As artists, entertainers, and entrepreneurs we are here to celebrate learning and growth.
– Matt Walsh
I’ve often referred to South by Southwest (SXSW) as “Nerd Spring Break”- a chance to be overwhelmed with new ideas and technology. As a Salesforce Admin I want to be ahead of the curve- the one who is suggesting the new ideas and pushing the limit. And like Dreamforce I see SXSW as a chance to grow my personal skills as well as my professional skills. So to answer the question what I learned at SXSW this year and how it applies to role of Salesforce Admin, I’ve broken it down into 2 major themes.
Dealing with Negativity and Problems
As a Salesforce Admin we deal with negativity and problems everyday. Heck, we even have our own hashtag for it! From adoption to working through a change in business process- learning how to deal with Negativity and Problems will be one way you can differentiate yourself and command a seat at the table. So as an Admin how do we deal with Negativity and Problems?
Change your focus
Whatever we put our attention on gets bigger- problems or solutions. If we focus on one problem or one solution we don’t see the whole picture. Step back! Let’s say you are working on increasing your Salesforce Adoption numbers, it’s easy to focus on what people AREN’T doing rather than what they ARE doing. Try focusing on the positive and seek solutions down that avenue.
Well that sounds all very Pollyanna, but Mike I’m just not that creative! Ok, fair enough. Let’s try this exercise- to get creative juices flowing I want you to think of 7 things based on a topic. There are no wrong answers and you only have 15 seconds to name all 7.
The topic is “Things you would find an in airport bathroom”. Ready? GO!
Shoes, passport, a blind dog, a cement mixer, a pine cone, my best friend, a purple dinosaur
Those were my 7. What did you think of?
The Negativity Bias
Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote started his session by giving us an overview of the negativity bias. Look it up, it’s a fascinating concept. In a nutshell the negativity bias- we sound smarter when we criticize something. It’s in our nature to compare bad to bad, to criticize rather than praise. So in your next meeting I want you to point out all the good things about another coworkers idea rather than the bad. This will take practice as it’s a muscle we don’t exercise enough. But as an Admin this will help you take the discussion down a positive route and the same general themes will emerge.
Don’t think of all the bad things that can happen by doing something. Instead say “But what if we roll this out and it’s amazing! How much more productive will we be?”
Everything is a platform
Last year Ford (the automaker) hosted a hackathon because as they put it “we won’t be in business for another 100 years by making cars.” To them, cars are plaforms now. This year the theme grew- everything is a platform, everything can be connected.
More than robots and bananas
I remember first seeing Reid Carlberg’s IoT zone at Dreamforce with robots and bananas connected to Salesforce and thought “well, that’s cool for the coders. But not me.” It only took a year for me to realize that the tools are out there for Admins to connect anything! I spoke with the inventor of Seesaw, it’s an interactive info object. It’s a gorgeous object that sits in your living room, is connected via an API to something and changes color and form based on information feed to it. WOW! Imagine having a dinner party and rather than looking at your phone to get a notification you look at a beautiful piece of art.
So plants are getting watered, cars are transmitting data, and all this sounds cool- but where does it leave you, the Admin? It means you need to drive discussions to ensure business processes are being streamlined. If I can track my Amazon package from when I order it, to when it’s delivered to my front door- why haven’t you made sure that every contract is tracked in your organization? Why are sales people still struggling to find content they need to close a deal when Sales Path could offer that assistance?
As Admins we can work across our organizations to seek out those inefficiencies and prepare our organization to focus on making better strategic decisions. What we pay attention to gets bigger, so let’s pay attention to the opportunities Admins have in front of us. Then in September we can all take a step back and celebrate our successes.