How to Learn the Language of Business

Paul Boag

This week on the Boagworld Show, we learn to talk the language of business! We discuss how to speak to business executives in ways they understand and how important it is to understand basic business principles.

This week’s show is sponsored by TestingTime and GatherContent.


Paul Boag: This week on the Boagworld Show we talk the language of business. We discuss how to speak to business executives in a way that they'll understand, and how important it is to have a basic understanding of business principles. This week's show is sponsored by GatherContent and Testing Time.

Hello and welcome to the Boagworld Show, the podcast about all aspects of user experience, design, digital strategy and sheep apparently. Everybody in the chat room is going on about sheep, and I have no idea why. But anyway, welcome to the show, and hello to Marcus my lovely co-host. How are you Marcus?

Marcus Lillington: I'm absolutely fine, lovely, Paul. How are you?

Paul Boag: See it sounds so insincere when we complement each other. We really should stop doing it, shouldn't we? I'm doing good actually. I'm really enjoying work at the moment. I've a real nice variety of stuff. Do you know what I mean? It's nice when you're not doing all the same stuff all the time and you get a bit bored. But I'm breaking every rule at the moment, if I'm honest, because I'm doing design and prototyping work and that kind of thing at the minute, as well as some work in digital transformation. And in both situations, I'm totally ignoring best practice. So I'm doing prototyping without really doing any proper user research.

Marcus Lillington: I was just about to say, "so no users then?"

Paul Boag: No user feedback whatsoever. I did do a little bit earlier on in the process, but we decided… See this is the trouble, isn't it, with all these best practice articles and even like when I blog about stuff and I kind of say, "Well this is how you should do things." It's like, it's all well and good in principle, but you have to adapt to the situation. Do you know what I mean? And often, so for example-

Marcus Lillington: And we all know best, anyways Paul. You know.

Paul Boag: What's that?

Marcus Lillington: We know best, so it's fine.

Paul Boag: Yeah, and it's like, in this particular case, yes of course I should be doing user research. But we've just made the call that, well let's get the site live as quickly as possible and then just, we'll do the user research on a live site, because what they've got at the moment is so crappy that anything we do it going to be an improvement. And as long as we know that what we're going live with is not perfect, then that's fine, because they're committed to ongoing evolving and improving the site after launch. So why not? Why not just put something live and then evolve it afterwards? That's kind of fine and I just think we've become a bit dogmatic.

Marcus Lillington: The only thing you could say potentially against that it you could do too much. But if you're thinking-

Paul Boag: That's true.

Marcus Lillington: -MVP then you might be all right.

Paul Boag: Yeah. No. That's a fair comment. We could over engineer it but we obviously haven't. We've under engineered if anything. So yeah that's that and then with the digital transformation work I'm doing, it's, again, it's the same. It's like, Louis has just called it a walking skeleton is what we're going to launch, which it pretty much, not far off of it. And the digital transformation we just kind of doing it all about arse about face, because it kind of makes sense in that particular situation. That's the way it should be, really. You know the rules and then you know when to break the rules, I say. That's my policy anyway.

Marcus Lillington: Yeah.

Paul Boag: Anyway, more importantly, that's not an unfair comment, isn't it. What did they say? One of the first things that they tell you when you go to art college is, before you can do all the-

Marcus Lillington: Cubist stuff.

Paul Boag: Yeah. Exactly. You need to know how to do it properly. Do you know what I mean? And it's exactly the same situation.

Marcus Lillington: I've just got to play Devil's advocate slightly.

Paul Boag: Go on then.

Marcus Lillington: Because I think that, what you're saying, I thoroughly agree with, because situation, budget, all of these things can determine how much work you can put into a project. And it might be that the budget is so small at the start say that if you did any user research, you wouldn't have any budget left to build or anything. So you've kind of like, okay well in that situation let's build something first. That makes sense. So therefore we all do that, all the time. I think we all kind of go, "Right, okay we should be doing that, but not enough budget, blah, blah, blah." But I think maybe we're also a little bit guilty of using it as an excuse for not doing things.

Paul Boag: Yeah, now that is true.

Marcus Lillington: Because you know, user research in particular, it takes a lot of time, more than anything else, organization. It's like, we know what to do. Let's just do it. So-

Paul Boag: And you are right. That is entirely true and now if I'm honest there is a degree that that is happening, so we've done user testing on the home page, because we were particularly concerned about… What this company does it necessarily the most straight forward of things so we wanted to make sure people understood quickly what it is that they do.

