Posted by tac_admin, July 11, 2015

Mary Was So Annoying

Group Of Business People Having Board Meeting Around Glass Table

Picture courtesy of Success in HR

Does this scenario seem familiar to you? You get assigned to a large project and they assign 2 BAs – you and another BA that we’ll call Mary.

You find out that Mary is on the project with you and you let out an internal groan while you’re smiling on the outside.

Mary is so annoying. Everyone loves Mary, Mary can do no wrong. And on top of that, Mary points out when you are doing something wrong and you just know she’s going to make you look stupid on this project.

I’ve been in this exact situation earlier on in my career. I really didn’t like Mary…but I owe my career success to Mary and here’s why.

I am competitive by nature. I like to win. I want to be the best.

I realized that Mary annoyed me so much because in all honesty, she was a better BA than I was. I also realized that she never purposely made me look bad, I was doing that on my own by being mediocre and the “mediocre” light just shined more brightly on me when I was working alongside a great business analyst.

So I had a few choices:

  1. I could continue to keep going as is and just accept that some BAs were better than me.
  2. I could leave that company and hope that at the next place all the BAs were on my level (or let’s face it, worse than me).
  3. I could be a better business analyst.

And since I’m going with honesty here, I have to tell you that options 1 and 2 were both appealing. Option 3 seemed hard, almost impossible. Why? Because I didn’t know how to be a better BA.

In the end common sense one out and I knew the best option was number 3. I wanted to succeed!

I think it’s human nature to want to succeed. I don’t think anyone wakes up in the morning thinking “I hope I’m mediocre at work today. I hope it’s just a so-so kind of day” I hope I can be almost as good as Mary”.

We want to be GREAT. We want to achieve great things, we want to be the rock star of whatever it is we choose to do.

So let’s get back to mediocre Teresa. I asked Mary how long she had been a BA – and here’s the worst part – she had less experience than I did!!! So I sucked it up and said something along the lines of “well, it must come naturally to you, because you’re great at it”.

So in saying that to her I was letting myself off the hook. I don’t have to be great. Mary is great because she must have some natural abilities that I just don’t have. Otherwise, how could she be that good when she has so little experience?

And then Mary said something that, once again, made me look bad. She said no, she didn’t actually have a natural talent for business analysis and she felt you couldn’t really have a natural talent for it. That you can be curious and have an analytical nature, but unless you learn how to apply it, you won’t be good at it.

Mary said she knew she needed to get the proper training that would help her harness her natural abilities. She knew she needed to develop the right skill set to compliment her natural abilities.

What did Mary do to make me look bad? Actually, it was absolutely nothing. Mary wasn’t trying to make me look bad, that was me moving into defensive mode because I knew she was better than me but I didn’t want to admit that it could be through any fault of my own.

Once I realized that, I was able to look at myself more objectively and I got the training I needed (at a cost of over 6K) and I was on my way to being a BA rock star.

I continue to improve my skills, get training, read books, watch videos and communicate with other BAs.

If you aren’t improving, you are moving backwards, nothing ever stays the same.

If you can relate to this situation – and you want to change it – register now for the next Mastering Business Analysis Fundamentals class.

Move from mediocre to great – Don’t let Mary win! 🙂


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