In this episode, we’re joined by Heather Mylan-Mains.  Heather is going to share with us how to motivate and inspire as a leader based on her presentation entitled “BA Jedi Master Leadership Academy – Learn How to Lead with the BA Force”.

Heather Mylan-Mains is a consultant, deputy VP Chapters IIBA® and an instructor for B2T Training. Through her extensive experience, she has been able to participate in many roles in projects and there is no part of the RACI matrix she has not been responsible for! The force is strong with this one . . .


After listening to this episode, you will understand:

  • How Business Analysts can lead like a Jedi
  • How to expand your network and build relationships
  • How to avoid becoming an energy vampire
  • What to do to prepare for your next encounter to start off on the right foot

Show Notes

As a Business Analyst, you have to meet new people and establish relationships quickly, especially if you’re in a consulting role.  Luke Skywalker’s journey to becoming a Jedi Knight is similar to the Business Analyst journey into leadership.


Networking is not a natural skill. It must be practiced. As Business Analysts, the information we know is important, but knowing the people with the right information is more important.

Building and nurturing relationships builds trust. In Star Wars, Luke Skywalker starts out his adventure by meeting one person (or android in this case) – C3PO and expands his network from there and moves him to an entirely new career as a Jedi.

The introduction is just the beginning of networking. You must also know what value you can bring to the team and then deliver on that value. Take time to build relationships.


Relationship building
Invest time to build relationships, learn about other people, and create a reciprocal relationships. Make sure you’re not always asking them for something, be willing to share information as well. Have an open dialogue and remain transparent about your actions.  Be clear in the “what’s in it for them” message.

You must be willing to give up some of your time. Meet with people outside of the project environment – at lunch, for a quick coffee, or for a walk.


Are you willing to help solve the problem?
Don’t be the “it’s not my job” type of person. Be involved in identifying and solving problems in your organization. [Think of when Luke, Leah, Han, and Chewy were trapped in the trash compactor. Each took action to solve the problem and see what would work]
Often as Business Analysts, we don’t have the answers to form a solution. To find a solution, it may require involving others in your network or experimenting to see what works.
As a leader, you must be willing to be the person that starts the conversation.


Remove Roadblocks
As a leader, you should be instrumental in removing roadblocks for the team and let the team go on to glory. This also helps build great relationships. Have the foresight to identify risks and obstacles, even if it means having a difficult conversation with someone.


Develop Positive Relationships – Avoid the Dark Side
Understand and nurture positive relationships in which you’re both getting something out of the relationship. However, you must also end some relationships that are toxic or not creating a positive environment.

Don’t be an energy vampire. Keep things positive. Instead of stating what can’t be done, think about ways we can do something.


How to Motivate and Inspire
Be a mentor and be willing to be mentored. To be a leader, you must also learn to delegate. Let someone else shine and give them opportunities to learn on their own.


Use the BA Force
Being able to meet people and draw them in right away is a key leadership skill. This leads to inspiring others to take action. Having a quick introduction is a great way to help people feel confident in your abilities. Be good at introducing yourself.

As Business Analysts, we often rely on other people sharing information. Creating an environment in which those people know, like, and trust you is key to information sharing and collaboration.


Recommended Next Steps:
One thing you can do today and see positive results right away is to create an “elevator introduction”. Within three minutes, be able to share three things about yourself and have three things to ask someone else. Develop and practice this script and customize it for different contexts such as attending a conference, at a school event, or at a new company.


What’s Your Take?
Do you think the BA journey to leadership is similar to a Jedi’s journey? Perhaps you think it’s more like Indiana Jones’ journey.  Any other analogies for a journey to leadership?  Please leave your comments below.


Links mentioned in this episode

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