July 2017

Time to think: Clocks in the shape of a human head

The Importance of ‘Thinking Time’

Thinking Time: Clocks in the shape of a human head

Image Credit © freshidea – Fotolia.com #115000680

In the last few weeks, I’ve been listening to a really interesting audiobook.  Entitled ‘Shoe Dog’, it is the autobiography of Nike’s founder Phil Knight.   It’s an interesting story on so many levels, and I was really interested to hear how Nike (or Blue Ribbon as it was then) was reportedly one of the first US shoe companies to partner with a Japanese manufacturer.

 

This was five or six decades ago, long before e-mail, satellite communication links and it was even before fax machines were commonplace.  When working internationally everything took longer—the author describes sending important messages by airmail, or if it was really urgent by telex.  Conversations could take weeks, or even months, and sometimes there was no option but to get on a plane to resolve an issue.   Looking back, this seems like a completely different world.  It is easy to forget that it wasn’t that long ago that the world ran on intra-office (typed) memos, with a typing pool that banged out communications as fast as it could.

 

Ubiquitous Communication

This is a massive juxtaposition with the world we live in now.  We have moved to quite a different extreme where communication is easy.  Communication is ubiquitous.  You can’t blink without finding there are 25 new e-mail messages,  7 new WhatsApp messages, 12 Facebook updates and a whole plethora of LinkedIN connection requests.  And this connected world provides us with so many opportunities; you wouldn’t be reading this blog if the technology didn’t exist.

 

Yet, it has a darker side too.  Over-communication can become a habit—instant messengers set the expectation of an ‘instant’ response.  With easy, cheap communication we are bombarded with interruptions 24 hours a day, and as much as we can switch them off, it is a difficult discipline to do so.  But if we spend so much time communicating, so much time fielding and fire-fighting our multiple inboxes, what do we lose?  And in particular, what does this mean for the quality of decisions that are made in organisations?

[Video] The Indispensable BA and the Surprising Truth: You Work In Sales — Adrian Reed at BA Summit Southern Africa 2016

I’m very pleased to say that my presentation at BA Summit Southern Africa (2016) entitled “The Indispensable BA and the Surprising Truth: You Work In Sales” was recorded.   You can watch the session below, which is around 41 minutes long.  A massive thank you to the conference team for videoing the session, and for providing me with a copy!

 

Here is a brief abstract describing the session:

Business analysis is an essential discipline for organisational success. Our discipline spans not just projects, but also the definition of strategy and much more. As organisations mature, BAs are often seen as internal consultants acting as a liaison amongst stakeholders and our scope for engagement widens.

As this happens, the skill-set and capabilities required by BAs and BA teams subtly shifts. We might not be guaranteed early engagement on every project and proving our worth becomes essential. The art of sales—building awareness and interest in the holistic nature of the consultant analysis services we provide—becomes paramount.

In this presentation, Adrian Reed will explore the importance of softer “sales” skills, avoiding the clichéd “shiny-teeth-and-cufflinks” sales approaches that we all dislike. You’ll hear practical tips including how to:

  • Gain wider engagement for the team by articulating a BA value proposition
  • Sell the benefits of engaging an internal consultant business analyst
  • Foster and manage ongoing stakeholder relationships

If you are interested in the topics discussed in this video, you might find my follow up article “we all work in sales” interesting too.