Change Management — Are you a Sniff, Scurry, Hem, or Haw?

Cover of "Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazin...

Cover via Amazon

I just finally read Who Moved My Cheese(Better late then never). And I must say that it really lives up to its reputation. But I’m not going to write a book review today. What I’m going to write about is what I thought of as I was reading it. And that’s how business analysts, and probably people in other professions , too, are handling the notion that their cheese has been moved.

Whenever I read about or attend an event for business analysts, I hear, “What’s the fate of the BA profession.” And you know, I find this really surprising from a group of people who are supposed to solve problems and be change agents. So I ask anyone facing change, who are you and who do you want to be?

Sniff? The one who sniffs out change early on?

Scurry? The one who scurries into action when change happens?

Haw? The one who learns to adapt in time and ends up seeing that change can lead to something better?

Hem? The one who denies change and resists it out of fear that something even worse will happen?

Yes, the BAs world is changing. But the work world is changing in general (the industrial revolution is over, you know). Everyone needs to stay on their toes and learn to adapt to a changing world.

Programmers tend to do this. Just think how rapidly the tech world changes. Instead of sitting around moaning and groaning about the introduction of new technology they are ready to gobble up information, to read about it, take classes, do whatever they have to do to remain relevant.

Do BAs do the same? I’m sure some do, but I’m not the only one who has noticed the difference.

So here’s my challenge to you. Choose “three books that challenge your status quo, business books that outline a new attitude/approach or strategy, or perhaps fiction or non-fiction that challenges you” and read them over the holidays. And let these three books guide you in 2014. And don’t stop there. Share with us what you learn.

Some of this challenge is in quotes because it’s adapted from Seth Godin’s post “Pick Three.” I say fully go for the whole thing if you’re at that point. But for those of you who are hemming and hawing around, start with yourself first.

And what am I? Well I would say that I was a Sniff early on but as time went on I degenerated. Luckily my degeneration stopped at the Haw level. Now I have my running shoes hung around my neck and am making may way through the maze in these times of change. And yes, it’s frustrating at times, but I know that what I’ll find at the end is even better than what I had before.

From Seth Godin’s blog

Pick three
If I could suggest just one thing you could do that would transform how 2014 goes for you, it would be this:

Select three colleagues, bosses, investors, employees, co-conspirators or family members that have an influence over how you do your work. Choose people who care about you and what you produce.

Identify three books that challenge your status quo, business books that outline a new attitude/approach or strategy, or perhaps fiction or non-fiction that challenges you. Books you’ve read that you need them to read.

Buy the three books for each of the three people, and ask them each to read all three over the holiday break.

That’s it. Three people, nine books, many conversations and forward leaps. No better way to spend $130.

I still remember handing copies of Snow Crash to my founding team at Yoyodyne. It changed our conversations for years. And years before that, Soul of a New Machine and The Mythical Man Month were touchstones used by programmers I worked with. When the team has a reference, a shared vocabulary and a new standard, you raise the bar for each other.

[If the Pick Three approach makes you uncomfortable, because you’re not allowed to do this, or not supposed to, you have just confronted something important. And if this feels too expensive, it’s worth thinking about how hard you’re expecting to work next year, and how you plan to leverage all that effort.]