In this episode, Ian Huke helps us to become the conscience of the business by doing the right thing, building a following, and becoming a trusted advisor.
After listening to this episode, you'll understand:
- Why the BA is positioned to become the conscience of the business
- How you can avoid pet projects and local optimization
- Ways to gather a following and create a movement
As Business Analysts, we have an obligation to ensure the success of not only the project, but also the organization.
Unfortunately, many organizations are plagued by pet projects which are of little value or projects that optimize one area at the expense of another. Many projects are pushed forward without a strong business case behind it.
While everyone in the organization should be responsible for ensuring we do the right things and drive forward with the right initiatives, BAs are uniquely positioned to have line of sight to understand value. This allows us to influence the organization in the pre-project phase and advise at a strategic level.
Through being a trusted advisor, we can become the conscience on the business.
What’s Holding Us Back?
There are a number of factors that hold us back from influencing the organization to avoid or stop projects with little or no value.
First, it’s difficult for people to challenge organizations and leaders. It takes courage to push back when we feel that a project has no merit.
Another factor preventing us from becoming the conscience of the business and advising the organization is the need for permission. We often feel that we need permission to make such recommendations.
Culture certainly plays a role in the hesitancy to speak up. In some organizations, it’s inappropriate for people in lower level roles to speak to leaders.
Becoming the Voice of Reason
There are a number of ways we can find legitimacy in making the challenge to leadership about these projects.
Is there something in your job description (actual or implied) about ensuring successful outcomes? If so, that’s your opportunity to put your challenge into context; that you’re trying to ensure successful outcomes.
Another opportunity is to try to trace the project back to the organization’s mission and vision. You can question how the project aligns with or moves us closer to that mission.
Build a Following
You can build support for your cause by developing your leadership skills and building a following. Having a group of supporters behind you allows you to gain momentum and influence change.
To build a following, first work to understand the needs of those you’re trying to influence and try to meet those needs. Their needs may be achieved within the project or possibly personal needs.
Recognize that you can build your followers over time and at lower levels; you don’t need to start with leaders.
How to Start a Movement TED Talk
Listen to the full episode to understand how to be the conscience of the business and build your influencing skills by building a following.
Take time to think about who your current followers are. Then, consider who you need behind you to influence the organization and work to gain a following in those areas.
Consultant, Business Analyst
Ian provides interim management and consulting services focused on leading and managing change professionals. His expertise covers developing internal change capabilities, evaluating new change initiatives, and stabilizing in-flight programs.
Ian also works with organizations to enhance their business analysis capabilities by addressing individual competencies and pre and post project outcomes.
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