My StrengthsFinder 2.0 Results

Do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?

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At my organization’s last annual company meeting, the human resources manager gave each employee a copy of StrenghtsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath, whose inside cover asks “Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?” [emphasis theirs].  As I took the 30-minute assessment, I found myself thinking “How the heck does my answer to this question explain anything?”  Yet here are my top five talent themes identified by the Clifton StrengthFinder 2.0 assessment test: Input, Learner, Ideation, Communication, and Significance.

  • Input – People who are especially talented in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.
  • Learner – People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.
  • Ideation – People who are especially talented in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.
  • Communication – People who are especially talented in the Communication theme generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words. They are good conversationalists and presenters.
  • Significance – People who are especially talented in the Significance theme want to be very important in the eyes of others. They are independent and want to be recognized.

Those descriptions are standard, meaning that anyone else who takes the assessment sees the same descriptions that I did.  However, the assessment also offers personalized recommendations based on analyzing the responses of thousands of other people who have taken the assessment.  There are also 10-step action plans for each theme.  Here are some highlights from my action plans – emphasis is mine.

From Input:

Look for jobs in which you are charged with acquiring new information each day, such as teaching, research, or journalism.

From Learner

As far as possible, shift your career toward a field with constantly changing technologies or regulations. You will be energized by the challenge of keeping up.

From Ideation

Seek a career in which you will be given credit for and paid for your ideas, such as marketing, advertising, journalism, design, or new product development.

From Communication

You will always do well in roles that require you to capture people’s attention. Think about a career in teaching, sales, marketing, ministry, or the media. Your Communication talents are likely to flourish in these areas… If you enjoy writing, consider publishing your work. If you enjoy public speaking, make a presentation at a professional meeting or convention. In either case, your Communication talents will serve to assist you in finding just the right way to frame your ideas and state your purpose. You delight in sharing your thoughts with others, so find the medium that best fits your voice and message… Volunteer for opportunities to present. You can become known as someone who helps people express their thoughts and ambitions in a captivating way.

From Significance

Choose jobs or positions in which you can determine your own tasks and actions. You will enjoy the exposure that comes with independence.

I’ve never taken the Myers-Briggs assessment but did take the DISC assessment many years ago.  Honestly, I did not expect this much alignment between my career and the five talent themes identified by StrengthsFinder 2.0.

I’m grateful for how my career has developed, thankful for the friends I’ve made on the journey, and am looking forward to the future, focusing even more intensely on these strengths.

Achiever, Activator, Adaptability, Analytical, Arranger, Belief, Command, Communication, Competition, Connectedness, Consistency, Context, Deliberative, Developer, Discipline, Empathy, Focus, Futuristic, Harmony, Ideation, Includer, Individualization, Input, Intellection, Learner, Maximizer, Positivity, Relator, Responsibility, Restorative, Self-Assurance, Significance, Strategic, and Woo.  Which five talent themes best describe you?  I hope the StrenthsFinder 2.0 book gives clarity to your career path.

My ASUG News Interview

In October 2011, Jay Riddle and I discussed SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 with Thomas Wailgum of ASUG News.

Jay Riddle and Dallas Marks were guests of ASUG TV at the ASUG SAP BusinessObjects User Conference at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin resort. Here’s a recording of our interview with Thomas Wailgum, discussing the adoption of SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0.

The conference was held in October 2011, just a few weeks after the general availability of BI 4.0.

Follow Jay Riddle on LinkedIn

Follow Thomas Wailgum on LinkedIn

Learn more about my ASUG SBOUC 2011 conference presentation, Delivering Secure and Personalized Business Intelligence, using SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 and the Information Design Tool.

2011 Year In Review

A personal reflection on the past year.

2011 was a year of transition, as I moved to Kalvin Consulting in an attempt to decrease the amount of time on the road and increase the amount of time spent at home with my family.  Less travel is bittersweet – it means lower status at airlines and hotels.  And fewer points to spend on personal travel.

2011 is the year that I was able to spend more time attending ASUG chapter meetings in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.  I was even asked to present a couple of times.

2011 is also the year I transitioned from full-time consulting to just part-time as Kalvin’s first Manager of Pre-Sales and Training.  Here are the exotic destinations from this year:

  • Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Chicago, Illinois (Chicago BusinessObjects User Group, aka CHIBOUG & SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 training)
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Dearborn, Michigan
  • Houma, Louisiana
  • Huntsville, Alabama
  • Madisonville, Kentucky
  • Moline, Illinois
  • New York, New York
  • Orlando, Florida (ASUG/Sapphire 2011 and SBOUC)
  • Savannah, Georgia (SAP Partner Summit)
  • St. Louis, Missouri

2011 was my busiest year ever for public speaking.

