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.