Being Neurodivergent in the Salesforce Ecosystem with Joe Sterne


This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we have Joe Sterne, Solutions Architect at Salesforce.

Join us as we talk about learning and becoming a Salesforce Admin while neurodivergent, and how we can be compassionate and give space to each other when we work together.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Joe Sterne.

Working with ADHD

Joe is a Solution Architect at Salesforce in the Solution Consulting Group. “Long story short, I’m client-facing — I help clients either implement or fix their Salesforce instance,” he says. When I was looking for topics for the pod, Joe approached me with an idea to talk about being neurodivergent in the Salesforce ecosystem. Joe was diagnosed with ADHD in middle school, and he’s been managing it his entire life.

Everyone has an attention bandwidth — how many things you can pay attention to or how much you can focus on one thing. People with ADHD are very focused on managing their attention bandwidth, which can make some tasks and environment more difficult but also has advantages as well.

How to stay on task in Trailhead

“The number one thing I tell people when they are signing up for Trailhead is to understand what you’re looking to get out of it and make sure that you are staying on topic when you’re trying to learn,” Joe says. With badge recommendations and the flow of the platform, it’s incredibly easy to go down a rabbit hole picking things that sound fun. “3 hours later, you realize that you’re trying to code in Apex when you were trying to learn about leadership,” he says.

Joe’s advice is to rely on Trailmixes and, honestly, tabs. Have the Trailmix in one tab and the badge in another and “as soon as you’re done with that badge, close it and open up a new tab with the next badge,” he says. Another effective strategy is timeboxing: giving yourself a deadline to complete what you’re trying to do.

This doesn’t mean you should never follow your fancy — it’s just about knowing when to put them on a list or favorite them so you can stay focused on the task at hand.

Working with neurodivergent team members

One thing that’s important in these conversations is that everyone is different, and neurodivergent conditions don’t show up the same way in everybody. “Give people space to talk and grow without making assumptions about what they’re going through,” Joe says. That also could also mean creating internal groups to give people the space to talk about it and not feel alone.

Another practice that can be helpful is for each member of your team to fill out a “working with me” document that includes information like helpful ways to communicate, what to keep in mind, and how you can help them succeed. It’s a practice we do on the Admin Evangelist team that we’ve found very helpful whenever we add someone new.

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? Social announcement: If you haven’t heard, next week we’re hosting a Salesforce Admins Podcast sweepstakes. Every day from December 13-17, 2021, join us on Twitter to revisit and share some of your favorite Salesforce Admins Podcast episodes from the year. Each day, we’ll post a podcast-related question or task for you to respond to. Eligible participants who respond to a question or task with #AwesomeAdmin and #Sweepstakes by December 17 at 11:59 p.m. PT will be entered for a chance to win a Salesforce Admins Podcast tumbler! *Restrictions apply. Not all users are eligible to participate. See blog for rules and details.

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Full show transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week, we’re talking with Joe Sterne, who is a solutions architect at Salesforce, about being neurodivergent and learning and becoming a Salesforce admin. Now, this is a really great episode. I know I say that all the time, but I so enjoyed sitting down with Joe. I loved his authenticity, I loved his openness. I loved that he was able to educate me, and I hope enlighten everyone on this pod and help us come to a better state of understanding and really how we can work together and learn from each other and be compassionate and give space to one another.

I tried to ask difficult questions. I’ll be honest with you, some difficult questions that were in my head that I knew Joe was comfortable answering, and I wanted to learn more about Joe when you get diagnosed with being neurodivergent, and how we can be compassionate towards others. So this is a little bit different podcast, but man I feel like it’s so on the head with how we can be an even better Salesforce admin community. So take a listen, let me know what you think and let’s get Joe on the podcast. So Joe, welcome to the podcast.

Joe Sterne: Hi.

Mike Gerholdt: I put out a call to our internal awesome admin group that we have on Slack and we use that as the admin team to communicate with various stakeholders across the organization. And I said, “I’m looking for podcast topics.” And Joe, you popped in with a suggestion that I feel is very important to talk about. So let’s start off by having you introduce what you do at Salesforce and then let’s dive into the topic that you suggested.

