Category Archives: Communication

So You Don’t Like Meetings, Then What?

I have spent my share of time in pointless meetings.

Does that mean that all meetings are bad?

No.

Does that mean that you should avoid all meetings?

No.

So you don’t like meetings? Fine. Go ahead. Avoid them.

But consider this before you do.

That stuff you were going to talk about? How are you going to share it instead?

What is your plan for facilitating the decision making process?

Do you have the tools, the skills, and the discipline to follow it through?

Continue reading So You Don’t Like Meetings, Then What?

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Tell Me About A Time When … I Presented on Storytelling to the Brisbane BA Meetup

Last night facilitated the monthly Brisbane Business Analysts Meetup on Storytelling.

Why? 

Well the more I learn about organisational story telling, the more I think it is a useful tool for a Business Analyst. I wanted to share this thought, and my experience learning about storytelling, with my peers.

Below is the script I wrote in preparation for the talk. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the talk was not recorded.

I veered off script immediately, as I knew I would. I embellished the talk with additional anecdotes and stories throughout. These are not captured here … as …. well … I can’t remember what they were … the impulse to tell a story welled up inside by and a story snuck out …

However, the structure of the talk below holds, and the key messages I wanted the audience to walk away are included.

Continue reading Tell Me About A Time When … I Presented on Storytelling to the Brisbane BA Meetup

Handpicked: Classifications, A Listening Politician, Grown Men Cry and Leceister City

Articles I Saved

Intertwingled Book Excerpt

Benchley’s Law – there are two kinds of people in the world, those who believe there are two kinds of people in the world, and those who don’t – points us in the right direction. To collaborate, we must admit ambiguity and complexity, and avoid premature classification.

41bj3omn05l-_sx332_bo1204203200_Intertwingled is in my top 10 non-fiction books. I enjoyed it enough to have read it twice within 12 months.

This article is one of a series of excerpt that Peter Morville, the author, has been writing from his books.

This article covers one of the core messages in the book, classification.

I am intrigued by the idea of how we classify things. It influences our conversation and the way we see the world. Many of the difficult topics are in some sense bounded by their classification; race, religion, equality, feminism etc. are all forms of grouping. We like to believe that there are clear boundaries, but the truth is never that binary. Things are never that clear.

The real world is grey. Everything is grey. We think it’s not. That is just an illusion.

It all depends on where you start from. If you can change the way a person classifies what they see, you change how they see, and therefore how they think about it.

I work with ambiguity all day. As a business analyst you have to be comfortable with ambiguity and complexity, because that is where the truth is. Continue reading Handpicked: Classifications, A Listening Politician, Grown Men Cry and Leceister City

Partner with Multiple Meanings

Words have multiple meanings. We have to know the context to know the meaning. And sometimes we have to know more about the person talking to know the meaning they intended.

This is one reason a controlled vocabulary in a work place is a good idea. Communication is hard enough without a single word meaning multiple things to the same person. Magnify that in a group setting and there is every chance someone misunderstood you.

I spotted one of these yesterday, in an out of work context. The word ‘Partner‘.

Continue reading Partner with Multiple Meanings

Can You Learn from Your Own and Others Resistance?

What do you do when you feel offended by a comment or resist a point of view?

Have you ever paid attention to that feeling and asked why?

In her interview with  Tim Ferriss  on his podcast, Tim asks Whitney Cummings  what question she would ask of his audience.

Her first response is ‘Watch Comedy. It’s good for you.” (2:29:26)

Tim then says he will dig on that for a second. He asks what some new to comedy should pay attention to or asks themselves if they want to see another layer.

Whitney says “Look at what Offends you.” (2:30:00)

She continues “If something offends you; Watch Richard Pryor, watch Daniel Tosh, watch the most incendiary comedians, Bill Burr, maybe Louis CK …”.

“If something offends you, look inward. That’s a sign that there is something there. What offends someone says a lot about them.”

That question has stuck with me ever since.

Pay attention to that feeling of offence. That feeling is telling you something about yourself. About your own views and values. 

Similarly, someone else’s offence, or resistance, tells you something about them and what they value.

Continue reading Can You Learn from Your Own and Others Resistance?

What Can You Learn From Watching a Five Year Old Play Soccer?

My son started school this year. As he turned five our weeks started to fill with sporting commitments. In particular for us hockey (the field/grass/artificial turf kind) and soccer.

Every time I watch one of his games of either hockey or soccer I am reminded of this post Business Strategy and Kindergarten Soccer by Nick Malik

On the Inside Architecture blog for Microsoft, Nick writes the following back in July 2011:

It is interesting to watch very young kids play soccer, because the instructions are so simple: kick the ball into the goal.  With instructions like that, what do you get?  Bumblebees, of course.

Continue reading What Can You Learn From Watching a Five Year Old Play Soccer?

Show Early, Show Often

I once worked on a team supporting an internally developed and maintained application.

This application was the beating heart of the organisation. Every organisation has one of these.

You know the application at your company, the one that can’t be bought off the shelf? The one that reflects your company’s business model?

That one.

Continue reading Show Early, Show Often