Skip to content The Human Element: Cultivating Character to Foster Courage, Confidence, and Community

The Human Element: Cultivating Character to Foster Courage, Confidence, and Community

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect the perspectives of IIBA.
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This is the fourth entry in our “What’s Next” writing contest. Like what you’re reading? Vote for it in our LinkedIn poll at the end of the contest.

Technological innovation, greater information accessibility, and new ways of working have changed the way we interact, communicate, and adapt. Among the business analysis community and stakeholders, some embrace these changes with excitement while others are overwhelmed by them.

Just as we would consider perspectives and impacts stemming from organizational change, so too must we apply these divergent perspectives to the business analysis profession. That means exploring the emerging factors influencing it through the lens of our people—not just the technology itself.

Ultimately, we need to ask whether we’re equipping business analysis professionals with the right skills to thrive in their role and lead others in this brave new era.

Navigating Anxiety  

A quick Google search on the future of business analysis yields countless articles discussing the rise of AI, machine learning, and the power of data visualization. While I wouldn’t argue against the importance of these topics for business analysis, I would suggest they all point to another emerging factor worth considering.

In a world of likes, shares, and automated content set against a backdrop of economic struggle, social disconnection, and “permacrisis,” there's a pressing need to invest in the behavioural elements of business analysis. Our embrace of technology must be balanced with the ever-increasing need for emotional intelligence, which can be achieved by promoting and embedding frameworks that focus on character development and the embodiment of values.

I’m not afraid to admit (well, maybe a little!) that I’ve struggled to adapt to fully virtual stakeholder collaborations and relationship building. Coupled with a healthy dose of imposter syndrome, it often left me feeling disconnected, endangering my confidence to challenge the status quo or explore collaborative opportunities.

And how was I able to work through this and reconnect, you might ask? By assessing my values. By thinking about the attributes I value in myself and others and learning about what drives me and what holds me back. I then put steps in place to address these values—a journey, I might add, that I’m still on.

Crafting Character

IIBA’s Competency Model lists behavioural characteristics, interaction skills, and communication skills as three of the six underlying competencies of a business analyst. This shows that “people-based” skills hold real weight against the need for domain and technical knowledge.

In a society so impacted by technological change, there’s an opportunity to create tangible and effective frameworks that address these competencies—to develop tools that build confidence, courage, and the character necessary to face change head-on.

The education sector has been exploring the concept of character education for some time. And while qualifications that measure knowledge and information retention remain useful, they’re perhaps no longer enough. Since technology can already do much of that work, there’s growing recognition that information retention isn’t the only important factor in development.

Increasingly prized is the temperament and values that a person demonstrates. The business analysis community expects its members to show a number of these values, including kindness and integrity. Others, such as courage, co-operation, and perseverance, are also valid.

Encouragingly, more and more education is being developed on how to create tangible opportunities to hone these skills, rather than waiting for opportunities to demonstrate them naturally.

Investing in Values

Faced with new technologies and frameworks, business analysis leaders and organizations must invest in and protect the values that sit at the heart of our role.

Considering our own learning and development needs—and those of our teams—we need to create opportunities to invest in character as well as certification.

Amid rapid social and technological change, there has never been a better time to adopt practical tool sets that underpin the behaviours and values we hold dear.

Want to learn more about the foundational skills, tasks, techniques, and personal characteristics necessary to perform as a business analysis professional? Explore IIBA’s Business Analysis Competency Model today.  

About the Author
Clark Aquino

Helen has been business analyst for over 10 years in roles which have encompassed responsibility for supporting the delivery of strategic objectives, developing and leading a business analysis function and associated service framework, implementing enterprise-wide IT change programmes, and providing coaching and mentoring. She currently works as a Senior Business Analyst for Justice Digital (part of MoJ). She is passionate about learning and advancing in her own role and supporting others to do the same.


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