ASUG Ohio Chapter Meeting
Cleveland, Ohio
April 29, 2011
SAP BusinessObjects Explorer: What IT Needs to Know  

ASUG Kentucky Chapter Meeting
Northern Kentucky University
Highland Heights, Kentucky
June 24, 2011

St. Louis BusinessObjects User Group
St. Louis, Missouri
Thursday, July 14, 2011
SAP BusinessObjects Explorer: What IT Needs to Know

St. Louis SAP Inside Track
St. Louis, Missouri
Friday, July 15, 2011
SAP BusinessObjects CMC Security Essentials

ASUG SAP BusinessObjects User Conference
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort
Orlando, Florida
October 9-12, 2011
Delivering Secure and Personalized Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence Summit for Higher Education
Northern Kentucky University
Highland Heights, Kentucky
November 9-10, 2011
SAP BusinessObjects Explorer 4.0: What IT Needs to Know
SAP BusinessObjects Security Essentials

Chicago BusinessObjects User Group
Chicago, Illinois
November 18, 2011
Delivering Secure and Personalized Business Intelligence

I’d like to thank everyone that invited me to speak or help with their business intelligence strategy this year.  I’m looking forward to a busy and exciting 2012 as the adoption for SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 continues to grow.

You Can’t Get There Alone – The Power of Partners

Before there was an SAP Mentor program, Jeff was a true BusinessObjects mentor.

It happened yesterday without warning. I was coming out of the ASUG/SAPPHIRE lunch area at the Orange County Convention Center and ran into a familiar face. It was Jeff. Over eight years ago, Jeff was my manager and mentor at a midwest IT consulting firm who introduced me to BusinessObjects (version 5.1). Today he is a sales rep for SAP and I am a senior consultant and trainer at an SAP partner. I was surprised by the emotions that get stirred up when I see Jeff. Neither he or I realized it at the time, but Jeff (and another coworker Tom) would start me on a journey that totally changed my professional career. And I’m profoundly grateful for the patient help he gave me during my first BusinessObjects consulting engagements.

In his SAPPHIRE keynote on Monday afternoon, Michael Eisner spoke passionately about the partnerships that helped propel his career.  In his life, and in the examples from his book Working Together: Why Great Partnerships Succeed, the “number 2” in the partnership often doesn’t get the attention of the “number 1”.  But the “number 1” would have never reached the same level of success without them.

I’ve been really lucky with my partnerships. First with Jeff and Tom. Then later at Integra Solutions (now Quorum Business Solutions) with Alan Mayer and Dave Rathbun. And now friends like Eric, Jamie and Greg from the Diversified Semantic Layer. Just to name the more visible ones. There are many more.

We’ve all learned a lot this week at the ASUG Annual Conference and SAP SAPPHIRE NOW. Many times, only a select few on a project team get to attend these events. And many times, our coworkers return from these events and never really bring much knowledge back into the organization. But I’m challenging this year’s conference attendees – go back to your organization and make a deliberate effort to share what you’ve learned. Call a quick team meeting. Plan a team lunch. Find a way to share what you’ve learned. Ask your team members what is needed to bring positive change. Then listen. Jim Hagemann Snabe spoke yesterday of “people-centric collaboration”. It takes more than software to achieve this – we have to be willing to share. Just like Jeff unknowingly did eight years ago, you may be making a profound impact in the lives of your coworkers.

Dallas Marks joins Kalvin Consulting

I have joined Kalvin Consulting as a senior architect and trainer.

Today, I am pleased to announce that I have joined Kalvin Consulting as a senior architect and trainer. Kalvin Consulting is a business intelligence consultancy and SAP services partner headquartered in Mason, Ohio, just north of Cincinnati. The company was formed in 2007 by Thiag Loganathan, who worked in the professional services organization for then-independent Business Objects.

Kalvin Consulting helps organizations throughout North America succeed with business intelligence. I’m glad to be part of the team. As a part of Kalvin Consulting, I’ll be able to continue being passionate about business intelligence and business analytics while spending more time with my growing family.

2010 Year In Review

A personal reflection on the past year.

2010 was a busy year of SAP BusinessObjects migrations, ridding the world of BusinessObjects 5.1 one site at a time.  I also got to do a few health checks, helping customers adopt SAP BusinessObjects XI 3.1 and make their business intelligence strategy more effective.  2011 is shaping up to be an exciting year with the release of SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0.

