shutterstock_22007087210 valuable tips for altering outcomes at the 11th hour

We’ve all seen it happen — in the FIFA World Cup, Super Bowl, or the US Open. Sports stars are headed for failure. But, late on, they turn it around dramatically, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Then there’s a media frenzy with everyone asking: “How did you do it? What did the coach say to you? What made the difference?”

In sport, this phenomenon often occurs because a crucial rest break in the game enables the stars to regroup, adjust their tactics, and come out fighting, which proves a game-changer.

There’s a striking similarity with the Analyst Assessment process and the pause created by the Draft Review stage. The preliminary findings from the analyst may leave you feeling deflated, baffled, frustrated, embarrassed, and misunderstood. Furious even. But don’t throw in the towel. The clock is still running and you’ve got time to change the outcome.

Getting involved at the draft stage is a great opportunity to improve the final result, according to a survey based on the experiences of over 100 enterprises (see details below). In fact, companies have been able to make corrections, improvements, and adjustments — and some even ‘moved their dot’ significantly as a result. You just need to react in the right way at the right time.

So here are 10 useful tips for how to respond when your next draft arrives …

Tip #1: Focus on the facts, not opinions
The draft stage is essentially about checking information — not contesting the analyst’s opinions (unless these are based on errors). When your report arrives, highlight anything that’s factually incorrect, and begin collecting the facts to make your case.

Tip #2: Pick the right battles

The Draft Review cannot be about everything, so focus on the most important points where facts are wrong or key information has been overlooked. Create a short-list in priority order.

Tip #3: Plan your time wisely
You have 30 minutes to make your points on the call with the analyst – and not a second longer. Plan strategically and hone your key points. Make every moment count.

Tip #4: Don’t be afraid to push back, but be respectful

If you do push back, make your points fact-based. Avoid getting personal. Try to get the analyst on your side. Be constructive. Sometimes analysts make genuine mistakes, miss vital information, or simply didn’t know about something important – for example, if you missed presenting an important capability or piece of evidence during the assessment.

Tip #5: Keep a calm head on the call

If there’s a big risk the person making the call for your team will get angry or emotional, then get someone calmer to step in. This isn’t an opportunity to ‘vent’. It’s about affecting change. Stay focused on that alone.

Tip #6: Don’t rule out the bizarre
If the dot position seems seriously wrong, then politely ask the analyst to check if there’s been a transposition error. Believe it or not, we’ve seen this recently.

Tip #7: Get changes in writing

If the analyst agrees to make changes, then ask to see the update in writing. This will put your mind at ease and also help to make sure that key points aren’t forgotten once the call ends.

Tip #8: Learn from the experience

The Draft Review may reveal a few painful home truths. Maybe the person leading your initiative failed to provide a good briefing, decent demo, or the best references? Draft review is not an opportunity to re-litigate the assessment. Plan to do better next time.

Tip #9: Know when to contact the ombudsman

If you don’t agree with the analyst’s opinion, that’s not a valid reason for contacting the ombudsman. But you can escalate the issue to the ombudsman if you believe there are errors or there’s been a breach of process or ethics.

Tip #10: Engage The Skills Connection
We have been able to achieve great results for clients, working with them at every stage of the assessment process – including at the Draft Review. But the earlier we get involved, the better the result. As former Gartner analysts ourselves, we use best practice frameworks that ensure your responses are logical, evidence-based, unemotional and strategic. With our help, clients can often achieve the best possible outcome.

Want to find out how what kinds of changes other enterprises have been able to achieve at the Draft Review stage? Download your free copy of Analyst Assessments: What’s in it for me?  Published by The Skills Connection, the insightful report reveals the experiences of over 100 technology enterprises at key stages of the assessment process. Those surveyed did business with Gartner, Forrester, IDC and other analyst firms already and they worked in areas such Marketing and Product Management.