What we haven't done is full blown usability testing and our logic is we're going to get stuff up there, and then we're going to see how people are using it and interacting with it. Is that a degree of excuse? Yes. If I'm honest, there is a degree of you know, "They just want to get something live, and they've been waiting for so long to deal with this." With other clients I'd probably push back harder, with these people I'm not because when they initially came to me, the primary reason they came to me was they loved this idea of making this the last redesign.

They want to be evolving the website over time and they're already talking to me about, "Well, as soon as we get this live, we want you to be looking at this, this, this and this. And also can you proactively start suggesting stuff that could be done." Being so confident that they're not just going to go, "Well, we're live now let's just wipe our hands of it and move on." Because they're definitely not in that, I'm more inclined to king of let them get away with it, if that makes sense.

Marcus Lillington: One more point and this is a positive point, Andy Budd wrote and article, I don't know, probably three or found years ago basically saying that he was seeing a lot of his clients… how did he put it?… That they'd got sticky note fatigue and basically they were just going through their, "This is out process. We do this and then we do that and then we do that, and then we do that." And their going, "But we've done all this before, or we've done some of it before, can't we just go…" His conclusion was just build something and test it because chances are you're going to get more valuable input out of that.

Paul Boag: Yeah. And that's exactly, that's the realization I think I've come to two or three years later than Andy Budd. No, that's not entirely true. It's been going around in my head for a while. It's that we've become fixated on, this is the way… I received an email only this morning actually, where someone wrote to me and said, "What are the steps in digital transformation? I need to know what the steps are." I don't know.

Marcus Lillington: It depends where you're at.

Paul Boag: I don't have steps. It's this toolkit of stuff that you can draw upon and use as you want to and as is appropriate for the individual clients. So this idea that there's some magic process that you've got to go through I think is a bit misleading. So yeah, anyway.

Marcus, sorry, I need to ask something much more important. How are your new grandchildren?

Marcus Lillington: They're lovely, thank you very much. They're very cute little beans.

Paul Boag: Boys or girls?

Marcus Lillington: Both. One of each.

Paul Boag: Both? One of each. How very convenient. Well that's good.

Marcus Lillington: We knew that was going to be the case anyway. They've known for months, months, months. But yeah I've not got two granddaughters and two grandsons. crosstalk 00:09:34.

Paul Boag: Very nice. Please tell me that they're done now with four children, that's got to be enough isn't it.

Marcus Lillington: I like to think so. I'd like to think that my som in law will sneak himself off to the clinic, because Abigail is the earth mother.

Paul Boag: Oh is she? She would just carry on forever would she?

Marcus Lillington: Yeah. Potentially.

Paul Boag: Wow.

Marcus Lillington: I don't know about that. We'll see. But that's probably it.

Paul Boag: Good. Well, I mean, fair enough whatever them happy, but just think my word. Anyway, Marcus what's your thought for the day?

Marcus Lillington: Right. This is a bit of a continuation from last week. If you remember, Paul was talking about-

Paul Boag: Previously of Boagworld-

Marcus Lillington: And it's kind of the, it's the last thing we were talking about and I'm continuing it. You were talking about your experience when you got into trouble a while back about some comments you'd made on Twitter about positive discrimination. You took the, surely we should just take the bast qualified people. No matter what line. And you were then flamed from all quarters.

I was reminded after the show that I started to write a post about that, but I stopped doing it because the only place I ever post posts is on the Headscape site, and it was just a kind of opinion piece, so I stopped doing it. And it reminded me that I'd written this, or kind of half written it, so I thought I'd go over that. It might be a little bit longer than usual. So we've had a long introduction. Now you've got a long thought of the day, so you're going to have to race through all the rest of it.

Paul Boag: Well I don't crosstalk 00:11:03.

Marcus Lillington: So, I mean, on this particular issue, I agree with the flamers. I think probably you do now. I think if you're white and male and you got a head start over people who are non white and non male saying that we want to make, meritocracy isn't the same as there actually being one. Buy that's by the by. But the whole episode highlighted to me, and we talked about this last week, that basically discourse, people communicating with each other is being killed online. Many people have complained about this before me, particularly relating to twitter, but it's stopping kind of level headed discussion.

