Admins / Career

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Admins

By Bart Lont

Many of you would have heard about the management book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’? Although Stephen Covey’s bestseller is over 30 years old, the principles are still valid. Which made me wonder: ‘what if we replace ‘people’ with ‘Salesforce Admins’?’ Would the principles still be applicable, and in what way?

The first three habits help to achieve independence, the next three to achieve interdependence, and the final habit to maintain these achievements. Let’s have a look!

1. Be Proactive

As an Admin, don’t wait until someone messes up Salesforce. Don’t wait until the management asks you to implement new features.

Being proactive, means you are constantly monitoring what is going on in your Org. Have a look at logins, resource usage, audit trails and debug logs. It gives you the opportunity to respond timely to issues that might occur in the future.

Talk to employees and managers in your company. If you know where the company is heading and if you taste the sentiment around Salesforce, that is valuable input for decisions you take today.

2. Begin With the End in Mind

As an Admin, you should be a visionary, not a follower.

‘Put a button here’, ‘build an automation there’, you know these day-to-day requests you get. Think twice! You can be the king of the day, but might end up with an Org that is out of control.

Every change should be prepared carefully. Stay true to your cycle of planning, development and deployment. Always keep the bigger picture in mind: will the change be beneficial in the long run for the platform, our users and our company?

3. First Things First

You can easily get overwhelmed by all kinds of requests coming to you. For your own sanity you need to track issues and requests in a backlog.

Prioritize them on the following aspects: Importance and Urgency. Is it important and urgent? If so, put it high in the list, then work your way down.

4. Think Win-win

This is my favourite insight. When someone comes up with a solution, there might be a downside to it, so it is your job to assess all aspects and pursue a win-win situation.

For example, a CEO wants to store all company documents in Salesforce. The outcome might be that storage costs get out of hand and users get frustrated because they can’t work with documents in an easy way anymore. In this case, an integration between Salesforce and a document management system would have been a win-win choice.

5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

Being a Salesforce specialist can both be an asset and a pitfall. When talking to users you can easily be biased by your knowledge. Don’t judge too quickly!

End users know best what works for them and what can be improved. Talk to them with an open mind. Try to understand how they feel and how you can be of help. Even if you think a request is impossible to achieve, consider that it might be due to your own limitations, not a platform limitation.

6. Synergize!

Bono sang: ‘Sometimes you can’t make it on your own’. Even if you deepen your Salesforce knowledge, it is valuable to surround yourself with peer experts to evaluate all possible options for a certain case. The platform is too big to know everything. Being part of a team increases your performance as an Admin.

Also, don’t think of ‘team’ as a static group of people. Based on the use case it can either be a User Group, WhatsApp group, a Salesforce Saturday or your Account Executive at Salesforce. Sharing knowledge is one of the key success factors in the Salesforce ecosystem.

7. Sharpen the Saw – Growth

The Salesforce platform is evolving. Urge yourself to keep learning.

Do Trailheads and get certified. Invest time to meet with peer Admins. And last but not least: keep a healthy work-life balance. Pay attention to physical, mental and spiritual renewal. Giving back to society is an essential part of that.

To Wrap It All Up

The seven habits in this management book seem to be very useful for Admins as well. So, stop being ‘just the Admin’, but become a highly effective Admin from now on!

The Author

Bart Lont

Bart has been a Salesforce enthusiast since 2018 and is currently working as an admin for a Dutch non-profit organization.

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