Joe Sterne: Absolutely. Hi everyone. My name’s Joe Sterne. I’m a solution architect at Salesforce within the solution consulting group. So long story short, I’m client facing. I actually help clients either implement or fix their Salesforce instance depending on the project. And I’ve been in the Salesforce ecosystem since 2013. The topic that I actually brought up for here is something that’s been near and dear to my heart, just because I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD since I was in middle school, I believe. And I’ve been basically what people like to call neurodivergent my entire life. And one of the places that I have struggled, especially in the work world with is harnessing the inherent advantages of ADHD to my advantage while trying to minimize some of the problems that I have with focus and attention span and such.

I was actually joking when we were talking about this topic yesterday that I have a problem that I like to confess on Trailhead, and it’s two parts, is one, I struggle to complete badges, especially if I am distracted by something else, like emails or Slack, or if I’m doing a badge between a meeting in the middle of the day. And then the other thing that I am going to shamelessly admit at the beginning, Mike, that while I’ve followed your podcast for years, I don’t listen to podcasts because I have to focus on that 100%. And if I’m focusing on that 100%, I might as well be watching a video. And so I just watch videos.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Joe Sterne: Yeah. In the before times, if you ever saw me trying to listen to a podcast in the car, it’s literally me arguing with the people on the podcast, but they can’t hear me argue. So it’s a very weird one-sided conversation. But that happens to be one of the interesting advantages of being neurodivergent, especially in the ADHD realm, is that you can actually hyperfocus. And I found that listening to things, if it’s not music, I have to hyperfocus on it, otherwise I completely tune it out. But anyway, I don’t want to get too far down a rabbit hole there, but I wanted to talk about how there’s some strategies that I’ve used, being a neurodivergent person, in the Salesforce ecosystem to help succeed in the Salesforce ecosystem.

Mike Gerholdt: So I think that’s very important. And when I saw your post, I knew I wanted to have you on the podcast because it’s one of those aspects where I feel on the pod, we do a lot of talking about product and learning product and we forget the atmosphere that everyone lives in. And everyone’s atmosphere is a little different and everyone’s learning style is a little different. And I think people respectfully say, “Oh, it’s hard to have, it’s hard for me to pay attention or do this,” or you’ve got ADD or ADHD, and they truly don’t understand that there’s a difference between just not being able to focus on that task and actually having that.

Joe Sterne: Right.

Mike Gerholdt: Which you described to some degree and it’s okay that you can’t listen to the podcast. There are plenty of times, I actually found on a relatable tangent when I drive somewhere, I enjoy listening to music more than I do podcasts because I will listen to the podcast so intently, that I’ll forget where I am.

Joe Sterne: Yeah, exactly.

Mike Gerholdt: I’ve missed the turns. I’ve stopped paying attention to the GPS. But I do think that’s the point you brought up, and let’s dive into that is when you’re learning, there’s this idea that there’s this perfect environment. I’ve often driven down the road. And my example to this is you look at a billboard, and I think the good billboards are the ones where you can look at it and grasp the information in just a few seconds. And the really bad ones are the ones where I look at it and I think, so clearly somebody was sitting in a room, no distractions, had a giant piece of paper or this image in front of them, and that’s all they paid attention to.

And they failed to remember that perhaps their target audience was a single mother who, their environment going down the road, is in an SUV or a van and perhaps there’s a child misbehaving or there’s music, or somebody swerved in front of them or it’s bad weather out, and their atmosphere that they live in while were looking at that ad to approve it for a billboard is very different than the world that their target audience is actually going to experience it. And to some degree, I think of that because my team’s working on some Trailhead modules. When we sit down and look at these questions and think about this, we’re absent of distractions, of Slack notifications, of things that are going on. When the reality is people taking a Trailhead badge are sitting there with Slack open, notifications coming in, email maybe dinging, Twitter, TikTok, who knows, right on their phone, somebody texting them. And that’s not even including just their ability to learn and consume.

Joe Sterne: Right. A good way that I like to liken this, and ironically enough, as you were talking about the stuff, I reached across my desk and grabbed a fidget spinner, because I have a bunch of things on my desk that, whether it’s like poker chips or something like that, so something I can do with my hands. The reason why I bring that up is that to me, a neurodivergent person is more aware of their attention bandwidth. So it’s something where everyone has what I like to call an attention bandwidth. So it’s how much stuff you can pay attention to or how much you can arguably focus on one thing. And either you’re usually trying to hyperfocus on one thing, or you’re trying to split your attention across different areas. And I think that at least for myself, I’ve become very cognizant that I know my limits and I know when I am starting to either reach the edge of that attention bandwidth, like maxing it out or if I’m going down the route of hyperfocus and I need to focus and I need to make sure that I’m not dividing my attention up.

