Picking your nose. Not washing your hands after using the restroom. Biting your nails. Failing to cover your mouth when you cough. The list of bad habits people engage in every day is a long one.
Salesforce Administrators have a whole host of bad habits that need to be broken. While this isn’t an inclusive list, these five horrible habits are some of my bad habits and personal pet peeves with other Administrators. If you truly want to become an Admin Hero we need to break these horrible habits.
1. Not Preparing for Salesforce Releases
Companies shell out a lot of money for Salesforce, and they expect to get their monies worth. Salesforce is always in a flux of continuous improvement with three releases a year, and part of our jobs is to understand what new features and functionality could benefit the business.
As a subject matter expert, it is our responsibility to review and understand the release notes and the impact to the business. If we aren’t going through the process of educating ourselves, we are doing everyone involved a disservice.
An Admin Hero wants to make their company successful. The only way that this can happen is to be aware of the capabilities; to be educated in the platform that we love. So, let’s break this bad habit right now! Read the Spring ’14 release notes and prepare yourself and your company for the upcoming changes.
2. Being a Poor Communicator
System Administrators are in a unique role because we engage with multiple individuals at all levels of our companies. Listening to some Administrators communicate (written and verbal), it is evident that there is a general lack of communication skills.
Personally, I view myself as a sales and marketing role. Constantly, I am marketing new features and functionality to the internal stakeholders via written and verbal communication and at the same time, trying to persuade those internal stakeholders to invest. How many times have you been approached with an awful piece of marketing content or a poor sales pitch? This is what poor communicators are offering their potential investors. It’s time that we evaluate our communication skills and work to improve where we are lacking.
To learn how to effectively communicate, start by selecting a few individuals you view as great communicators and evaluate their style. I watch a lot of Ted Talks which provide great examples of both communication and presentation skills. Lastly, read more. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn about communication by reading a book.
3. Saying Yes
A gatekeeper is someone who controls access to something (Wikipedia). We have all run into a gatekeeper at some point in our lives; interviews, admissions offices, the DMV. Administrators act, in effect, as the gatekeepers of Salesforce. We are the ones responsible for the integrity of the architecture, the scalability of the configuration and the reduction of pain-points.
In the past, I worked for an organization where nearly every business unit had their wants and needs for Salesforce and didn’t much care how it impacted the other departments. We operated in a single instance but had multiple configurations and processes running at the same time. In some cases, we had requests come in from one department which would have had a negative impact on another department’s processes if implemented. Before providing an answer, I took the time to understand the request and the impact to the business. There were many requests that I said no to because they would have impacted the business negatively.
People, in general, are uncomfortable with conflict so the word “no” in the workplace can cause stress. But Administrators are the keepers of the gate. We know all of the ins and outs of our instance, and it is up to us to keep the maintain system integrity. This is not to say that we shouldn’t help to find a solution. In many cases, if my answer was no, I provided a potential solution to meet the need of the requester.
I’m not advocating for saying “no” to every request; just stop saying “yes” to every request. Take some time to think critically before providing a response. If your answer ends up being a “no”, reduce potential conflict by showing that you want to collaborate and solve the problem by providing a different solution to the problem. Plus, you’ll win some kudos from team members. (Everyone loves a team player).
4. Failing to Document Your Salesforce Knowledge
There is a lot of tribal knowledge across organizations, and unfortunately, Salesforce Administrators are not immune. There are just not enough hours in the day to document every process or configuration change we make, but this is an important function of our jobs – one of those necessary evils.
This is one of my bad habits. Documentation is just not something that I enjoy doing. I find it tedious and boring. But, I have learned the value and importance of it. In fact, I have written about it before in a post called How to Document Your Salesforce Instance.
Here is a hypothetical: you win the lottery tomorrow and immediately retired to a far-off tropical island. Would your company be able to function without you? We owe it to ourselves and our companies to document as much as we can because personally when I win the lottery, I’d rather be on the beach with a cold drink in my hand than documenting my companies processes!
5. Working in a Silo
Odds are you are a team of one. You probably have no one to problem solve with or discuss best practices within your organization. I know how that feels, and it can be very daunting at times. The great thing about Salesforce is that it is more than just a product – it is a community. There are now over 1 million members in the Salesforce Community, and we all want to see each other succeed.
If you aren’t already actively engaging with the Salesforce Community, now is the time. More than likely, there is a user group in your city, and this is an easy first step. User groups are free to attend and offer excellent resources. Read Cheryl’s story which describes the power of the Salesforce Community.
You can get engaged with the community in a couple of ways:
- Join a user group. There are groups in almost every metro area in the United States and some that even meet internationally.
- Setup your profile on the Salesforce Success Community and start engaging with thought leaders and join groups that interest you. Leverage the community to ask questions and get answers quickly.
“We become what we repeatedly do.” – Sean Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
“Good habits are worth being fanatical about.” – John Irving
Photo Credit: Hobvias Sundoneigm via Flickr