BA or Not...
Soft skills are always important, but there are key soft skills for Business Analysts that the rest of us can use to our advantage. (Unsure what Business Analysis is? Check out our previous blog here)
The following three things are what we look for in the most effective BAs. It’s not an exhaustive list, of course there are others that matter too. These are just our top three: the top three skills you need to help your organization succeed.
If you’re a BA, keep working on these! If you’re not a BA, these might be pretty useful to you too!
1. Thoughtful Problem Solving
When a problem or a challenge comes, rather than being reactionary and jumping on the first solution that comes up, effective business analysts will pause, at least for a beat, and think through the problem. Why does this problem exist? What root cause can we identify? Asking the 5 why’s (which means asking “why” about 5 times) helps to make sure we’re solving…
- a problem we can solve
- a problem we should solve
- and a problem that, by solving it, we can make other problems go away
On the flip side, this doesn’t mean dragging our feet waiting for someone else to solve it, or analyzing the problem to death and delaying action too long. It means thoughtfully considering the topic – both the root cause of the problem and a set of possible solutions – to find the best possible solution for the situation at hand.
BAs are engaged in the practice of enabling change in an organizational context. That means we need to be able and willing to change ourselves. We need to be able to flex with
- different situations
- different communication styles
- different work environments
- different stresses
- different time lines
- different levels of function or dysfunction
The more able we are to adapt and flex quickly, the faster we can get to work. The more able we are to adapt and flex graciously and quietly, the less drama we create in our own wake, and the more we model good behaviors.
3. Influential Emotional Intelligence
Business Analysis is a relational skill. We need to be self-aware, manage ourselves to be our best self, be aware of others, and adjust to meet their needs. When we practice influential emotional intelligence, we have to…
- First, be aware of our own strengths and liabilities.
- Then, take note of the strengths and liabilities of the person we are talking to.
- And then, we need to use this awareness to actively try to bring us together in the best way possible for our organization.
Let’s be clear: practicing influential emotional intelligence doesn’t mean you have to be a “people person”, an extrovert, or to love the constant company of others. However, it does mean that you’ve got apply the skills of self-awareness and other-awareness to help you interact with the other person in the way that will best achieve the end results.
One final thought: Regardless of title, job, or role, we can all use these skills. In this case we are talking about them in the context of successful business analysts. Even if you aren’t a practicing BA, you can still feel free to try them out where you work! These three tips will help us make our organizations better, regardless of the role we are playing.