There’s certain things that I have to do, like turning off notifications or closing Slack, for instance, to make sure that I can go power through things. I would say that in the extreme instances where I have to finish stuff, cough, certification maintenance, cough, for those times, I will actually not only turn off all my notifications, but I’ll even time box myself saying, “Hey, I have 30 minutes or I have an hour to go do this, and I need to sit down and shut out the world.” But that being said, because I’m kind of sensitive to that stimulation, sometimes I might need to listen to music or I might need to have background noises on or something to fill up that bandwidth that I have, but not with something that’s necessarily distracting.

Mike Gerholdt: Gotcha. I want you to be helpful and I want to be thoughtful in how I address these questions. As someone who works through Trailhead, and I would argue was a very successful admin, you’re a solutions architect here at Salesforce, what advice can give to potential individuals that are looking to pursue a path in being an administrator, developer, architect and using Trailhead or consuming and understanding technology learning tools?

Joe Sterne: Yeah. So this is a topic I actually really like talking on. I’ve spoken at my Alma mater, Ithaca College, twice so far in 2021, around Trailhead and Salesforce specifically. And the number one thing I tell people outside of signing up for Trailhead is to understand what you’re looking to get out of it and making sure that you are staying on topic when you’re trying to learn. And what I mean by that is it’s incredibly easy, and I think this is also a good thing. So I don’t want to make it sound completely negative. It’s incredibly easy for you to go down a rabbit hole of, “Hey, I just finished a badge. Here’s a recommended badge that sounds kind of fun. I’m going to go do that recommended badge, and then I’m done that. And that sounds kind of fun.” And then three hours later, you realize that you are currently trying to code an apex and you’re like, wait a second, I was looking for leadership stuff.

So it’s one of those things where it’s very easy to go off on tangents. And if that’s what you are planning to do, saying like, “Hey, I’m just going to open up Trailhead and take one of the first badges that comes to mind,” that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But if you’re trying to study for the admin certification, as an example, rely on Trailmixes, rely on tabs in your browser. Basically go have a Trailmix in one tab, have the badge that you’re currently working on in a different tab. As soon as you’re done with that badge, close that tab, open up a new tab with the next badge.

I’ve found that that way, to me, is the best way to keep on track, quote, unquote, if I need to go finish a Trailmixes, or I need to go do a bunch of badges in sequence that I want to learn about because otherwise, it’s very easy to say, “Oh, this recommended badge is pretty cool.” And if you find that, that’s great. Heart that badge, come back to it later. But to me, it’s incredibly easy to get distracted, especially when you’re trying to study for a specific thing or learn a specific thing just because of the wealth that Trailhead offers and really leveraging lists and time boxing your time when you need to, I’ve found to be incredibly helpful.

Mike Gerholdt: Does it help to write down or somewhere document the end goal that you’re trying to shoot for? Because one of the things that I’ve heard, and I’ll say, I think probably agnostic of who you are, you’ve probably ran into this, you get to the end of a module and there’s so many resources. And then you start going down different hallways of learning and the next thing you know, it’s been two hours and all of a sudden you’re doing lightning field service essentials and you started out learning about health check or something. Right?

Joe Sterne: Right. Yeah, so one of the recommendations I would give people, and I’ve been a big note taking fan for a while, is find some service from a note taking perspective that works for you. Salesforce obviously has Quip. Microsoft has OneNote. I’ve been an Evernote fan for about a decade now. Find a service that works for you, notion is another good one, and use that to track your learning journey. And not only can you use that to save resources, because a lot of these services have the ability to actually clip webpages or even just pop in links.
But you can basically make your own outline for studying for an admin for instance, and personalize that to what you want to do. And the great part about that is that not only will that help you focus, but if you do find some cool stuff there, you can always just go throw it in a scratch pad note saying, “Hey, I’d like to go follow up with this,” or maybe I need to go put this on an offline list. Or if I’m tracking my lists online, “Hey, maybe I’ll just go throw this in Google Keep for something I need to go check out later when I have a moment.”