I guess if maybe more people care about that and maybe more voices are willing to join the argument… And this is certainly a case of do what I say and not what I do, because I've walked away a long time ago, but more people joining the argument then maybe things might just change. So, again, not new news but I'm also convinced that the lack of discourse between liberals and traditionalist led to both Brexit and Trump. Kind of I'll never happen, if you remember. Was the ongoing cry from all the supposedly enlightened people without ever even bother to talk, or let alone, listen to people with different views. There was this assumption that it's just bloody obvious, right. And then everyone woke up the next morning going, "What?"

So anyway, I thought I'd try and come up with a couple of examples of kind of slightly contentious things that where if we have a reasoned debate, we might all be better off for it. Rather than fleeing to the moral high ground and throwing rocks at the less enlightened.

So I came up with driving/cars and veganism, which was quite enlightened of me, a few years ago when I wrote this. So car's first. Now I'm 52 years old and as we've just been discussing a grandfather of four, but I still drive an overpowered and expensive German car, and I love it most of the time. Driving in the south of England can be rather busy and there are far too many people in far too small and area, all trying to get from A to B.

Public transport is great for getting into London, but not a lot else, so we all drive. And I can't stand slow drivers. I can't stand drivers who hog the middle or the fast lane on the motorway, and I can often be heard trying to persuade them to move over, using quite colorful language. I can even be heard making the case that slow drivers cause traffic jams and they probably do, but I haven't got a leg to stand on.

I'm the less enlightened one in this debate if you like. Driving's got to be about safety first and there are millions of these vehicles with pilots who are being distracted. They're long or short sighted. They're slow to react, whatever. Notice my studious avoidance of the word old. But how can I possibly expect everyone to drive well, in air quotes what ever that means.

It's an impossible ask and it's never going to happen. I really should just buy a slow electric car, like yours Paul, and damn well grow up. But I'm not going to just yet.

Paul Boag: Well you say that, but I suspect my car can out accelerate yours, because of the nature of electric cars.

Marcus Lillington: It probably can yeah. Mine's a big diesel-

Paul Boag: I know what you mean so.

Marcus Lillington: – gas guzzling, you know I need to grow up machine. Anyway, so, and the other point, the point is that through this discussion, which granted I'm having with myself, I can learn to be more patient and accepting. And I guess I am now, since I've written this, because I've also been to naughty boy school since, where this was very much the… For those people who don't know what that is, in the UK, if you get caught for speeding by one if the speed cameras, you can either pay a fine and get points or you can go and have, like, half a days speed awareness training or whatever it's called. It was actually great. Good session. But I'm not as far along as I could or maybe should be, but I am making an effort, I think.

And that, making an effort aspect of it, takes me nicely onto veganism. And I've got a friend who's a vegan. I haven't known him for all that long, excuse me, so it's quite a new thing to me. But remember I wrote this a few years back. Thinking about it, so therefore thinking about and it's implication are quite new to me. I think vegans are in a tough place. They have to be kind of fundamentalist to get the attention of, let's call them, dumb people, but conversely non-dumb people can't bear fundamentalism of any sort. So they end up being in this kind of lose-lose place, where they are being trolled by one group and the other one they're being ignored by saying, "Well you're being fundamentalist and making these claims that aren't true."

What I think the kind of middle ground is, is I think that most vegans, not all, but would love to see people eating less meat and farmers treating animals more humanly. Of course there's this kind of nirvana where animal farming, all the consumption of animal products no longer exists, but we all know that's a long way into the future. And we can only get there, kind of, along a gently declining slope. It's never going to be falling off a cliff.

So I suggest, and this is just me, my opinion, that, stop being a fundamentalist, because you're never going to persuade people that are effectively throwing rocks back at you. And basically trying to listen to people that agree with large parts of your, or large parts of the argument. I'm one of those people. I guess what I'm saying, again, is let's just talk about it sensibly, and that's the thrust of all of this.

Vegans should listen to the fact that people like me aren't ready to give up meat completely, but they are willing to buy more expensive, better reared meat. And just doing that would change the kind of meat with every meal ethos, and it kind of already has with me over the last two or three years. And is, should lead, probably would lead, to latter generations abandoning meat further and eventually giving it up completely. I think these are the kind of things that we can talk about and maybe come up with more sensible ways of dealing with them.

