Year end is naturally a time to reflect on our accomplishments, challenges, trials, and failures and hopefully attempt to place all of these moments in time, throw them into a meat grinder, and come up with some sort of inspirational sausage to be served at the hors d’oeuvres table next to the brie wheel.
I look upon my career’s 2012 sausage as a rather fine specimen, as some of my key ingredients are of the truffle and high caliber meat level including bringing my total salesforce.com certifications to 4 (Admin, Advanced Admin, Sales Cloud Consultant, and Developer) as well as the title of salesforce.com MVP which puts me in a list of the best of the best from the entire salesforce.com worldwide community.
While I’m still riding on a cloud high as a result of obtaining this awesome title (bucket list, check!) and from the continued love and support that I’ve experienced from the salesforce.com community as a whole, I’d like to share some valuable lessons learned that all salesforce.com admins can keep in mind as they build out their resolution list for 2013. Here’s to churning out the same level of product for next year!
- Keep Those Synapses Firing! We need to constantly be challenged and complete meaningful tasks or we become….mushy. I have to admit, several times throughout my career, I became complacent, and happy with giving the minimum needed to continue rolling along. This year I made a career change (See #5) and I tapped into my naturally competitive nature and obtained 3 additional salesforce.com certifications, with one more on the way in Q1 2013. There should be no end to your thirst for knowledge, and if you find yourself reach an end of the ravenous craving for more information about your particular topic of expertise, it may be time for refocus and reflection.
- Network, Network, Network – And I don’t only mean on LinkedIn (although this is a great location to find others in your space, just don’t only use it when you want to clear your inbox your emails from recruiters) –
- Offline: Make the effort to get out from behind your desk occasionally and meet people face to face. Attend your local user group meeting, attend Salesforce.com meetups, and attend CloudForce in your area if possible. Attend Dreamforce 2013! I can’t stress this enough – there is no alternative to the doors that you will open by attending this event.
- Online: Find your niche market/community for your online work and stick to the more common venues. Do you like rolling conversations about topics and notifications on upcoming events? LinkedIn. Do you enjoy helping others answer their pressing salesforce.com questions? Salesforce.com Answers. Do you prefer talking to various members of the community with almost instantaneous feedback? Twitter, with some of the more common hashtags used by the community, i.e. #AskForce. There are many other areas to find expert advice or just someone to bounce ideas off of, including Facebook pages, blogs, YouTube channels, and salesforce.com pages. You’d be amazed at who you can find online that is willing to connect with you over social media channels!
- Obtain Feedback – Ask for feedback on a regular basis. Not everyone is going to be confident or focused enough to give you regular feedback in any manner, but you need to know if the removal of that field, or the addition of that validation rule is helping or hindering your clients at every level. If you must, have a formalized process along the lines of a steering committee to obtain feedback, but with the myriad of tools at our fingertips in salesforce.com, I’d suggest posting Chatter Polls or just an initial conversation starter post with the all-inclusive hashtag #feedback. This also allows you to use the same hashtag when communicating the changes you’ve made to the system based on the requests from your end users.
- Tools Exist for (Most) Large Scale Issues – Use the AppExchange to find the right tools, partners, or developers that can help solve your issues. Use this your first stop before tearing your hair out in frustration – if it’s happening to you, it’s a good bet that someone else has had the same issue, from resolving the need to mass update records in a list view to a large-scale de-duping and data cleansing tool. Don’t ever assume that the tool you need will be paid, either! The AppExchange has numerous free apps where all it takes is your time and effort to customize them (and don’t hesitate to reach out to the App Developer, either! Most of them will get back to you very quickly, and are always looking for feedback on their apps).
- Surround Yourself With the Right People – This year I moved to a new opportunity at a salesforce.com Platinum Partner and I am now not only working with extremely intelligent people overall, but also colleagues with brains full of facts and recommendations, so I have the ability to regularly “geek out” with them. This company’s passion for the product resulted in one of the first ever Partner Innovation Awards announced at Dreamforce 2012. I also would not be where I was today without the shared enthusiasm and expertise over the past 5+ years from all of the other awesome MVPs, including Matt Brown, Mike Gerholdt, Jeff Grosse, Garry Polmateer, Brandy Colmer, Geraldine Gray, and of course the newly inducted MVPs (I just met for the first time this year including Becky Webster, Brian Kwong, and Matt Lacey)! Some of the most valuable interactions I’ve had come from subject matter experts in areas of salesforce.com that I have little to no experience with implementation or customization so don’t hesitate to branch out of your comfort zone and ask questions. The entire salesforce.com community is incredibly amazing, and can’t wait to see what this collective group can accomplish in the new year.
Enjoy the end result of your combined 2012 efforts, and cheers to a fruitful and productive 2013!