The Power of Community
The Salesforce community is definitely thriving and growing. Of all the various parts of the Salesforce ecosystem, from Blogs to Certification Study Groups, from Ideas to Podcasts, Stack Exchange to success.salesforce.com, Twitter to User Groups, there’s a myriad of ways to participate. More than that, there’s so many ways to show leadership of many kinds. Here are a few examples of leadership in a few of these various channels, and hopefully you will find your path for community leadership as well.
A couple things that Arkus does for the community and does very well, is the chock-full-of-good-stuff CloudFocus Weekly podcast, led by Jason Atwood and Justin Edelstein, and the consistent and valuable content in the blog posts. However, I firmly hold as one of the most powerful for the community the participation in the IdeaExchange. As a core tenant of employee participation at Arkus, it helps to develop this product we all love, Salesforce.
We all come across things that don’t seem intuitive or actually throw barriers to the work we do on the platform. How powerful is it to actually take that “What if…” and turn it into an idea on the IdeaExchange, when someone might just return to their busy day? Then, the idea is something tangible that the community can vote on, showing support of the idea, and ultimately the Salesforce Product Managers can add to their roadmap for the feature in question.
Dreamin in the Midwest & Girly Geeks
Last summer, I attended Midwest Dreamin, a regional community-led Salesforce conference. In itself, it is a great example of leadership in our ecosystem. However, the highlight of the whole day-long event was certainly the informal Girly Geek’s lunch. Planned by Jocelyn Fennewald of Chicago Girly Geeks via a shout out to the Girly Geek’s Community group, we grabbed our lunches and headed outside. While the regional event itself bubbled and hummed, the Girly Geeks that attended the conference sat around a picnic table and shared stories, laughed and encouraged each other. Nearly everyone was a part of a Chapter group of Girly Geeks, something that originally started as a wine-night at Dreamforce 2010.
Over the course of the hour, you could see several examples of leadership & community. When discussing certifications, over half the table claimed nerves and the other half told their stories of successful certification. It was truly inspiring to see women in Salesforce supporting other women in Salesforce. This type of thing happens all the time at Salesforce user group meetings, whether Developer, Standard, Nonprofit or Girly. They are all over the world and one of the best things about this collaborative environment.
Also, Jocelyn is showing more impressive leadership by arranging a regional conference call, coming up in March, for Girly Geeks in the Midwest. A mini-conference of sorts itself, she is coordinating inspiring content for her local community for a group of women in local Girly Geeks Chapters. That kind of initiative and drive is some of what makes this community great! By the way, the channel of the community we now call Girly Geeks Chapters was only recently added to the official set of Salesforce User Groups.
Go Farther and Faster
I have no doubt that the Salesforce Community helps users. For example, an administrator finds a simple AppExchange app that can solve a problem elegantly, and when it is provided for free, it can make someone’s day. Or the power of a small push of encouragement from one old-timer user to a newbie, this ecosystem provides so many so much value and examples of leadership.
In addition to users and administrators getting their problems solved, it can help careers. I’ve seen folks go from basic users or junior administrators become high-powered influencers because of their community. Even better, mild-mannered admins becoming rock-star-status, “Can I take a picture with you” MVPs for their contributions in their community channel of choice.
Ultimately, leadership isn’t about an award or a plaque or a title. When caught between a rock and a hard place, a leader will come forward and do the right thing and galvanize others and focus on engaging the right skills and resources for the greater good. A Community is a place of sharing as well, whether you just say something you learned recently to sharing something someone else taught you. Either way, hopefully this blog post has inspired you to become an opinion leader in your own social circle, community, or region. But, even better, I hope you find a way to talk about Salesforce and somehow make an impact.
An African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I’d say, in the Salesforce Community, you’ll go both farther & faster.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have additional points on the Salesforce Community questions on channels like the Girly Geeks Chapters, find me on Twitter @SeriouslyKyla, in the success community, or comment below!