But back to your kind of brush with the flamers, the thing that started all this off. Loads and loads of people think that job positions, conference speaking slots, members of parliament et cetera, should be selected entirely on their ability to do the job. That's not a hugely radical viewpoint. It's not backward or you know super conservative. In this case I don't think it's right, but you know, pick on the right things, if someone is genuinely offensive then fine, jump all over it, but otherwise, let's try and have a rational argument about things. That's it.

Paul Boag: I think part of the problem if I'm honest, isn't anything to do with people, because people haven't radically changed. There's this idea that we've all become more extremist. And yeah we kind of have, but I think a big part of it is that the context that we're having these conversation in. Because we're having these conversations in, with people that we don't have a connection to, or a relationship with, that kind of, that completely changes it because you don't understand enough about the other person's position. You only understand the words that are being written down in front of you.

And also there's the context for the tool that you're using, so in this case Twitter. For example, for years I've been involved in building online communities. Really ever since I started getting involved on the web, I've building online communities. And before the birth of things like Facebook and Twitter, it would have never occurred to me, in a million years, to launch a community, with no discernible rules, nobody overseeing that, or setting parameters as what is acceptable or not, and nobody enforcing those kinds of parameters.

I think that you know, you get the community that you built, as a community owner. So for example, I think it was Lyle that was saying in the chatroom only a couple of days ago, what a great place he finds the slack community, our slack community. And I think that is because that is the slack community I have intensionally build. There is intension behind it rather than it simply being, "Here's the tool world, have at it." You know.

Marcus Lillington: Yeah and my comments are based on the fact that that is the way it is so deal with it people. We can't change these tools, there's a bazillion people on Facebook and Twitter et cetera. But if we… it's this idea of, does it really make any difference if I turn the light off when I go out of the room. Well, yeah it does. And the same could apply to social media.

Paul Boag: My feeling is that essentially I've largely abandoned these tools. I've abandoned Facebook. I've abandoned Twitter and I am gravitating towards communities because I still love that about the internet, that you have these communities, but communities that are actively managed. And that doesn't mean I'm only joining communities that I agree with, right, where I agree with all the people in it. I'm sure a lot of people on our slack channel would disagree with me. They quite regularly tell me so as well, in various forms. But it's having some kind of policing, some kind of management over it that I think is necessary. But anyway, that is, you know, it is what it is.

Anyway, none of that is anything to do with today's topic. So well done us, for talking for over 20 minutes without… We've got so much better at this, avoiding this kind of off the topic stuff. But it's actually sort of interesting stuff, isn't it? It's all relevant.

What we're talking about is we are continuing our season on essential skills that we all need as digital professionals. And for week after week, I've come up with well, I've included this in the list but I'm not quite sure it should be here. This one I am 100% confident should be here, until someone tells me that I'm wrong, in an informed and reasoned debate Marcus, I'm sure.

Marcus Lillington: crosstalk 00:22:33. Yes.

Paul Boag: So, today's topic is that we as a community, as digital professionals, we need to learn the language of business, and speak that language that our colleagues speak in other teams. And have a good understanding of business strategy and what actually underpins businesses.

There are so many good reasons for doing this, right. Ultimately every project that we work on and that we engage with, every digital project, that we engage with had a context. And that context is broader organizational strategy and goals. Why are people building websites. It always come down to an underlying business goal. So to be honest, if we don't understand the business, if we can't speak the language of the business, If we can't talk in terms of business strategy, then we are going to ultimately create inferior products. It's as simple as that.

Also, being able to speak the language of business, talk about business strategy, is crucial if you want to communicate to colleagues in a way that resonates with them. I've mentioned before Jared Spools brilliant article about how I can't convince executives to do anything and neither can you. And the fundamental underlying principle of that article is there is no point talking about user experiences, no point talking about user needs, there's no point talking about agile or lean or any of these things, we need to be talking the language that our stakeholders are talking. And the way that they are approaching things.

And that's particularly important, you know, as you talk to people individually. If you're talking to the finance director, you talk about finance. It you're talking to the CEO, you talk about business strategy. If you're talking to the head of marketing, you talk about marketing benefits. You know, you've got to tailor your messages. So we need to be able to talk that language.

If we want to attract bigger projects, and not all of us want to do this, but if you do, if you want to work on larger projects and more complex projects, you're going to need to understand the business language, and the business strategy that underpins those projects. You're not going to be hired to redesign a multinational user experience unless you can talk the language of business. So it's really important for you're progressing your career effectively, or for winning larger work. And then of course, if you are independent, and you are running your own business, you've certainly got to be able to talk about business, because you're got to be able to run your own.

