Become Your Own Self-Innovating Hero

My daughter and I have been training for a quarter marathon at a local walking trail. Yesterday we stopped to take a break and I suggested we turn around and backtrack the way we’d come since we always go the same way.

I said, “When you look at it from another perspective – you’ll get to see something different!”

After rolling her eyes and calling me Dr. Suess, we started back up the path and did indeed notice things we hadn’t before and experienced a different workout than we would have otherwise.

It was just a small thing, but we made a change and did something in a new way; we were innovative in our approach.

When I hear the word ‘innovation‘ I usually think of it in the context of business don’t you?

According to Merriam-Webster, the terms innovate and innovation mean the following:

Innovate : to make changes : do something in a new way

Innovation the introduction of something new

We are always hearing about an innovating new product or a revolutionary innovation that will transform our customer’s experience. And hopefully we are in careers where innovation is encouraged and rewarded. Where we can be called innovators.

Now let’s think about innovating and innovation in a new way. {<—- Bonus points if you saw what I did there?}

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We do the things we do today because it works. It’s so easy to get caught up in the way we’ve always done things, or the way we were taught to do things, or the way people expect us to do things. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as long as you are content with the outcome.

But in order to get a different outcome, there has to be something different on the input. Again, we all understand this from a business sense, but think about something personal in your life where you’d like to see a different outcome.

It could be something to do with your health, or a relationship or a career goal. It could be something super simple like wanting to drink more water everyday or get up from your desk more often.

Now take that thing and examine what you might be able to do differently to get that outcome. Look at it from every angle (not just the obvious ones). If you want to exercise, there are hundreds of things you can do. Find the one small thing that works for you, with your schedule and your challenges and make a small change. Then go with that change. Commit to it. You might not see immediate results or drastic results. But you have started down the path of change which, in turn, makes future changes so much easier! Then pat yourself on the back – you’ve become an innovator of your own life!

Surround yourself with other innovators. Other people who like to see things from a different perspective. People who aren’t afraid of doing something new or differently than before. Because these people will be your cheerleaders. They’ll help you by providing a different take on things and by trying new things with you. They’ll be there when the thing you tried didn’t work out the way you’d hoped and help you figure out a new way to get to the outcome you seek.

Before long, you will see that by looking at things differently, by introducing something new or doing things a different way, you can transform as a person.

And when you apply what you’ve learned about how innovation can transform to all areas of your life, everyone around you benefits. Think about the possibilities:

Innovation can transform products.
Innovation can transform companies.
Innovation can transform industries.
Innovation can transform ideas.
Innovation can transform communities.
Innovation can transform politics.
Innovation can transform countries.
Innovation can transform relationships.
innovation can transform careers.
Innovation can transform people.

Innovation can transform YOU!

So I challenge you, today, to commit to making changes. To look at things in a new way. To introduce something new in your life.

It doesn’t have to be big or earth shattering. Small changes can lead to big things.

Think with an innovator’s mindset and become your own self-innovating hero!

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Lightning Powers Activated!

If you’ve been reading my blog posts you know about my journey launching Salesforce Lightning in our org.

Initially I was pretty resistant to switching. I knew it was going to be a lot of work. I was overwhelmed by the perceived magnitude of switching. Classic was familiar. Lighting was some new-fangled UI those darn kids liked and they needed to get off my lawn! Wait…I think I just aged myself there!

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But we went there. We hitched up our pants, set aside the fear of the unknown, researched, put together a plan and leaped into Lightning.

And that is where the fun began!

As a self-described Admineloper with no developers on my team and not a lot of budget for contract work, there have always been things our users have asked for or things we have wanted to do that just weren’t feasible.

Things like displaying a banner or pop-up at the top of a record to highlight something. Or showing a screen flow on a record when more info is needed (but only when missing info or only to subset of users). Or providing executive team leads with less clutter (ie fields and related list info) and more analytics (charts/graphs) when viewing a record.

And then there was Lightning…

If you haven’t figured out by now I am enamored with the Lightning experience and the power it has given me (as a non-developer) to provide value and efficiencies for my users and processes.

A few examples:

  • With the Rich Text Lightning Component and the ability to set the visibility of it based on a field on the record I can now display or hide a banner at the top of any record to alert my users about something. Maybe the Account is a key account or the Project is at Risk, show the component. Boom! Instant message to your users that there is something important to know.
    • Take that even further and display or hide ANY component based on something on the user record.
  • Need to gather additional info if an Opportunity is over a specific amount? Sure you can add extra fields and validation rules to make them required, but how about creating a screen flow with the required fields you need, then, again, set the visibility of the Flow Component to only show on the page when the opportunity value is over the required amount and the fields haven’t been set? The user doesn’t even have to leave the record to fill it in, saving time and keeping the rest of the opp information at their fingertips.
  • Create an Executive app where all the Lightning Record Pages are optimized for analytics. Remove or hide the details/related lists behind tabs and add report charts filtered to the Record ID to the page. Now a leader can click on an account and immediately see the pipeline for that account, the historical sales, the forecast, and whatever else they might want to see at a glance. Talk about eye-candy!

