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How to manufacture a “problem analyst”

After promoting the Dealing with Problem Analysts webinar (September 17th at 8:30 am PT and 4 pm PT) on Twitter, I got the following tweet from Martin Atherton (profile, Twitter handle) of Freeform Dynamics:

 

The tweet was good for a chuckle, but it got me thinking. Martin has great points, but what he brought up were just AR best practices* not true problems. However, it sparked a thought that vendors could “manufacture” a problem analyst. Here are some “worst practices” that AR should consider avoiding:

  • Complaining about perceived bias without offering measureable proof
  • Demanding changes to draft or published research without justification or supporting documentation
  • Escalating a problem to analyst management without first making a good faith effort to work with the analyst
  • Ignoring analysts’ requests – even if only to say that AR cannot respond to the request at this time
  • Insulting the analyst directly to their face or indirectly but in a manner that gets back to the analyst
  • Matching the analyst community’s arrogance
  • Nit picking during research review
  • Screaming at the analyst
  • Threatening the analyst

The potential business problem for AR teams is that they can move an analyst who is an “Objective Research” on the SageCircle Problem Analyst Scale into a “Nuisance” or even “Adversary” status. By moving analysts to the left on the Scale, AR teams are making work for themselves and causing political problems for themselves inside their companies.

* SageCircle resources for learning about AR best practices include the AR Effectiveness seminar, Online SageContentTM Library and Advisory.

SageCircle Technique:

  • AR teams – after a heated interaction with an analyst and after tempers have cooled down analyze your behavior to see if you used any of the worst practices
  • Determine, dispassionately, if other techniques might have been more effective
  • If you determine that a worst practice has been used, immediately execute a plan to offset the negative interaction (e.g., scheduling an inquiry to ask for the analyst’s help on an issue)

Bottom Line: It is possible for vendors and their AR teams to turn a relatively neutral analyst into someone who is hyper skeptical or even adversarial. While it is important that AR professionals vigorously defend their companies and vision for their markets, it is possible to step over the line and generate a backlash. Even when confronting an analyst that they perceive is completely wrong or biased against the company, AR teams are better served by presenting a professional demeanor with significant supporting content that does not trigger a defensive position in the analyst.

Question: Analysts – Are there other “worst practices” that some AR teams use? How do you react to these practices? AR teams – Do you feel that some of these activities are “best” not “worst” practices? Which ones? Do you think it is in the implementation and not just the practice itself?

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7 Responses

  1. […] M… on Analyst Twitter DirectoryRob Schatz on AR job listings (29 openi…How to manufacture a… on Got a problem analyst? Screami…links for 2008-09-05… on Answering “10 […]

  2. either i am reading you wrong or you’re way off beam here Carter. you’re saying talking at analysts, and not telling the truth are AR best practices? that’s how it reads.

    i think Martin’s points are worth rather more than a chuckle

  3. Perhaps I wasn’t clear. I was chuckling at how an analyst came back to my earlier “problem analyst” tweet with a “well, it’s AR’s fault.” I was not in disagreement with what he was saying. “Avoid glib statements” et cetera are not problems, but best practices I agree with. But his tweet did trigger the idea of writting about “problem AR” in addition to “problem analysts.”

    As to focusing on AR best practices, well we do a little of that. ;->

  4. actually martin didn’t say its ARs fault- he said they have some issues of their own that need to be addressed. not the same thing at all, carter.

    its a bit unfair to accuse martin of being glib. he is a professional, a deep thinker, and certainly not a problem analyst. though he does have a sense of humour.

    its surely fair for analysts to point out that we have problem vendors too?

  5. James, Time for you to lighten up, that was simply how I reacted. But, I essentially said he was right and gave him credit for sparking the idea to address “problem AR.”

  6. […] blog, SageCircle is a treasure trove of good advice on dealing with analysts.  Read this post on “How to Manufacture a Problem Analyst”. Carter also maintains a list of Analysts and a list of Analyst Relations professionals on Twitter. […]

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