The Not So Saasy5 – Choosing Diversity

Okay, so Saasy5 is all about 5 things Salesforce each week.  Well, this week I’m struck by one thing, one huge thing.  I’m shocked by the inequality in my community and my privileged perspective on a daily basis.  The other day something hit me and I just can’t think about 5 things specifically about Salesforce.

So here’s what happened the other day:

While sitting at an airport Chili’s getting a snack before my flight, I see a group of about five African-American men heading out for a bachelor trip sitting across the bar.  They’re all laughing and having fun with the customers around them about their celebratory trip to Vegas.  The scene actually made me smile for a second because of the “diversity” of it all; their server was Hispanic, there was a white couple on one side of the group and an Asian businessman on the other.  Everyone seemed to really be enjoying this moment.  Then the white couple purchased the group a round of beers to celebrate the groom and a few minutes later she pulled a cellphone with a confederate flag phone case out of her purse. My mind twisted and my heart sunk because I didn’t understand.  How could the same woman give the same group such a kind gift and then display such a symbol of hate toward them?

I like to say I believe in diversity and inclusion but the truth is I rarely put myself in a position to stand up for that belief.  I am actively working on that though, I’ve joined the Slalom Houston D&I team to learn more.  I’m finding that more often I’m putting myself in diverse groups of people with different backgrounds and beliefs.  I think to really understand another person’s perspective we have to put ourselves near them.  We have to try to see the world through their eyes with their perspective.  I think that’s how we bridge the gaps between our differences.  I’m thankful for my friends (mostly in the Salesforce community) whom I trust to ask the awkward questions about the parts of all of this that I just don’t understand.  By understanding where those that are different from me are coming from and allowing that new knowledge to influence my daily life, my mindset changes.  The way I approach things changes.

I’ve always done good things for the community around me; helped at homeless shelters and built houses on summer mission service trips in high school (if you need a new roof, I’m your girl) but that’s different from actively seeking diversity in my daily life.  One is helping those in need who often look different than me and the other is actively seeking those who are different than me and exposing myself to their perspective of the world.

There’s something not so unique about me; I’m a smart brunette female who’s worked hard in school and her career to get where she is.  I’m a little preppy and like to route for my college sports teams (Go Jackets!!).  I’m a stereotype.  I hate that because in as many ways as I’m the stereotype I am NOT the stereotype.  No one expects that I can do the things I can do with technology.  No one expects that I am actively working on myself in the ways that I am.  No one expects that I struggle with something inside me that wants to be the housewife who cooks dinner every night in a beautifully kept home while balancing the overwhelming desire to have an extraordinary and impactful career. No one expects that of me but no one holds me back either.  No one holds me back, that’s the difference.

I cannot imagine what it feels like to drink a beer given to me by a person who is blatantly displaying a symbol of hate towards me.  A symbol that is a reminder of a time in history where my stereotype was accepted as less than the rest of the community around me.  It’s probably something like drinking a beer bought by a guy wearing a shirt that says “Women belong in the kitchen” or “Women can’t code”, only far worse I imagine.

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I would love your help building out resources on the Saasy5 Pinterest board.  Here is what I’ve got so far.  What resources do you recommend for those wanting to learn more about Diversity and Inclusion?

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Helping Customers Succeed

So here we are in our last week of the Saasy5 Favorite Things series (it’s okay to feel sad).  Along the way, people have asked me what is it about working with Salesforce that I find fulfilling?  And, thankfully that’s an easy question for me to answer.  For me, knowing that I can help my customers solve business problems with Salesforce and help people understand their businesses, customers, and employees in a new or better way is incredibly fulfilling.  Here are some of the things that go into making those relationships and projects successful.

#1 Ask Questions

Weather you’re part of a company’s internal Salesforce team or a consultant a company has hired it is critical to understand the business need and why it is important before starting to work.  By asking questions that start with “why” or “how” we’re able to dig deeper into a problem and work towards the best solution.  I was on a project once where the client asked that I build them a section on the Contact Layout of about 10 besides this being bad practice I realized I needed to understand what these checkboxes would be used for first.  When I started asking “How will you use these checkboxes?” and “Why do you think checkboxes are the best way to go?”  I realized they really just wanted a way to categorize the Contacts and create lists or reports on those categories.  We created a picklist that consolidated the checkboxes to one field and meet all of their reporting needs.  

#2 Stay focused on the goal

Once I’ve met with clients or internal employees and we’ve agreed on a goal or set of deliverables for the project, it’s important to stay focused on that goal and not get distracted by all the cool things Salesforce can do for us.  It’s easy to get off track here and lose sight of what’s important to the success of the project.  By staying goal focused we’re able to make sure a client achieves the results they are looking for which results in a happy customer.

#3 Metrics and Dashboards

Without effective metrics and dashboards it’s difficult to prove the impact and effectiveness of a project.  Building useful dashboards is great but dashboards become most impactful when they change the way management and their teams view their organization by giving access to information that wasn’t available to them before.  To achieve that it’s important that we design Salesforce with metrics in mind.

#4 Process Automation

Process automation is really about the success of the end user.  It ensures data quality and makes a user’s day easier because they no longer have to think about repetitive tasks, the system can do this for them.  This increases user acceptance and makes change management easier since the user has less to remember to do during their already busy day.

#5 Relationships

I am a huge believer in the power of a relationship.  Without the relationships I’ve built with clients and colleagues I would not be where I am today doing what I love.  It has always been important to me to build connectections with clients that are strong and trusting with clients and co-workers.

While these ideas are not specific to Salesforce they do allow me to have successful projects and relationships with my clients.  That success causes me to be fulfilled and find so much enjoyment in my career.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here, the most fulfilling and exciting thing for me is to see the excitement on someone’s face when something is made possible in Salesforce that wasn’t possible before.  That moment could be the result of anything from a key metric that could never be measured to a System Admin learning how to use a new piece of Salesforce or a user realizing that a set of tasks that used to take them an hour now takes 5 minutes.  In my opinion that is what makes Salesforce work fun! Check out the Saasy5 Pinterest board for more information.

Visit Saasy5 on Pinterest, each week I’ll have a board with pins to the resources I used to write the blog.  Here’s this week’s board. Since the Salesforce world is HUGE let me know if I missed something that should have been pinned and I’d be happy to pin it.