And then, also, of course related to that, and this isn't necessarily of interest to everybody, but if you want to work on those larger projects and you want to start doing, having, bringing more value to your customers, and they be having a wider and bigger influence, then talking the language of business and talking in terms of business allows you to start charging consultative rates. Position yourself as a consultant, which gives you a much bigger reach in what you're doing.

So yeah, business strategy, absolutely need to know about it, and we're going to dive into what you need to know and some useful resources to get you started in just a minute. But I do want to talk about our sponsor first.

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And I chances to meet one of my mentors earlier this morning and he's actually started avoiding straight design work and is focusing on AB testing and multivarient testing and conversion rate optimization, because he can't stand that endless debate with clients about whether something is right or wrong or going in the right direction. And I'm, saying, "Well I don't have any of that." And he said, "Well, how'd you get around it?" And I just said, "Well just do a lot of testing, and provide evidence all the time." And he was saying, "Yeah, but recruiting people's a pain in the neck."

No it's not. Not anymore. It used to be, but now there's these services like Testing Time that's absolutely brilliant. If you need to recruit people for usability testing, for focus groups, for interviews, for surveys, heck, if you want to, you know, do some testing around whether and idea is even worth doing, going back to business strategy, then they're a really great tool. They'll help you recruit people both for online testing, remote testing, but also onsite and offline testing as well, if you want to do that. They're the people that you want to go to. Over 350,000 test subjects they've got as a pool for you to draw on, which is obviously amazing, so you can be really fussy about the kind of people you want.

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Okay, lets talk about business strategy, and the things you need to know.

Marcus Lillington: Hang on.

Paul Boag: One of the… Oh go on.

Marcus Lillington: I was just say that, just as an extension of what you were saying about we need to use the right language with people. Remember I did the thought for the day a few weeks ago about when we get like finance directors sat down in a room and they start giving us feedback about web usability and stuff?

Paul Boag: Yes.

Marcus Lillington: And it's all wrong and hugely out of date. That's another reason we mustn't talk to them with our language because they only get 10% understanding from it. It's not like I had no way of dealing with it. But there's one, there's one way-

Paul Boag: Yeah absolutely, you definitely do need to switch the conversation back into the kind of language you're talking about, which is why I often talk about, you know, when those kinds of conversations come up, I always switch back to talking about well what are your business drivers and what's your KPIs and those kinds of things. But they, see something… I want to start off with a particular, making a particular statement to put this all in context because a lady that I was working with recently who worked for a really large multinational company, and she'd been doing really well in her career progression within this organization. And then she'd kind of hit a road block, right, where she was really having trouble convincing more senior stakeholders to take what she was doing seriously.

And she said to me, "I don't know the words to say. I don't know the language." And I know what she was driving at, and I know what she was saying, but actually it's not about using the right terminol;iogy, or at least not entirely. I'm not saying that doesn't help, to be able to throw around words like CPIs, but it's not really about the terminology. Don't get too hung up about whether you know exactly the right term, because half of the jargon they throw around, not everybody in the room will know that anyways. Because a lot of jargon is company specific and/ or sector specific and you're never, you're not going to undermine yourself by saying, "What do you mean by that?" This is always a really good one right, if you don't want to look an idiot go, "Can I just clarify what you mean by… " because not everybody agrees. You might have not a clue what it was that they were talking about but if you word it like that then you don't look like an idiot.

Anyway. It's necessarily about that kind of stuff. What I'm driving at, what I think we need to get better at, is looking at the bigger picture, all right. Always look at the context of the project or whatever you're involved in. And when you start to look at the bigger picture of what surrounds your project, then you'll start to naturally start to talk about the same kind of things that your managers and your colleagues are talking about, right. So, if I could sum it up in one thing, of what's drawn me into this world of business strategy, it was the attitude of not accepting anything without first understanding it.

