Today marks my 2 year anniversary at itelligence. For the past 104 weeks I have been able to (not so) expertly navigate ERP and the world, all the while, managing to cultivate lasting relationships and learning some pretty fantastic skills along the way.
At the end of our consultant training program, Propel (formerly known as TPS), each of us was charged with the task of writing a report on “What TPS Means to Me.” Low and behold, I was the only one to actually submit the requisite paper… in fact, I’m the only one in the history of the program to ever meet that deliverable. Overachiever or sucker… you decide. I’d like to share some of the words of wisdom I covered in that synopsis (a mere 10 pages, but I’ll spare you the nitty-gritty). The following is in part, serious, but also a fun-loving ode to my TPS comrades who join me in celebrating this milestone.
It began in July, our VP of Consulting was shouting something at us about “ASAP”, “FOCUS”, “CRP”… my head was spinning. I was upstream without a paddle, in a sea of acronyms. That’s the first lesson I learned in TPS: “write everything down.” Make a personal dictionary. Merriam Webster doesn’t have anything on this girl. Eventually, one stroke at a time, things started to come together. That’s the second lesson I learned in TPS: “Start big.” Don’t try to learn too much too quickly. To learn the business, you must start at the bottom of the pyramid and eventually, brick by brick, it will all start coming together.
The 3rd lesson I learned in TPS was “fake it til you make it.” You don’t have to know everything, but you always have to appear as if you do. Whoever it is, whether it be a mentor, colleague or a client, it’s imperative that the consultant is always one step ahead. That brings me to our guiding principles, how they have begun to define my career at itelligence and how they have become intrinsic to who I am. One of the most remarkable aspects of working for an organization, in which each individual has a sincere sense of proprietorship over the group effort, is that each individual grows to become part of a joint values system such as ours.
Customer Focus: Be ready to pack your bags and go! Be responsible for your own actions and deliver. Be both and honest and direct, but maintain authority.
Responsibility: Have a clear understanding of individual and team objectives.
Teamwork: Give constructive feedback. Be supportive and optimistic. Teams win and lose together.
Integrity: Celebrate others achievements. Be honest and outline deliverables and project scope up front to keep everyone on the same page.
Professionalism: Be reliable. Arrive early and be clear and concise while presenting. Communicate SAP in terms of business processes.
Innovation and life-long learning: Promote change and communicate areas for improvement. Participate in knowledge transfer.
Be a role model as a manager: Be a role model regardless of your position. Be a capable and willing confidant and coworker. Have a clear understanding of the business and how each individual contributes to its success.
In our 2nd trimester as baby consultants, we hit a little speed bump on our road to SAP Olympic Gold. TPS Lesson #4: “While ‘faking it,’ make sure you actually have some minute understanding of what in the world you’re talking about.” We’ve all heard the sayings, and actually it is true, proverbially speaking, failure is an important part of life. That doesn’t mean however, that one should not come prepared. Whether your forte is Production Planning, Finance and Controlling or Sales & Distribution it is imperative that you can speak to everything you show. Have a clear understanding of the system in terms of cross-industry business processes: forecast to stock, procure to pay and order to cash; and be able to relate those processes to industry specific solutions and best practices. Which brings me to my next point, TPS Lesson #5: “SAP Consulting has very little to do with SAP, it’s about the people.” Some people you encounter may have been in their roles for 5, 10, 15 years—they don’t give a damn what you have to say. They don’t care that you will be saving the CEO and his comrades millions of dollars a year, making their processes more efficient, yada yada yada. They just want to go to work, do their jobs, and get the hell out of there so they can go home and feed the 5-13 cats they have anxiously awaiting their return. It’s your job to make them care, which means building trusting and lasting relationships that will endure the changes and detours that an SAP implementation entails.
To sum up my time in TPS…
There are times when an opportunity comes along and you know without a shadow of a doubt that a single moment in time has changed your life forever. You feel unparalleled elation, or sometimes earth-shattering sadness, but regardless you are noticeably and irrevocably different from that moment on. The day I started at itelligence was nothing like that— Brian Merkel, Ryan Lundquist and I timidly sat side-by-side and began to tackle the unknown together. I met some other people too— they were nice enough I guess, Kent, Dave, Geoff, and Laura, but how was I supposed to know that within that group I had come to meet 12 individuals would serve me unequivocally as role models over the course of the next 6 months. I am very appreciative of the opportunity itelligence has given me, and I hope to continue to build upon this foundation in order to grow skill sets, both technically and personally.
With love and admiration for Brian (the Merk), Geoff, Brian (the Brain), George, Marco, Kent, Dave, Laura, Crystal and Ryan…