Why Mental Toughness is Essential to Success as a Business Analyst
Mental toughness gives you the critical edge that distinguishes you from your competitors, enabling you to perform consistently better at work, and remain driven, confident, and cool under pressure. Not only are you resilient in the face of setbacks, criticism, and rejection, but you also remain unconcerned when you’re faced with events beyond your control. Do you have a tendency to take full ownership of any tasks, jobs, or roles assigned to you? Being conscientious means that you’re likely to be detail-oriented and fully committed to developing your current skillset. In a study published in the Scientific American, they found that “mental toughness is important in any environment that requires performance setting, challenges, and adversities.” Essentially, it enables you to withstand and overcome any obstacles you face, especially in the highly demanding field of business analysis. As you may already know, business analysts are responsible for assessing business processes, determining their needs, and crafting complete solutions to maximize efficiency and add value. The question is – where does mental toughness come in?
When you create product or service solutions for shareholders, you have to write clear requirements and make data models that are understood by all relevant parties. “The BA’s life revolves around defining requirements and prioritizing requirements and getting feedback and approval on requirements,” says Jeffrey Hammond, vice president, and principal analyst at Forrester Research. At times, this can be a highly frustrating and draining process because you may have to constantly revise your initial ideas. Feedback and criticism can be unduly harsh, making you doubt your abilities to get the job done. However, acquiring mental toughness gives you the resilience necessary to push through and get your concepts approved. During the process of implementing new changes, you’ll always come across critics and naysayers, but it’s important to have confidence in your own ideas.
Another responsibility for business analysts is understanding what the client really wants. This requires a deep sense of clarity, effective communication skills, and taking ownership of the business in itself. You should ask yourself, “How can I make this product or service the best that it can possibly be?” According to Bob Gregory, the program director for the business analysis degree at Bellevue University, “Elicitation of requirements and using those requirements to get IT on board and understand what the client really wants, that’s one of the biggest responsibilities for BAs. They have to work as a product owner, even though the business is the product owner.” In Entrepreneur’s article on mental toughness and leadership, they say that this attitude creates a winning mindset. “Mediocre thinking promotes an equally low standard of performance and results. A winning mindset (i.e. the thinking, habits, and philosophies of elite performers) however, transforms the landscape. It unlocks the unlimited potential to create, influence and generate outcomes that activate success”, enabling you to solutions that go above and beyond to meet the needs of your clients.
Multi-tasking is an integral part of a business analyst’s life. Maryville University explains that the work of business analyst professionals is intricate and time-sensitive, often involving looking for trends, making decisions, identifying opportunities, combining operational data with analytical tools, and presenting complex information. Business analysts never perform just one task, because their responsibilities are always changing on a day-to-day basis. That’s why Forbes suggests that mentally-tough leaders should remain flexible in their approach and look for new ways to solve the problem — “They must continually be open to re-educating themselves, even in the basics, which they may have taken for granted for too long.”
The world is rapidly changing, and there are growing concerns that the rise of data analysis will make business analysis redundant. It’s easy to be dissuaded by these notions, but as discussed in ‘Will business analysis survive the onslaught of data analysis?’, the two fields are complementary. Continually shifting priorities and rapid advancements in technology are likely to present similar fears in the future, and one needs to remain steadfast.
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