So let me give you an example of what I mean. You know when people turn around and they say things like, "Oh we can't do that because of …" right? My response to that is always, "Well why not? Why can't we do it because of that? I don't understand it." So a great examples is, "Oh compliance won't let us do that." Well why not? It's always asking that question, "Why not?" Think of it like pulling on a thread, okay. So Let's say, Cat's just described it in the chat room as the five why's, which I like to call the toddler technique. "Why? Why can't I do that?" And keep asking why.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. So somebody comes along and says, "Well we can't do your design because we've got some legacy technology that prevents us from doing it." "Okay, great. Fine. But why can't we replace that piece of technology?" That would be my response to that. "Well because it would be too expensive." So, "Well how do we know that? Why is it too expensive and what are judging the fact that it's too expensive." Right. "Well because the finance director says so." "Well what's that director basing that judgment on and what, has he, because we haven't given him any figures about potential you know money that could be generated from this site. So how do you know if it's an investment worth making?"

And it's not being afraid to ask those questions and not just accept that because somebody else has said that something's in place, then you can't do it. And it's not that the finance director might be entirely right. But you've got a right to understand, right? And to question. And once you've got it in your head that it's okay to start questioning these things then you start learning about these areas and you'll discover that sometimes there are good reasons why you can't do what you want to do.

Or going back to my example this morning, this morning… We've been podcasting for that long… at the beginning of this episode where I said that I'm not doing a load of testing and we're just pushing something live, well that's because I asked all of those questions and I pushed and now I understand their business drivers. I understand what's going on internally. So it's absolutely fine… Sorry-

Marcus Lillington: Tangent Paul. Paul. I was just reminded that once upon a time we did a really long pod cast. Was it a 12 hour or a 24 hour? I can't remember.

Paul Boag: It was a 12 hour, I think.

Marcus Lillington: Yeah, I can't imagine we would have gone for a 24 hour podcast, but we did a 12.

Paul Boag: We had different guests on every hour, for 12 hours.

Marcus Lillington: That's right.

Paul Boag: It was a good one. We aught to do that again one day. That'd be fun. It was for like the 200th episode or something like that.

Marcus Lillington: I think it was, yes, and well, we must be at 500 by now.

Paul Boag: Oh, easily. Yeah, I've stopped counting. So what I guess I'm saying is you start with your immediate job and then follow the threads. So you don't need to suddenly discover how to do business talk. That's not going to get you there. It's more about following the threads.

You don't need to know everything. You just need to know about the areas that impact what you're doing as they come up. So you're going to encounter areas like marketing for example, is a really obvious one. So you'll nee to understand a bit about business marketing. Customer service often comes up as something that touches the edge of what you're doing. So that's something else that you got to… Those are two that we're probably all fairly familiar with and we've already talked about in this season. But then there'll be finance constraints that come up right.

A great example of that is one of the big reasons why websites go through these periodic redesigns every few years, which we know is a bad thing, is often because the website is seen as a capital expense by the finance department. It's and expense that occurs every few years, so it doesn't have an ongoing budget associated with it. It's not an operational expense, like say, marketing is or whatever else.

So one of the aims of what you want to do is start working with finance to help them understand and shift it from being a capital expense to an operational expense. And you only find that out if you start asking questions. Well, why aren't we only designing it once three? Why does the money run out when the project's over? Unless you ask the dumb questions, you'll never going to know.

Compliance is another area that often comes up with bigger organizations. Strategy is another area that, again, your website sits within a strategic framework. Another great one is, "Why do so many websites fail when they launch?" Because they're not looked after, because, or that the people looking after them don't have a good idea of how to run it.

So hang on a minute, that means that training is another important area. And governance, right, of how these things are run. And then of course a lot of people don't have the web written into their jobs properly. So their jobs need to change to use the website. And it their jobs need to change, then we need to start paying attention to change management, and how jobs go about changing.

Then of course, there's risk. Lots of the time you're told you can't do this or that because, "oh what if our site gets hacked?" Or, "What if this happens?" How do organizations judge associated risks and stuff. And so it goes on and on, service design, KPIs all these things. So it's all about kind of pursuing those threads and seeing where they take you. And that's really all I wanted to say in terms of what you need to know. Or, more precisely, how you need to approaching it, I guess. Never take no for an answer. Always keep pulling on those threads and see where it takes you.

It's a fascinating… It becomes almost like a game. A game of Whack-a-Mole. One problem comes up and so you pursue that until you understand that problem and you get out of the way and another one pops up somewhere else and you follow that through. It's never accepting that thing of, "Oh, that's not my job." Or, "It's not my responsibility." You know.

Marcus Lillington: Paul says whack a client. I think-

Paul Boag: Yes, I would whack a client.

