A million-pound no-brainer

Consider the plight of a business analyst. They’re trying to push through a million-pound business case to implement a new digital platform.

Every time they’re meeting with an executive or a sponsor and an objection is raised, they say to themselves, “You’re right, that’s a lot of money. I’d never spend a million pounds on technology—I can’t even justify buying myself a new smart phone.”

And so the programme isn’t approved.

Empathy changes the status quo. Because the change isn’t for them, it’s for the organisation. It’s for the stakeholder who says to themself, “This million-pound project is a no-brainer. I’m going to get at least two-million pound’s worth of new sales, process efficiencies, and fewer complaints from this decision.”

And that’s okay. It’s the way decisions work.

Every project—every investment, every task, every change—is worthwhile. That’s why we approved it. Because it promised to give more benefit than what it cost us. Otherise we wouldn’t approve it.

Which means, going back to the struggling business analyst, that if you’re unwilling to have empathy for the narrative of the stakeholder you seek to serve, you’re doing them a disservice.

You’re doing them a disservice because you’re not positioning a worthwhile option. You’re keeping a stakeholder from understanding how much they’ll benefit from what you’re proposing …. such a significant outcome that it’s a no-brainer.

If the stakeholder understands what the option is and chooses not to approve it, then it’s not for them. Not right now, not at this cost, not with that scope.

And that’s okay too.