyed themselves.
As I thought about this an ordered another round of drinks, it struck me that we fulfil a similar role as business analysts. OK, we’re unlikely to DJ in a karaoke bar (unless we’re on a very specific type of project!) but we often work in the background, tirelessly to make sure that our stakeholders get the best outcome. Not only this, if we do our job right, our stakeholders will probably be the people that (quite rightly) step into the limelight. But for every person in the limelight, there are countless others supporting them in the wings.
Take the following examples:
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