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Stop, Start, Go: Building a Better BA Career

By Michael Augello, Director, IIBA International Board of Directors   
 
imageGreat Business Analysts ask great questions.
 
When applying the skill, discipline, art and science of asking the great questions, how often – if ever – do you apply these skills upon your own good self? 
 
So let me pose a question or two to you…. 
 
Do you know where your career is heading? Are you in control of your career?
 
Do you actually call your employment a career? Or do you simply say to yourself and others … “It’s a job?” Does it matter what you call it? 
 
Have you considered there may be a difference in a career versus a job? How does that difference manifest in you?  Have you wondered why some people seem to light up and smile when they talk of their career? 
 
Do you feel vibrancy, a sense of wholeness, a sense of purpose when thinking of your employment? 
 
Do you ‘feel’ anything in relation to your career, job, occupation, employment?  Have you thought about this in any detail? Have you articulated these feelings to yourself and your trusted inner circle?   
 
Your current self 
 
What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? When you last had a great outcome at work, how did it make you feel? What excites you at work? What makes you smile at work? 
 
On the contrary, what frustrates you? Why? 
 
Are these things you need to avoid, cope better with or are they items you simply must seek help to improve? Can you improve these areas to at least neutralise to prevent negatives or possibly create new strengths? 
 
Have you thought about your values, ethics and principles? Are these in synch with you in your current role? 
 
Why do you do what you do? How long has it been since you asked yourself why do I do this work? What motivated you to start this role? 
 
Your future self 
 
Have you dreamed of an enjoyable role? What would it look like? What does it look like? Why would it be “right” for you? What are the attributes of that role?  
 
What was the type of environment? The culture? The structures? The leadership style? The industry? The projects? The stakeholder engagement? 
 
The opportunities to develop …? What do you mean by “develop” in your context as it relates to you?  Is this important to you? If not, why not? 
 
Can you replicate the successful environments of the past in roles of the future? 
 
Do you have a career development plan? 
 
Do you have goals over the next 12 months? What is important for you in the coming months? 
 
Have you sorted in your own mind how you might achieve these important items?  Do you have activities in a plan of some description for next month, next week, tomorrow?  
 
How do you know if you are successful?  Are you meeting the expectations of those around you? Have you asked them? Have you the courage to ask your peers, leaders, subordinates, stakeholders for feedback? What do you value in what you do? What should you continue to do more of? What should you stop doing? What is of no or very low value? Is there anything you do not do that you should start doing? 
 
So What? 
 
If you do not ask questions of yourself, in the years to come will you be the best version of you that you could be? If you do not listen to your own answers, will you dare respond to your inner self? 
 
Ask yourself … Who am I? Who do I want to be? 
 
Do this on a regular basis for the rest of your career. 
 
©iStockphoto.com/Vacclav
 
Michael AugelloMichael Augello has 30 years of experience in a variety of career roles from traditional project delivery, to business owner, sales director, recruitment specialist, people and culture officer to company director and company founder…yet considers himself a career BA. Meet him and hear him speak at BBC Las Vegas 2013 and BBC Sydney 2013.