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Find Time to Build Relationships

Kupe’s Korner

Building relationships is one of the most important skills of someone performing business analysis. You can read an earlier post of mine giving reasons why it is so important. Today I am focusing on ways to build and strengthen relationships even though we have extremely busy schedules.

In a webinar I recently participated in, I polled the audience asking “How many of you eat lunch at your desk?” Out of the 400 people that responded to the poll, 250 said they almost always eat at their desk…alone! This is a good indicator that business analysts are not doing all they could to build relationships with the people they work with or that can help them. Every chance I get I ask people this question and the majority eat lunch at their desk all the time! This…drives…me…nuts. Breaking bread over lunch with others is a great way to make and strengthen relationships.

A few weeks ago, I was passionately giving my “get off your “you know what” and eat lunch with someone” speech when I was abruptly stopped. I was told, just as passionately, that once their workload is reduced they’ll be more sociable and eat lunch with others. After wiping the spit from my face, I thought about my approach to convincing people that they need to continually build and strengthen relationships. Maybe my message about building relationships and how to go about it needs a tweak.

So, here’s my tweak. The key point I am trying to convey is that you need to build relationships before you need them. “Dig the well before you are thirsty.” You have seen or heard this Chinese proverb before right?

Going to lunch every day is not what I really mean (although I do go to lunch with others probably three out of five days a week). But you do need to take time and connect with people, even if you can’t swing the lunch hour. While writing this post, I met three people getting up for a drink (which I do too often these days…you would too if you had access to free Root Beer). You can be building relationships while you work. The seven dwarfs from Snow White whistle, you build relationships. Try short emails, phone calls or texts checking in on people you know. Remember people’s birthdays and send them a quick note to wish them a happy birthday. Facebook makes it easy for you to keep up with your friends’ birthdays and you can easily send them a note. Introduce yourself to the people at the water cooler and find out something about them. You’ll be surprised what you can find out in a two minute conversation. The next time you see them, get a little deeper…pretty soon you have a good relationship.

The bottom line is you have to find ways to connect with people. We can’t succeed going it alone. I can’t tell you when, where, and why you will need each relationship. As you continue to build relationships you’ll start seeing the results of your effort every where you look. It is how I found jobs, how I get solutions to problems when I am stuck, and best of all for me, a place where I can help others.

I can’t help myself, how often do you eat lunch at your desk?

Jonathan “Kupe” Kupersmith is Director of Client Solutions, B2T Training and has over 12 years of business analysis experience. He has served as the lead Business Analyst and Project Manager on projects in various industries. He serves as a mentor for business analysis professionals and is a Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) through the IIBA and is BA Certified through B2T Training. Kupe is a connector and has a goal in life to meet everyone! Contact Kupe at [email protected].