So there’s a lot of cool tools that you can use to keep you going down the path that you’d like to go on. And if you do find some shiny stuff in the distance, which trust me you will, you can definitely put that somewhere else where you don’t have to say, “Oh man, if I’m driving by, I’m going to miss that and I’m not going to be able to see it.” And if you’re thinking you’re going to do that, plug it away for somewhere else.

Kind of on a tangent, I do something very similar for leadership articles that I like. I’ve had a Evernote folder for years. And basically, anytime I come across a blog post that I really enjoy or a news article or something like that, I’ll actually pop open Evernote, web clip that page and thrown it in a folder. And it’s gotten to a point now where actually, I have some coworkers that are also interested in it and there’s thousands and thousands of articles in there now because I’ve been compiling it for years. And it’s one of those things where it’s like, “Hey, this may be a drive by article and I may want to come back to it later. So let me save it so I can do that.” And then the question becomes, do I actually have the time to go do that? And that’s a completely different tangent than we probably don’t want to go down right now.

Mike Gerholdt: When you figure that out, you will be a billionaire, gazillionaire. You’ll make Jeff Bezos or whoever is the top of the list look like in the bread line because everybody needs more time. One thing that struck me is, as I listen to this and I think through as a listener, hey, maybe this doesn’t apply to me. What Joe and Mike are talking about, that’s fine, but I don’t have that problem with notifications or they’re confident they have not been diagnosed with a neurodivergent symptoms. I would like to turn to how can individuals, like myself, how could I support you, Joe, as a coworker?

Joe Sterne: Oh wow. That is an excellent question. And my initial response is, lucky you, because I’ve always wondered what that would feel like to be completely candid. And the second part is that, and I think that the pandemic has also shown this a little bit, is that there should be, ideally, a level of empathy in all organizations and realizing that what you’re doing is not necessarily, how you see things is not the way that other people may see things or the world sees things. And that’s usually one of the things that I try to mention to people, is that if I’m not writing stuff down on lists, which sometimes happens, it may slip through my fingers. And it’s not because I don’t care or I’m trying to be malicious or I don’t want to help you, it’s that I plain forgot.

And if I don’t have it on a list somewhere, I may not remember that I need to do it. I would say that Siri and my Reminders app is probably one of the most used things on my phone. Because if I don’t have something reminding me saying like, “Hey, you need to go do this” or “Hey, you need to go call this person” or “Make sure you check your calendar today at five,” I don’t know what I’m going to be doing, but I probably won’t be doing that. So it’s one of those things where having empathy and grace for all of your coworkers, regardless if they’re neurodivergent or not, is I think something very important. And I feel like the pandemic has definitely shown that to everyone because we’re all struggling with different things, whether it’s something in work or in our personal life or potentially both.

And that I find to be is one of the more important things that are not necessarily talked about that much, but it happens to everybody. And that’s where I think everybody can be helpful to really everybody else, which I know sounds like super cliche, by just having a little bit more empathy, taking a couple more beats of time when you’re responding to something and realizing that the person at the other end of the line is a human. And I feel like these days, especially with the speed of communication and stuff like that, there’s definitely been times personally where I’ve written something that sounds completely fine in my mind that somebody else takes across the complete wrong way because it’s done via text. And it can be hard to convey emotions and stuff like that via text. Thankfully we have emojis and whatnot, one of the reasons I love Slack.

But the thing is you have to be cognizant about how your message is coming across. And sometimes that can be tough for somebody like myself, because I’m trying to bang out that message before I forget what I’m doing. And sometimes it’s like, I’ve gotten a ping on Slack, let me go answer and come back to what I’m doing, or I’m in the middle of a video call and I get an email that I feel like I need to respond to right away. Sometimes times I can juggle both of those things at the same time, sometimes I can’t. And I’ve found that sometimes people get annoyed, because they’re like, “Hey, you’re not paying attention.” It’s like, well, I was. I was paying attention. Then I got distracted and now I’m back to paying attention.