Many thanks to the new customers that I met in 2010!  It was a pleasure to work with all of you.

By the numbers:
Delta Medallion Segments: 100 (Platinum)
Delta Medallion Qualification Miles: 73,927

Nights at Holiday Inn Hotels: 39 (Platinum)
Nights at Hilton Hotels: 71 (Diamond)
Nights at Marriott Hotels: 58 (Gold)
Nights at Starwood Hotels: 5
Total nights spent in a hotel: 173

Cities Visited:

  • Bismarck, North Dakota
  • Cleveland, Ohio (ASUG Chapter Meeting)
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Concord, New Hampshire
  • Erlanger, Kentucky (NKU Business Intelligence Summit for Higher Education)
  • Houma, Louisiana
  • Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Lee’s Summit (Kansas City), Missouri
  • Madisonville, Kentucky
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Moline, Illinois
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Orlando, Florida (ASUG/SAPPHIRE NOW and SAP BusinessObjects User Conference)
  • Pinehurst, North Carolina
  • Vincennes, Indiana
  • Winchester, Virginia

Thrilled To Be On the Team

Quorum Business Solutions, my employer, was recently selected as the SAP BusinessObjects Authorized Education Services Partner of the Year for 2009. This award recognizes the partner that:

  • Delivered the most onsite and public education services revenue
  • Executed excellent class participation rates
  • Consistently achieved top customer satisfaction ratings

Quorum was recognized for being an exemplary Trusted Advisor through its commitment in educating customers on Business Intelligence and providing a solution that is best for the customer.

I’m really thrilled to be part of a great education team and am lucky to have Deanna Glinka, Penny Brewer, Gary Kuertzel, and Pam Johnson as both co-workers and friends.  Great job, team!  And here’s to an even better 2010!

2009 Year in Review

A personal reflection on the past year.

2009 has been another interesting year as a business intelligence consultant. The year was fairly balanced between XI R2 and XI 3.0/3.1. Definitely more XI R2 than I would prefer, but I also got to work on a really interesting Xcelsius 2008 dashboard project. I was also able to help several customers with installation, configuration, sizing and security issues, gained some Edge Series and Linux experience, and dusted off my XI R2 migration knowledge.

Regarding certifications, SAP rolled out their new Web Intelligence certification, 2 exams that I passed in March 2009.  In October, I selected to give three breakouts at the SAP BusinessObjects User Conference in Dallas, Texas.  This is the time of year to reflect backwards and set goals forwards for the coming year. The next release of SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise won’t arrive until Q4-2010 at the earliest, so I expect 2010 to be mostly about BOE 3.x.

This year, I achieved Gold Medallion status with Delta, Silver with Marriott, Platinum with Priority Club (mostly Holiday Inn Express) and Diamond with Hilton (mostly Hampton Inn).

Here are the exotic destinations I visited this year.

  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Columbia, Maryland
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Houston, Texas
  • Lufkin, Texas
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Moline, Illinois
  • Montgomery, Alabama
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Valdosta, Georgia
  • Waterloo, Iowa
  • Westminster, Maryland
  • Wilmington, North Carolina

Thanks to all of the customers that I met for the first time in 2009.  Here’s to a great 2010!

Getting ORGanized

Moving my blog from Google to Wordpress

Welcome to my newly relocated blog! All of the articles and comments from my old Google Blogger site have been relocated here and the old blog will remain up until Google and other search engines are able to find this one. Remember that this blog is for informational purposes.  Due to time constraints I am unable to personally offer technical support, although your (moderated) comments are always welcome on my postings. For technical support issues, continue to use the SAP Support Portal or search the BusinessObjects Board (BOB).

Six Years of Business Intelligence

Looking back at six years of SAP BusinessObjects.

Today, February 10, is my six-year anniversary as a business intelligence (BI) professional. With many years of C++, Oracle, and web development under my belt, in 2003 I began a journey in BI that started with “classic” Business Objects version 5. Today, I’m a BusinessObjects Certified Professional, trainer, and conference speaker who is- this week- teaching a Web Intelligence XI 3.0 class for a managed health care provider. It’s great fun being on the front line of helping people use BI to solve business problems, and much more people-oriented than sitting in a cubicle writing code, which is a plus for me. So to all of my clients and co-workers, thanks for the past six years and here’s looking to the future! There’s still a lot more to learn and do.