The Salesforce vision is the 360 view that you, as an Awesome Admin, want to bring to your executive team and stakeholders, to get them to buy in, and more importantly, to get them to be enthusiastic champions of the art of the possible with your Salesforce instance.
Straight from the TrailheaDX 2019 stage, here are the ways that you – the Awesome Admin who is the number one expert on your Salesforce org – can use to build, shape, and deliver on your amazing Salesforce vision.
Build the Vision
Let’s start by talking about what we are trying to do in an organization. In order to build the vision for Salesforce at your company, you, the empowered Awesome Admin, need to first change hearts and minds. A lot of people talk about change management, and when you’re the one driving the change it can really feel like you’re the one that has to act like the Wizard behind that long green curtain in your own personal Oz! Change Management, however, really doesn’t have to be that challenging. In fact, to build the vision there are just three primary concepts.
In the Change Management theory (Lewin, 1967) is a proactive process that drives change in an organization by using three steps: Unfreeze, Change, Refreeze.
Unfreeze: Here, you’ll help to build the Salesforce vision by unfreezing old patterns and increasing driving forces to help reduce the dependencies on “the way it’s always been done.” Ways to drive pattern removal that you can apply in your company are to interview executives and key stakeholders to understand exactly what it is that they’d love to see Salesforce do for the organization. You’ll be able to use their verbiage and outputs in the next steps.
Change: Next, you’ll drive change of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors currently present in the organization—sometimes even creating ideas where none existed! Drive change with “the art of the possible” by identifying and demonstrating the Salesforce platform capabilities that really speak to the requirements and desires outlined by executives and stakeholders in the Unfreeze stage.
Refreeze: Habits that really stick are formed by repetitive action. You will establish new standards, demonstrate those standards, and orient all users to the new Salesforce vision with delivery in multiple modalities.
Shape the Environment
Your Salesforce environment is going to be as unique and custom as your company is. The environment is both physical and virtual, and takes into account everyone and everything that is plugged into your Salesforce atmosphere. This includes the physical locations, the virtual locations, the users, the administrators, the executives, the stakeholders, the budget holders, connected apps, unidirectional feedback loops, bidirectional synch, etc. Look at your Salesforce environment as a human body with loads of moving pieces and parts. To shape the environment, first evaluate the environment: what is the current state of the Salesforce vision in your company? Understanding the current state will help you to communicate and teach the vision so that what you’ve built will stick. The best leaders—whether of teams or initiatives—must clearly communicate the vision to help close the gap from where your organization is now to where it can be.
Communicate the Vision: Use all of your methods to communicate the vision of how Salesforce can be your company’s central source of truth. Email, text, Chatter, team meetings, town halls, leadership retreats, carrier pigeons. Offer to have “walking meetings” with executives to see what challenges they’re having and let them know what capabilities Salesforce offers and how those things can help.
Teach the Vision: Join team meetings to find ways to replace non-collaborative methods with Salesforce (i.e. using Excel for tracking). Host “Office Hours” where users can come to you with current challenges. Show and tell where your company is currently on the platform compared to where it could be. One way is to show which products you’re using versus the ones that would work great in your company. The instruction never ends, either! The vision should be communicated and taught frequently.
Deliver the Results
The best programs begin with the end in mind: what Salesforce vision are you driving towards, dear Admin? (Hint: if someone in your company can do their job without Salesforce, the vision is not big enough!)
Determining what results and outcomes are measurable allows Admins to design reports that will capture the metrics and KPIs that are most important.
Take an Orientation of Power and Influence: No one knows Salesforce better than you in your company. You’re the expert! Leadership has been defined as “a one-way approach whose purpose was getting others within the organization to conform to or comply with the leader’s directives by using various sources of social power” (Lees, Smith, & Stockhouse, 1994). In this case, you carry the Salesforce social currency. Make sure you benchmark the attitudes and adoption prior to launching your vision project. This will help you to measure your delivery and results. For instance, ensure your daily dealings involve and include user adoption messaging. Continue to deliver items of interest to executives through show and tell, sharing videos, and forwarding use cases that demonstrate how business challenges can be solved by Salesforce.
Deliver on a Behavioral Approach: Your vision is the stimuli, and how you deliver and teach it will impact observable behavior or the response. Gauge and measure the response to continue to deliver what your stakeholders need to buy in. With practice, you’ll measure against past results, and promote them. Share about results in team meetings, present them in your annual review, and overall remember to take credit for the amazing work that you have done to Build, Shape, and Deliver your new Salesforce vision.
So, now it’s time to start. You’re an empowered Awesome Admin, ready to build the vision, shape the environment, and deliver the results of what your Salesforce platform can truly bring to your organization. Give yourself a timeline: one week for each component, and get started now. In three weeks, you’ll start to see new patterns emerge, an environment starting to match your vision, and outcomes to match your vision. It’s a continuous improvement process, so stay the course, and be prepared to show your company what an Awesome Admin truly looks like!