Example Reflection – Storytelling
Storytelling is a tool I use all the time, one of the most useful skill sets that I use all the time and intend to improve over time. As a business analyst cum consultant, I often use this technique to get people to open up and tell me their thoughts, ideas and concerns. I usually do this over a cup of coffee, outside of the office, so they feel more comfortable to open up. Once this is over, I use the information I got and transformed them into ideas to improve or develop the functionalities of the software tools we developed for our clients.
Application – From What to Why
I have numerous stories about storytelling in my short career of five years. A common example would be driving the adoption of technology of all of the software that fall under my care. Usually, I would have regular one to one catch up over coffee or have a conference call with each one of them regularly if they are not based in the same country as me.
There was an incident where our stakeholders in South East Asia (SEA) were not embracing the analytics tool that we have developed for them. So I arranged a video conference with the main stakeholder in each of the countries in SEA to understand their concerns. Turned out that there was a lack of adoption because of lack of training and lack of follow up to understand their future concerns.
Approach and Insight
So during most of the conference calls or what I call ‘catch ups’, I would listen to their thought process and concerns. Turned out that our stakeholders or rather users of our tools are worried about their job security. The analytics applications that we developed will at least shorten their job tasks by 50% while numerous tasks will be automated, such as email scheduling and running reports based on the filters they want.
This was an eye opener although I was not that surprised. Upon understanding this major concern, I had to reassure them that their jobs are still secured while their main job tasks may have shifted towards providing insights to the sales and marketing teams. This also means that we had to create additional materials on how they can provide insights to their respective sales and marketing teams such as using color codes and understanding the nature and purpose of the reports. At the same time, we developed a self-service component of the tools to encourage users to explore ways they can further contribute to their teams. As such, we were able to drive adoption of the applications and improve the working lifestyle of our users and stakeholders. The long term benefits, everyone makes better use of their time and fully contribute at work and grow their skill sets.
I never thought that storytelling will allow me to not just deliver my work duties, but it is a truly great feeling when you improve the quality of life for others. Indeed, Albert Camus was right when he said ‘There is no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do’.