But that usually doesn’t work, especially if you’re on client calls. So it’s something where having some empathy and saying, “Hey, I understand that you’re getting a lot of messages or a lot of emails or something like that, here’s my question,” and making sure that you’re not necessarily assuming the worst in people when your response is not necessarily what you were expecting. And I feel was definitely a very long and meandering answer for what you-

Mike Gerholdt: No, it wasn’t, first of all. Second of all, thank you, because I’m trying to think through, as I listen to this, what are the things that would help coworkers and individuals to have that conversation. As you were explaining this, I’m thinking of coworkers that, oh, maybe they’ve missed sending me stuff on time and I didn’t recognize how to apply grace or empathy towards that situation. And so I’m trying to understand and help everyone listening to understand, how do we approach that situation from… And I was looking back at a podcast that we had just a week or so ago with Ashley Sisty, where we were talking about skills and having meetings with your manager and having honest conversations about your career. And one of the questions that I asked her was what were some of the things that led you to be trusting in your manager cues to have those conversations?

And if you listen, you’ll hear she actually had to pause because it was one of those where it’s, oh, I hadn’t really thought about, I just saw those cues and kind of went forward. And I think the same holds true for me. Like if, as a manager, I see those cues in an individual and maybe that individual doesn’t feel comfortable bringing that up, are there ways, what would your suggestion be as ways do I approach it? Do I not approach it? I’m viewing this as, from a manager standpoint, how do I approach this in a way that I can help understand, one, the situation and two, make that person successful and be successful by understanding?

Joe Sterne: All right. This is probably going to be a multi-part answer. And the first part that I want to talk about is that you can’t make it cookie cutter. This is something that has to be very individual to the person. I know an example that pains me to hear all the time is somebody’s like, “Oh yeah, I’m so OCD.” It’s like, are you just using that term or are you actually diagnosed with OCD? Because there’s two different ways. And OCD doesn’t show up the same way in every person just like ADD or ADHD doesn’t show up the same way in every person. So making sure that you’re actually paying attention to the person in front of you, not just saying, “Hey, I understand that you’re neurodivergent or you may have a disability or something like that and here’s the cookie cover list of things that I want to help you with.”

Asking them is actually probably one of the best ways to do it. And this is something that kind of definitely is within the courageous conversations framework, because it’s not an easy conversation. But at the same time, for some people, it can be kind of relief to say, “Hey, this is something that I’m struggling with or I’m working on, or that affects me, and I’m trying to make sure that it doesn’t necessarily interfere with how you view me as an employee.” Because usually the standards that are written for people are written by people that are potentially not neurodivergent, so neurotypical people. So making sure that you’re giving them that space to talk and grow while in not necessarily making assumptions about what they’re going through.

And then the other part is I think it’s definitely, it’s steeped, it’s part of the company’s culture as well. And obviously, the best way to change culture is one by one. But people make up that culture in the company. And I think I feel really fortunate at Salesforce because we have internal Slack channels that talk about mental health and other things that aren’t necessarily work related here. And to me, at the very, very least, I get connection with other employees that are in similar shoes that I am in. At the most, it’s somewhere where I can actually work with other people to give me ideas, to bounce off stuff, to have these conversations between other people saying like, “Hey, we don’t report to each other. We don’t really know each other, but I’d love to talk about how you solved for this with having ADHD,” as an example, or “Suffering through depression, what was the way that you worked with why?”

It’s one of those things that not everybody’s going to be comfortable with, and that’s totally okay. But I think that having the ability to have those conversations with fellow coworkers, because at the end, we’re all still people, and using that to push for some of those more open conversations within reason. Because I do know that there’s probably some HR people listening right now that are probably cringing super hard. But if people want to talk about it, having a space for them to talk about it. I think that that’s the other part of the answer here is to make sure that you’re giving them the space to connect with others. And really, one of the things that I actually found out as an example of being the one thing that I would say at the very core is that you want to know you’re not alone.

I came across this meme on Instagram that was talking about how this person that was ADHD that she’s like, “Yep. I have a cup of coffee and then I go to sleep because caffeine relaxes me as an ADHD person.” And I think I actually commented like, “WHAT?”, in all capital letters, “It’s not just me?” Because I’ve always struggled with that. Unless I’m consuming like hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of milligrams of caffeine, way more than you should, caffeine doesn’t affect me the same way it affects a neurotypical person. And for years I just thought I was weird and I didn’t really think too much of it. But it was like, “Hey, unless I’m having like a pot of coffee, I’m not going to really necessarily feel anything.” I could probably go to sleep that’s because my brain chemistry’s different.

