Data Share House
A young and ambitious BI trainee, I was confident technical skills were sufficient to make me a living BI rock star with no chance of failure. Entering the big shark corporate life with confidence in my expertise I hit straight into a wall. And that wall was called people.
At university and in my personal projects at home, the problems I encountered in my work were from IT nature - I would learn how to fix the problem, and all issues would be solved with a few clicks. Maybe that's why my brain entered in a state of shock when my brilliant BI projects started failing in a corporate environment because an office manger doesn't like the way I space characters, or because my work only gets utilized by 10% of the task force, while the rest keep running dodgy Pivot tables all over the place.
What do I do? What do I do? I'm not a people person... On a sociable day, I like facing only 1 an not 2 office walls and I greet a colleague while waiting for my coffee. How can I make them like my work, let alone use it and promote it?
My first attempts were to make small talk with my users, trying to understand what was going on in their head and how I can turn some of them into my allies. This didn't end spectacularly well, as we didn't share many common interests. Unfortunately, I don't follow reality shows and I have no clue what footballers or fashion icons tweet about. Getting personal made my situation even worse.
I had to find my own way to overcome this. I started building an image of a self-aware geek - expressing and underlining my natural awkwardness, and applying self-humor where applicable. That was the first approach which gave some results. My colleagues started to respect me more as a professional, even though still finding me weird as a person. I finally started receiving credit for my work - I couldn't believe it.
From the position of a more respected man, I started encouraging them to tell me anything that annoys them or they would like to see in my projects. The response was overwhelming. And while some requests would never get to see green light, others were easy to implement, and their originators became my army of BI allies across the organisation. I really didn't mind altering the font or moving a column right if that makes all the difference for someone. Furthermore, people like if someone listens to what they say. Making them feel heard is a powerful tool. Maybe too powerful.
My feedback promotional campaigns resulted in easing my work immensely. Not only the adoption rate of my tools skyrocketed to 70-75%, but also I had a good number of BI-friendly people who would proofread my projects before launch, saving me many hours of painful proofreading.
Since that experience, I kind of opened a self-proclaimed BI Feedback Hot Line, and I have kept it open for years. I make sure my team listens to our users, implement the simple requests which have no implication on the logic and consider the more difficult ones for real. And I know when that hotline bling, that can only mean one thing.
This story was sent to us via our LinkedIn page and comes from Germany.
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