Monday, 04 July 2011 12:30

Celebritize Yourself

Written by Steve Blash

I just finished reading a wonderful book by Marsha Freidman, Celebritize Yourself,[1] which describes a three-step method to increase your visibility at work. I feel that after seven years of work in your profession as a business analyst, you should be recognized as an expert and if you are not, this book will help guide you through the process. Celebritize Yourself is about branding yourself as an expert. This book is not about becoming a Hollywood or TV reality celebrity, but about becoming recognized as an expert or leader in your field.

The three-step method to celebritizing yourself is

1. Write,

2. Speak,

3. Sell.

Write as much and as often as well wherever you can. If fact, everyone who is reading this article is invited to contribute to the Business Analyst Times website: http://www.batimes.com/contributing-to-ba-times.html about your own experiences pertaining to business analysis problems and solutions. 

The second step, Speak, is your ability to give presentations to various groups through work-related projects or organizations such as IIBA, Toastmaster, etc. Speaking in front of a group is the number one fear that people have but as a business analyst, you are expected to give presentations about your work so why not take it a little farther by volunteering to give presentations outside of your work environment. The experience will provide you the opportunity to improve your speaking skills.

The third step, Sell, is about selling yourself as a business analyst for future projects or as an authority on business analysis topics so that managers will seek out your opinions. At one company where I worked, I facilitated a weekly brown bag lunch meeting for business analysts where we could share ideas about business analysis topics within actual projects that were currently underway. This proved to be valuable to the newer business analysts and project managers, and also gave me the opportunity to write and speak.

If you look on IIBA’s website, IIBA.org, you will see that IIBA encourages you to give back to your profession by volunteering to write and speak on business analysis topics.

Volunteering activities include:

  • Willing and able to devote two to six hours per week to IIBA calls and volunteer-related work
  • Access to email, the Internet, and a word-processing program
  • Willing and able to attend committee meetings, as scheduled, via conference call or in person.

Before you start, the author recommends that you make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. What are you good at? Is it your organizational and planning skills, your people skills, communications? These are the things that come easy to you and that you thoroughly enjoy. What about your weaknesses? These are the things you struggle with and don’t enjoy and may even try to avoid or pass on to another team member. Do you need to improve on any of these weaknesses? What makes you unique from other project managers when you compare yourself to them?

Next, the author suggests you answer the following questions:

1. What’s Your Vision for Celebrity? Before you can finalize a plan, you must decide where you want the plan to take you. What is your business analysis vision? Make it simple and write it out as to what you want it to be.

2. What is Your Commitment to Your Vision? How determined are you to become a great business analyst? Do you have your CCBA or CBAP certification? Do you attend your local IIBA chapter meetings? Do you communicate with other business analysts? Do you read articles and blogs on Business Analyst Times and respond to what is written there?

3. What is Your Own Unique Message? Defining your message is not always easy nor is it always obvious. But it is important to have a distinctive message about your knowledge, experience and education. What part of it do you enjoy the most and what energizes you to perform the work that you have been assigned?

4. Why Does Your Message Appeal to You? What do you love about being a project manager? Is it the planning, the execution, monitoring and control, or is it the team members or the satisfaction of successfully completing the project that greatly benefits the organization? 

5. Why Will Your Message Appeal to Others? It is meaningless to start this journey unless your message can resonate with others. How can you reach out to others to touch their lives and benefit them regarding business analysis?

6. Who is your Target Audience? Who will benefit from your message? Is it other business analysts, stakeholders or students? Identifying your audience is the foundation for your entire plan. That is your personal marketing plan.

7. What’s Your Plan for Celebrity? The plan should contain a defined goal and specific steps that are necessary to achieve it. You should write this, evaluate it and update it frequently before committing to it.

8. When Will You Start? I assume by now that you are enthusiastic and you are thinking about starting your own celebrity journey. Here is a quote from Amelia Earhart: “The most difficult thing is the decision to act; the rest is merely tenacity.” The author suggests that you start out small and add to it as goals are achieved.

9. Have You Picked the Right Teammates? You are looking for individuals that can help support and constructively criticize you and your work. Choose teammates who clearly want to help you succeed. Embrace them and listen to what they have to say, even when it’s critical of your work.

10. How Will You Measure Success? When you consider the time and effort you will put into this, what will you expect to be your reward? Is it recognition from your peers, management or family? Is it the satisfaction of helping others? Only you can provide the answer to this question.

In summary, celebritizing yourself is not a means to an end, but it’s an ongoing journey. It is a path and not a destination. Don’t let the hard work dishearten you or let obstacles stand in your way. If you apply the principle in this article or from the book, you will find the journey becoming easier and your expectations will be met. To walk the path takes a strong commitment to develop a personal plan that can lead to a successful career while helping others. It can lead to a strong sense of fulfillment in your life.

[1] Celebritize Yourself, Author: Marsha Friedman, ISBN: 978-1-886057-20-3, Warren Publishing, Inc 2009


Steve Blash is an experienced IT professional consultant providing business and technology leadership, mentoring and vision. His areas of experience include project management, I.T. management, business process improvement, business analysis, business intelligence, data analytics and data warehousing.

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