But that being said, that doesn’t mean that I’m the only person that has a different brain chemistry. And there’s other people out there. It’s just finding those people, finding that tribe. It still can be hard even today. But I feel like with the advents of social media and the internet, it’s definitely easier to find those groups of people. And that’s, I feel like the kind of the core of my answer is that you want to make sure that they feel that they belong and that they’re not necessarily alone in this, because that is probably, in my humble opinion, one of the most tough things to deal with is if you’re dealing with something like this and you feel like nobody understands you and nobody knows that you’re struggling because you may not want to disclose it. It can be an incredibly isolating experience.

Mike Gerholdt: So I think what I’m hearing is, as a manager, and I’ll stretch this even as a coworker, it’s more about the space and the trust to have that conversation if the person is willing.

Joe Sterne: Correct.

Mike Gerholdt: And less implying, a lot less implying. Zero, right?

Joe Sterne: Ideally, yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Making the space of, if there is something you feel the comfortable sharing with me, I am open to it. And, as a manager, then also being legitimately open to whatever that answer is.

Joe Sterne: Right. Yep. Yep. That is definitely a key part of it.

Mike Gerholdt: I would also add, as we talk through this, I’m definitely guilty of having friends, and even myself, somebody saying, “Oh, he’s very particular with this,” or “He’s very OCD with something.” That, to me now, really feels a little insensitive towards anybody that is truly neurodivergent. Am I saying that correct? Because I do feel like saying that implies like, I am very particular about things, but the level at which that exists is not the same operating chemistry as that individual.

Joe Sterne: Yeah. There’s something in the ADD and ADHD circles called rejection sensitive dysphoria. And it’s actually where, because we are so in tune with everything that’s going on and everything that’s coming our way, that we’re actually super sensitive to rejection because we feel stuff, whether it’s high or low, more than a typical neurotypical person. And that’s something that I’ve struggled with my entire life. And not to go too far down the backstory, but I come from a divorced family that did not get along and stuff like that and it was something where I was always sensitive, and I still am in the work world of rejection, to the point where somebody giving me poor feedback, even if it’s constructive, can derail my whole day.

And it’s something where it took me a very long time to realize that that’s actually just how my brain works because if I get excited, I get super excited about stuff. And that gives me a high that lasts for a while. So it’s trying to make sure that you’re understanding that I’m not going to tell people they can’t use terms, but there are certain that, that I would just say that it doesn’t present the same way in everybody. There’s variations, there’s different flavors, there’s different colors. And that, to me, is probably like the most important thing is that it’s not necessarily a cut and dry diagnosis. It’s not saying like, “Hey, you’re a diabetic because your blood sugar is 300 or something like that.”

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Joe Sterne: There’s not a test that can just output a number and say, “Hey, yes, you’re neurodivergent.” At least not yet. It’s also something that some people may not be aware of, because they’ve never experienced it. And once they do experience it, it’s like a seismic shift. So that’s something that I’ve also tried to be cognizant of because obviously, most people aren’t going around trying to offend people. Sometimes times, you may inadvertently offend somebody. But the gist of what I’m getting at is that sometimes you may want to take a pause and think about what you’re saying when it comes to stuff like this because people work differently. And if you’re neurodivergent, you have to. And sometimes the people that you work with will understand it. Sometimes the people that you work with won’t. And trying to figure out the ways that you’re most comfortable telling those people, whether they’re also neurodivergent or also neurotypical like, “Hey, this is how I’m working. Here’s some of the boundaries that I’m trying to set. Here’s the best way to contact me.”

If you actually look at my Slack profile in Salesforce, I actually have a document that says, the best ways to work with me. And it actually has bullets saying here’s some of the stuff you should know about me, here’s some of the cool things that I do. Here’s some of my interests, here’s the best ways, here’s how I work. And I have that out there just because anybody in the organization can go find that. And if they want to, they can go read it. And to me, it was a struggle to put it up initially because I didn’t know if I wanted to be that open in a workforce of 75,000 people. But then I realized that it’s going to help them as much as it helps me.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. So that is two things that I think carry over also to my team. And as we kind of wrap up here, I’ll share briefly with everyone, the first thing that you mentioned, the working with me doc, we’ve done that on the admin relations team, we all fill that out. And it’s really cool. Whenever a new team member comes on board, we all have our working with me docs in one Quip folder.