Marcus Lillington: -there's one other aspect to this, where it's really useful, necessary to have a wider understanding or the different, king of, aspects of a business you're working with, is when you're doing user journey mapping, because it's so easy to kind of like get all the nice webby digital people in the room and ask them about stuff that they don't really know about. And you've got to ensure that you've got input from across the business to do that process, and that involves speaking their language to get them in the room in the first place.

Paul Boag: And that's another reason as well to, well, yeah you say you've got to speak their language to get them in the room in the first place, to the extent you've got to explain why this is an exercise worth doing. And why it's worth their time. But it's also a really good opportunity to learn their language as well because they'll come in answer they'll start talking about I don't know… I was working with a client a couple of days ago who was talking about HCPs. I had no idea-

Marcus Lillington: What do you mean by that?

Paul Boag: -they said it with so much utter confidence that you think I'm supposed to know this. And wasn't it was health care professionals. There's no way I would have known that. But, of course, sometimes you google it. Yeah, I'm always Googling on the phone to find out, but sometimes it'll come back with something totally different because it's not a related field, and you go, "How the hell does that relate?"

So you've got to as these question. Nobody cares. Nobody thinks, "Oh, what an idiot." Do you know what they think, they think, "He's confident, that he can admit he doesn't know." So absolutely start doing that. So you're right customer journey mapping is really a great opportunity to start asking those dumb questions and start engaging in that kind of stuff.

Of course, stakeholder interviews, are another great example where you can start getting to this kind of thing. I have even been known to do a bit of like shadowing, where I'll go and sit with someone while they're just doing their normal job. And I'll get on with something else, because you don't you know want someone literally watching you all the time. But if like they're on a call, and they get off the call, I'll then say, "So you talked about dedededede on that call. Tell me about that. I don't understand that."

Or the other one that I will do is, or really I don't do it because I work at a agency, but the thing that I recommend for people who work in house, is go and sit with people from other departments sometimes. Spend a bit of time around them, because then you begin to soak in their world and stuff.

Anyway, there you go, we'll get into some useful resources, but I just was to get to our second sponsor, which is GatherContent who have been supporting the show for a really long time. And it's really great that they keep coming back. It's just lovely of them. And so they should because I seem to spend a lot of my time in their app as well. So it's only fair that they return the favor I think.

Marcus Lillington: Boagworld is bring them loads of business that's what it'll be.

Paul Boag: Is it? Do you recon that's what… I don't think it is. Nah. But I was using GatherContent this last week and it's a great app. It's not too over engineered. You know how sometimes add more and more features to an app and it becomes more and more complicated and you end up not being able to use it and it's like… It just hits that sweet spot. It's so good. Anyway.

So it's great for content creation. So you're redesigning your website, you need to extract content from a client, they send it through to you in a Word document and with formatting screwed up and they, "Oh, yeah, I put the images in the word document." No, no that's not going to be… I can't get them out of a word document in a quality that I need. And they go, and then you get, "Oh and this bit of content's in a PDF and oh I emailed you that piece of content two weeks ago." No. Please.

So get them to put it all into GatherContent. It's a great tool they can just dump stuff in. And it'll even, you can even export straight out into your content management system as well. So it's really great for content creation, and gathering your content. It's also good for helping you work in a more efficient way. There's cost efficiencies involved with it and it's got, so, it keeps your projects on plat, which is really good and then also, it's great for managing your workflows to facilitate writing. So, if you've got to have sign off by various people you can do all of that kind of stuff.

So it's a content operations platform really, that'll let you need to do anything you need to do around content, but at scale. So it's really good for big sites as well. I'll help you manage your people your processes and your content in effective ways. So check it out. You can find out more at”>

All right, yes, so that's that. Let's talk about some resources to get you started. I have become a business book junky. I read all of the… I read loads of them, and I'm just going to try to pick out a few because otherwise this is going to be painful. I've written a few posts on it as well, which will, if you can't be bothered to read an entire book, which might be slightly overkill.

So the first book that I would really recommend is Strategy and the Fat Smoker, which I think is a book I've mentioned before, isn't it Marcus?

Marcus Lillington: Rings a bell.

Paul Boag: Does that ring a bell?

Marcus Lillington: It does ring a bell but I can't remember what it's about.