And this just scrapes the surface of what an admin can do with the Lightning Experience!

So, yes, it might be daunting to think about switching over. It will be some work, sure. But what you get out of it, for your users, for your company, for your own growth and career will be worth it all!

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Embrace & Reward Passion: Change the World

passion

Passion:  intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction

A person can have a passion for many different things; passion for the work they do, passion for a calling, passion for a person or persons. Embracing those passions means pouring your heart into them. Doing things that support your passion because of those intense convictions. Supporting people you are passionate about because of those intense convictions. Doing them regardless of what you get in return. Because just fulfilling those passions feeds those convictions.

I’m sometimes asked what it means to be a Salesforce MVP. That it’s considered a prestigious award in the Salesforce world and what did I ‘do’ to get it. What others can ‘do’ to get it.

But it is not so much an award as recognition. And, in this day (and political climate), the Salesforce MVP program is (unfortunately) an anomaly. Something out of the norm. People are recognized as Salesforce MVP’s because they have an innate passion for helping others in the Salesforce Community. They answer questions, write blog posts explaining things, teach people, give of their time and knowledge. And (here is the kicker) they do it because they have a passion for the Salesforce Community. The Ohana. They’ve learned from others and are giving back to the community that helped them by helping others. They’ve realized their passion and they feed their passion. Not because of any award, or recognition. Because of that passion that they have. By fulfilling their passion they feed their own convictions.

Salesforce as a company took note of these passionate community members and chose to acknowledge it and embrace it. They recognize the people being driven by those passions and developed a program to help them in the fulfillment of their passions. They provide opportunities to speak, resources and support for these community members who are so passionate.

If only this concept wasn’t an anomaly. If only it was the norm.

If people were supported just for doing what they are passionate about what would our world be like today? Think on that.

If our children grew up understanding that it was your passion for something that defined you. Not popularity. Not awards.

That instead the kids that are the most passionate about a subject or a sport or an extra-curricular activity were given roles as leaders.

Not because they are the smartest or strongest or most talented or most popular, but because they have an intense, driving conviction about that subject/sport/activity and poured themselves into it and as a result they were supported as leaders.

How do you think that would change the subject/sport/activity group? Do you think the other members would recognize that it was passion that mattered? Do you think that others would, in turn, develop their own passions – regardless of ability? That people without passion (regardless of their inherent talent or perceived popularity) would sink to the bottom and those with a passion would rise to the top? That kids would put more work in, more time in, and be genuinely happier because they have found and are feeding their passion?

Teaching people that by embracing their passion they can make a difference.

How would our political landscape be changed if passion were what we lifted up. What we perceived as important. What we rewarded with support?

Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, Salesforce is not the norm. Supporting people who are passionate about something is not the norm.

We regularly award people based on talent (regardless of their convictions). We regularly award people based on popularity (regardless of any drive they might have). And those are the people who end up with the support. Not the ones who do things because they love them. Not the ones who work hard every single day because of that intense, driving conviction about what they are doing.

They do it anyway. They build their own support systems. And they do it anyway.

Think about what you are passionate about.

Do you feed that passion?

Think about what your kids are passionate about?

Are you teaching them to feed those passions regardless? That by feeding those feelings and convictions they are filling their own buckets?

Are you acting as a support system for the kids that are passionate about something? Or are you supporting those that have no passion? Those that will ultimately find a different passion and move on?

Because people with passion for something are special. They do for you – just because.

What could they do for you – just because – with an extra heaping of support?

They could change the world.

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What If Lightning Won’t Strike? (I’m looking at you IE11)

So if you are rolling out Lightning, you probably know by now that using Lightning with IE11 is unsupported.

This Knowledge Article explains the change and this Help Doc tells you about the supported browsers.

If you read into the knowledge article you’ll see that you can opt-in to using Lightning with IE11, but there are some caveats – NOTE THAT DURING THE EXTENDED PERIOD SALESFORCE WILL NOT PROVIDE TECHNICAL SUPPORT FOR ISSUES RELATED TO PERFORMANCE (no-one wants performance issues, winky winky).

We’ve always encouraged our users to use browsers other than IE11 but don’t have a way of enforcing it. To add to that, our company structure is pretty complex, and the team doesn’t have the ability to work with IT to remove or block IE11, so we were faced with a conundrum – how to ensure people don’t use IE11 so we can get them into Lightning?