Joe Sterne: Oh, cool.

Mike Gerholdt: And we kind of schedule an hour to go through and just everybody on the team gets on a call and we all send the working with me doc to the new person. They fill it out and, and we round robin. And so everybody gets to share. And that way it’s not all eyes on the new person, because I think what’s interesting for us is, I also notice this too, as our technologies and working styles changed, I’ve had to update my working with me doc. And I had to go candidly from, “I’m never on Slack, don’t ping me there” to, “I’m not on Chatter. Only ping me on Slack.” And also, just times of day and stuff. So I think that really works.

And the other thing that I heard, it made me pull up, so we have, not to peel back the onion, I think, as you said too much, but we also have team operating agreements. And our first line of the team operating agreement is assume noble intent. I had no idea where this conversation was going to go. And Joe, you know that. We had a conversation the other day. I had no idea where this was going to be. But I feel like that’s the biggest thing that I’ve learned. And I wasn’t anticipating learning that on today’s conversation, but it reinforces the fact that I think if everybody just takes a step and assumes that whomever they’re talking with or whomever they’re sharing with, that it’s with noble intent and compassion, is actually our full statement. That changes the temperature and the tone at which everything operates.

And so to that point, I don’t think people say that with negativity. I do, as you’ll hear on next week’s podcast, work on trying to say challenge versus problem a lot more because challenges can be solved and problems feel negative. So there’s a sneak peek into next week’s episode. But I do feel like saying that, it’s not that you don’t have noble intent, it’s that you can be better at doing things and be more thoughtful. And I think that’s the point. That’s a little bit of my intention.

Joe Sterne: I would absolutely agree with that.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, this was fun. I thought we were going to sit down and talk about shiny things, and we kind of did.

Joe Sterne: And in true ADHD fashion, completely went off on a tangent. So welcome to the neurodivergent lifestyle.

Mike Gerholdt: It’s also, I hope, given a new perspective to people who perhaps have a coworker that they’re like, “Oh, I’m so frustrated with Joe. He never gets stuff sent in on time.” Well maybe, let’s dial that back. Right? And the other point too, is I really hope that somebody now hears this, and Joe, I’ll put your Twitter in the show notes, but also feels comfortable having that conversation with their manager or a coworker and saying, “Hey, I’m struggling because of this.” And hopefully, they get some of that pressure released from them to be successful.

Joe Sterne: Absolutely.

Mike Gerholdt: Because I feel it’s giving them space to succeed that is not currently there.

Joe Sterne: Can’t agree more.

Mike Gerholdt: And I’d love to hear from people on Twitter. I really thank you, Joe, for being on the podcast. I want to have more conversations like this as the podcast continues to grow and really understand more perspectives. That’s one of the things that we literally talk about in our Salesforce admin habits, is sitting down with users and understanding their perspective. And I think going to farther perspectives than we’ve reached in the past is very important.

Joe Sterne: Absolutely. Yeah. And I’m happy to come back if you’d like, so let me know. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure. Well, thank you Joe for being on the pod.

Joe Sterne: Thank you.

Mike Gerholdt: I want to thank Joe for coming on the podcast. I enjoyed our conversation. If you like conversations like this, I would love to do more podcasts, explore topics like this and truly try to bring awareness and understanding of all of our awesome admins everywhere. And we’ll still talk product too, but I thought this was a fun way to get to know Joe, and we can always have him back on the podcast. I promise he’s coming up with a ton of great solutions too.

If you want to learn more about all things Salesforce Admin, go to to find more resources. Of course, holidays are just around the core and some podcast swag from the Trailhead store would sure be nice. So I’ve included the link to some of that cool swag in the show notes, you can stay up to date with us on social. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter. Of course, you can follow my co-host who is on leave, Gillian K. Bruce, @gilliankbruce. I am @MikeGerholdt on Twitter. And our guest today, Joe Sterne, is @MrJoeSterne on Twitter. Of course, all those links are in the show notes as well. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome and stay tuned for the next episode. We’ll see you in the cloud.

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