The Business Optimist

The next time I found myself sitting at my desk, I looked back over the past few years of my career and discovered that, albeit not as emotionally strong as with family, I had some of the same feelings of nostalgia.  I miss former co-workers.  I wish I had a chance to relive a previous project experience.  I wish I could travel with my former boss again (we had some good times on the road – the details of which will not be published here).  Obviously there are plenty of experiences I don’t want to remember.  But for the most part, I felt very happy – and somewhat sad that some of those times had passed. But alas, as I begin to look forward to the future, I feel the surge of optimism overtake the feelings of nostalgia.  Future assignments, challenging problems, interesting destinations, opportunities for promotion, etc…I immediately feel optimistic for what is to come.

Business Optimists

As business analysts, we are the messengers of the kingdom.  Our business stakeholders look to us for answers, recommendations, and assurance that their problems will be solved.  Our technical folks look to us for direction, clarity, and assurance that their work will be meaningful to the organization.  Our managers look to us for progress, understanding, and assurance that things are going well.  Our mood dictates the pulse of nearly all initiatives for which we are assigned.  An optimistic business analyst will look to the future knowing that quality will be delivered, problems will be solved, and lives improved.  An optimistic business analyst knows there will be challenges and obstacles, but thrives on the possibilities ahead. Optimism is not a natural tendency of mine.  I have to try to be optimistic.  Like most business analysts, the challenging days outnumber the easy days.  Business stakeholdersstevemay22 2 often struggle with their own requirements, developers seem to introduce solutions that are far too complex, etc.  As a business analyst who deals with these challenges everyday, being naturally optimistic is difficult. But I have learned, over the past few weeks that being optimistic – even in the face of everyday challenges – delivers good things on its own.  When in meetings with business stakeholders, I now make sure to provide a clear picture of how successful we will be if we establish business strategy and understand business rules now rather than later.  By confidently painting a picture of increased efficiency and streamlined business operations, I find that gaining buy-in from stakeholders is not as difficult as it used to be.  The same goes for technical resources.  By optimistically explaining how their technical knowledge and understanding will be used to solve a major problem and improve end-users’ lives, the team seems to be onboard with ideas and direction sooner rather than later.  The time spent debating “why are we doing this” or “who cares what we do” vanishes and is replaced with forward motion and progress.  If the business analyst portrays an air of confidence and optimism, the rest of the pieces fall into place. In ten years, I want to look back on the past decade of my career and feel nostalgic, not because I am sad that it is over, but because it was so good that I’ll desire to rekindle the optimistic fire once again and knock out the next ten years with the same optimistic enthusiasm. Don’t forget to leave your comments below.

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