Paul Boag: It just got an amazing title. I like it because of the title. The premise of the book is, everybody knows what good strategy is right. We all know what you should do. But we're just shit at doing it, and it explores how to actually do stuff. So it's like being a fat smoker. You know you should lose weight. You know you should stop smoking you don't need anyone to tell you that. You don't need to hire a consultant to tell you that. You need to find out how to do it. How to make those things actually happen. So, that's a really good book. It's a very enjoyable read as well, so I recommend that.

Another book that's more, totally opposite really. So, Strategy and the Fat Smoker is one of those books you read from beginning to end and it's very engaging and all that kind of stuff. The next book is, This is Service Design Doing, and it's a book about service design, which might be a term you haven't come across before, which his basically about operations, organizational operations.

Service Design Doing is like a collection of tools and methodologies that you can pick and choose from. It's one of those books that you kind of dip in and out of. So it's worth getting it in print format, for that reason. What is remarkable about service design is that service design and user experience design are really similar. There is a lot of overlap on there, and you'll read a lot of the book and go, "Well hang on a minute, that's…" Customer journey mapping is a great example of that that's in the book. "Well, hang on, you can't have that. It's a user experience design thing not a service design thing."

The two are so interlinked. It's a really good sort of gateway drug into the world of business because it's kind of coming from our perspective anyway. So This is Service Design Doing is a great book. If you can't be bothered to read a whole book and just want an introduction, I've written an article called Service design, What is it? What does it involve? And should you care? So that's an article you might want to check out. If you just google Boagworld and service design you'll get it back.

Another book that's quite interesting because, again, it's coming at things from a digital perspective still. We're not, kind of, completely kissing goodbye to our core skill set, and learning something completely off the wall. It's a book called Managing Chaos, Digital Governance by Design. So this is about, kind of, all the systems and processes you need to put in place to support your digital service that you're creating. So it's a really good book to being to start thinking about some of the organizational issues that underpin a successful website. So I'd check that one out.

I've written another article that might be quite interesting if you're interested in looking at the idea of change management and how to get people in organizations to address new ways of working. I've written an article called, How to Solve the Four Factors Stopping Digital Change Management. So again just google digital change management Paul Boag and you'll get that back.

Another article that I've written that might be interesting is Motivating and Colleagues to Embrace Change, which is a very similar related article. And then I've written another article, which is more about strategy generally right. And it's called, So you Want to Write a Digital Strategy, obviously within the context of digital as you can tell from the title.

So those are all articles that will kind of get you, slowly introduce you to more of this business world. And the final thing if you want some kind of ongoing source that maybe looks at your world of digital with a more business focus, I highly recommend the Econsultancy Blog. So unlike things like Smashing Magazine and those kinds of publications that are looking at more of the doing, Econsultancy looks more at the business drivers behind all of this. And you'll begin to learn the lexicon and the language and that kind of stuff.

So actually we pulled the podcast back Marcus. We're at 51 minutes. That's good isn't it?

Marcus Lillington: Good. Well done us.

Paul Boag: Yeah. Well done. Or either that or I've just not covered the topic properly at all.

Marcus Lillington: You just raced through it Paul, "Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." I said nothing. That was fine.

Paul Boag: Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Yeah. Get it out of the way. Move on. No, this is one of those topics where really you can't kind of just say, "Use these, this words and learn this stuff and you're all sorted." Because it's such a big amorphous area. It goes back to that pulling on the threads. Following the trail wherever it may lead you and being interested in everything really, everything that comes up relating to your project and not going, "That's not my job. I don't care about that." So there you go. Marcus do you have a joke for us?

Marcus Lillington: I do. This one's from Lyle. Is Lyle in the room today? I don't think he is.

Paul Boag: I don't think he is today.

Marcus Lillington: What do you call a pig with three eyes? What do you call a pig with three eyes? A piiig. Blame Lyle.

Paul Boag: You chose to use it.

Marcus Lillington: I think that's great.

Paul Boag: And then the chat room has started off. They've gone from pigs to sheep again.

Marcus Lillington: Now we've got pigs, pigs and sheep. Brilliant.

Paul Boag: I have no idea what this whole sheep fetish is about anyways. Okay that's it for this week. I'm sorry for the disappointing end to the show. It's sad but you know Marcus is cognitive skills are going down as he ages. Let's blame it on that.

Marcus Lillington: Okay.

Paul Boag: Next week we're going to be talking about collaboration and how to collaborate, which should be an interesting one because I well know from being an excellent team player who always listens carefully to other people, never talks over the top of them. You know, all of those good things. So until then inaudible 00:52:58

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