The first thing we tried was a login flow to check for what browser the user is logging in with – we thought we could essentially block their login at that point and show them a message to use a different browser. But while we were testing we determined that detecting the user agent (browser) was going to be difficult since the user agent values themselves are long strings of jibberish.

So we stepped back and decided to get creative.

We have one profile that we wanted to default to Lightning and not allow them to switch back to Classic. That setting works great…unless the user logs in with IE11. Here’s what we did to get these users off IE11 and into Lightning:

  • Created a Visualforce Tab Page that just tells the user they are using an unsupported browser and they need to use something other than IE11.
  • For a week, we added that component to their Classic Home page to give them a chance to switch on their own.
  • Then for that User Profile, we removed access to all Apps in Classic except for a single App. (this doesn’t affect the apps they have in Lightning)
  • On the App that we left them, we removed all the tabs and defaulted the Home Page to the new Visualforce Tab.
  • Then, just in case they had a bookmark to the home tab or in case they logged in with a link to record, we did a few more things in Classic:
    • Removed everything on their homepage sidebar so it’s blank (For this particular group of users, 90% of what they need when they login involves clicking a link on the sidebar so this was a definitely incentive!)
    • Removed the other home page components (except the VF page)

So essentially, when a user in this Profile logs in using IE11, it takes them directly to the Visualforce Tab with the page I created telling them to use a different browser. If they open the sidebar it’s blank. So they are pretty much forced to actually read the directions on the page and use a different browser.

Directions

I’m not promising they will read the directions. You’ll get tickets, and slack messages and emails asking why they aren’t seeing what they usually see.

But that’s a WHOLE other problem to solve!

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Skin in the Game

So as we’ve been telling our story about our Lightning implementation, it has become apparent that we aren’t alone in initially being scared of what seemed like a daunting task to move to Lightning.

Looking back on our prep, development and implementation I can see why we had those fears, but I can also see that most of them were due to not fully understanding some of the Lightning concepts. So it was hard to wrap our heads around them.

My fearless leader and product owner, Marshall King and I got to present our story on a recent Salesforce Admins podcast and it was clear in the questions we got after the webinar that this seemed to be a common thread.

One question we got a lot, that I wanted to see if I can help make a bit more clear, is about Lightning Record Pages. In our Webinar we indicated that we made our changes and adjustments to them in production and lots of people were shocked, or maybe surprised is a better word.Lightning Record Page

They wanted to know how we could do that in production and not effect the classic users and I think this very question points to the root of some misunderstanding.

So we all know that Page Layouts are what controls the fields displayed, the order and sections of those fields, what Related Lists show up, buttons, etc. This is true (with minor exceptions I’ll outline below) in Classic and in Lightning.

Lightning Record Pages are NOT the same thing as Page Layouts.

I repeat: Lightning Record pages are NOT the same thing as page layouts.

It took me a while to wrap my head around this but here is where I ultimately got the Ah Ha! moment:

The Lightning Record Page is a SKIN designed around the Page Layout.

  • Elements of the Page Layout (Details & Related Lists) are displayed using components you add to the Lightning Record Page
  • Those Components are like add-on features that give us more functionality to provide our users, in addition to the traditional Page Layout elements.

You could think of it like a car.

The Page Layout is the base model of the vehicle. You’ve got a general body type, you’ve got an engine that makes it run and the rest of the standard features.

The Lightning Record Page is where you get to customize the ‘Extras’ – add a Sunroof or a Navigation System.

Still the same engine and car underneath it all, but now it’s got some great new features that will make your experience driving a better one.

Or to make it super simple – it’s like the case (skin) you put on your phone. Didn’t do anything to the phone but changed the look and feel of it.

So don’t be afraid of working on those Lightning Record Pages in production in fear that your Classic Users will notice something! They will only notice if you actually drill into the Page Layout, rearrange fields, rearrange related lists or move the buttons. So stay away from that and you’ll be fine.

If your users are using mobile, there are a couple of minor things to be aware of:

  • The buttons/actions and order of those on your Lightning Record Page are the same as mobile. So if you make a change it will cascade to the mobile experience.
  • The fields showing on the Highlights Panel on a Lightning Record Page are also the same ones displayed on Mobile so if you rearrange those it will cascade to the mobile experience.

And don’t forget to create that Beta App (explained in my previous blog post) – where you can re-skin Lightning Record Pages to your hearts content and show all the awesome options to your test users and focal groups to help them visualize the possibilities!

Time to get your Skin in the Game!

Pile of hands isolated on white, Caucasian, African American, Hispanic race.

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