Shoulda Woulda Coulda Had a Mentor Back in My Early Years

We can read all the pro-mentoring diatribe on Alex’s site here on how great mentoring is and why you should buy into it and why it’s important until one of us passes out cold. But Really! If YOU don’t buy into this enterprise and concept, there really isn’t a point. Right?

So I’m going to approach this argument from a different perspective this time. I’ve been doing this business analysis thing for a while and I can’t begin to tell you how much further along I’d be today on many fronts if I could have had a little guidance along the way. Back when I was young and stupid, much earlier than last week, I didn’t even know there was a word called mentor, much less what it was. So indulge me here in a little faux retrospective as if it were the year 2031. ….

“…I don’t know why I can’t seem to get promoted or put on the important projects…”
Your mentor in 2012 might have been able to recognize that your abrasive personality that you finely honed selling used cars before becoming a business analyst would make your stakeholders run faster than the threat of the bubonic plague.

Your mentor in 2021 could have guided you to finesse your skills in communication, presentation, audience reading, body language, public speaking, and elicitation techniques

“…I wish I had been able to figure out that there was more than one way to do this…”
Your mentor in 2014 might have been able to point out to you that there are often not only multiple ways to execute or perform an analysis task, but that often several methods together work best

Your mentor in 2016 might have been able to open your mind toward new educational offerings that would expand your horizons and begin to instill discipline into your self-learning process

“…Enterprise Analysis? What does that have to do with software development?”
Your mentor in 2017 might have shown you how to adapt your skills to new levels of complexity and capability by exposing you to different aspects of business analysis, crafting custom exercises to help you hone your skills and pushing you to explore this other facet of organizational analysis.

Your mentor of 2023 might have helped you prepare for your promotion to Director of Operations and Strategy after several years of successful enterprise analysis in which your helped to save the firm millions of dollars through your efforts.

“…My technical skills as an analyst are top notch. I can use any tool related to analysis I need to…”
Your mentor of 2018 might have been able to get through to you that while tools are important, an analyst who does not have listening and communication skills to work with customers is not effective

Your mentor of 2028 might have guided you to work on your presentation points and fine tune your delivery for the All Hands Meeting you were preparing for to address your staff as CEO in difficult economic times.

“…Well Great! They lay me off after 15 years and the entire world of analysis has changed! Now What?!”
Your mentor of 2011 might have been able to enlighten you to see the value of constant education, reading, exploration and networking as an integral part of your career development that doesn’t cost a dime, but has to be done over time to prepare for new opportunities.

Your mentor of 2027 might have helped you craft a business plan for the Business Analysis Recruiting firm you decided to open as a result of your recognized consulting expertise and industry prowess

Don’t look back on yesterday when you get to tomorrow with ignorance, dismay, disappointment or anything but pride. It’s a difficult thing to have to live through your own mistakes, knowing that some of them could have been avoided and positioned you differently in your career growth. The participation in this concept isn’t always available to everyone, as there is not always a mentor around when you need one. The investment in yourself as a professional is minuscule compared to the potential possibilities that might await you….if only you had known about them or your own obstacles that stood in your way to get there.

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