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Listen to Your Grandma to be an Effective Business Analyst

FEATUREMay22nd There are so many places you can learn how to be a more effective business analysis professional.  The fact that you are reading this blog tells me you want to improve.  You can take training classes like the ones we have at B2T Training and read blogs and articles on BA Times and other online communities.  You can follow people on Twitter and get involved in discussions on LinkedIn groups.  You have mentors and coaches to help you learn and grow. That’s where I have always directed people to learn. That was until I started reading Aubrey Daniels book, Bringing Out the Best in People. 

There is a little hidden gem in the book that I had to share with you. I realized that if you just listen to your Grandma you would have a key technique for being more effective. In his book, Mr. Daniels discusses driving the behaviors of others through positive reinforcement.  He highlights research done by a psychologist, David Premack, who discovered that when people are given a choice of what to do, what they choose can be used as a reinforcer for the behaviors not chosen.  Ogden Lindsey called this principle “Grandma’s Law.” 

Let me explain “Grandma’s Law”. Think back to sitting at the dinner table as a child.  If you had a choice to eat the dessert or the vegetables what would you choose?  Most children would choose the dessert.  To get kids to eat their veggies, Grandmas say “If you eat all of your vegetables you can have dessert.”  Most kids scarf down those veggies to get to the dessert.  Sound familiar?  Did this happen at your dinner table? By putting the more desirable task after the less desirable task keeps you motivated.

This is an unbelievable effective time management tool.  In the business analysis profession you are still fighting the perception of analysis paralysis.  You are always being asked to do just enough.  You need help, you need techniques to help you do just enough and move on to the next thing.  Using Grandma’s Law can help from staying on one task longer than necessary.

Many people I poll usually order their task list in best to worst order if they can choose. They do the things that are easy or they like the most first.  After completing each task, the next one is less desirable.  There is less incentive to do the next task. Two things happen here. One, you don’t want to leave the current task because you dread the next one.  Two, you finish your day ending on a worse note than when you started.   This pattern results in you being uninspired and not completing what you need to complete.  The difficult thing for many people to see is that they spent too much time on a task than necessary.  Most people are working.  In my experience, lack of productivity is not because people are lazy or not working.  Tasks are not getting done because too much time is being spent on certain tasks and not others.

Flip that list around.  Prioritize your task list starting with your least favorite activity. I began to like most vegetables, and I am finding tasks that I thought were undesirable are not that bad or they become my favorite tasks.  Try it out and start seeing your effectiveness and inspiration soar!

All the best,


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