Perspective

You know you shouldn’t but you open the attachment that wasn’t meant for you, your stomach turning.
What you see makes your heart stop.
Your face gets really hot.
And your hands start to sweat. 😨

The confidential email from HR found its way to your inbox accidentally, and you are now aware of the disparity of salary.

Nothing tangible has changed around you.
The world is still the same this moment, as it was some minutes ago before you opened the attachment.

Why has your physiology changed?
Why are you so angry/upset/emotional?

Humans are meaning making machine, says Tom Bilyeu, founder of Impact Theory (I love his podcasts).

So we will try to understand what this information means.
Does it mean:
– this reflects on me as a person, and that I have lower value than these other people? (as awesome as I am)
– the leadership team haven’t been honest and fair (which is a kinder way of saying – are they misogynistic and racist?!)

When something like this happens to me, I know that Ms Ego will react quickly, and what I’d need to do is to calm her down, so that I can extend the pause between between event and response.

This gives time to decide on its meaning to me, and my next step.

However, it won’t be to punch someone’s lights out – even if I may feel like it!

#OnThePeiroll

How much do you laugh?

How much do you laugh?

I think I laugh a lot.
Luckily I have a funny family.
My Husband is fun and playful.
And my ninjas who love trying out bad jokes and puns.

Right now, any joke or pun relating to bottoms or butt or farts or zombies and brains are fair game.

I love laughing and I find it the ultimate stress-buster.
In fact, sometimes a well timed joke or slightly (in)appropriate phrase can break the tension in a room.

I remember at a project kick off, I told a joke about a woman who would cut up a fish in a specific way because she learned it from her mum.

Her husband was curious and asked about it, so she queried her mum, who then said, “I only did it because I had a very weird shaped pan.”

Obviously I was trying to make a point that it’s not a good reason to do something just because it’s always been done that way and I was pretty chuffed that the joke went down well.

Laughter releases natural dopamine and I love it.

I will find a way to bring a smile or laughter, sometimes to my ninja’s embarrassment – as I do it in public. I’ll cheer on a random cyclist going uphill or crack a joke with the cashier.

Heaven knows, the world can always use more laughter, especially right now.

How much do you laugh?

Share your favourite joke below 👇

#OnThePeiroll

Product champions

Product champions – did they come first in a 3-legged product race?

Nope, they help an organisation leverage its business critical product in order to run its operations effectively.

It’s not like buying a pair of shoes. 👠

It’s sole function (hahaha – you can tell that my family have infected me with their punny jokes 🤭) is to protect your feet when you’re walking around.

Sometimes, they may make you look cooler, or ugglier, or set you apart from the ‘riff-raff’s.

Whatever it is, its function isn’t likely to change.

Not so, for a #Saas platform like #Salesforce, which has three releases a year with chockful of additional functionality and enhancements. Not having someone keep an eye on the ball means that you are losing out.

The product champion is one who’s excited about the product, and is always on the look out to find new ways to use it and deliver value.

If you believe that CRM is a business critical product (and it is!), do you have a product champion that helps make it successful for your business?

Hint: the right answer should start with a ‘Y’.

#OnThePeiroll

Podcast #1 – Jasmine Ashley

This is the first episode of OnThePeiroll podcast, where I talk to my guests about all the things that fascinate me, including – Project Management & Delivery, CRM, Consultancy, Leadership and Teamwork, as well as the more Human skills around Active Listening and Communication.

For my pilot episode, I am talking to Jasmine Ashley, Senior Solutions Engineer at Salesforce.

Enjoy!

https://youtu.be/UD6ZjsGkrWE

Transcript

Pei Mun Lim

Hi, Jasmine. Welcome to OnThePeiroll – My very first guest. How are you today?

Jasmine

Good. And thank you for having me. I’m really excited.

Pei Mun Lim

I’m so glad that you’re here. Right? How about you give just a snapshot of how you got to be here? Because you’re from all the way the other side of the planet?

Jasmine

Yeah, thanks. So I, It’s a little bit of a journey. But I am first I’m from New Zealand. And I wanted to travel the world. And when I was in my 20s, I came over to the UK to do the overseas experience, which is just two year Holiday Visa, where you get to experience the world. And then you go back to New Zealand. While I was over here, I worked as an admin and a events company and Salesforce was being rolled out. And I didn’t know what it was. But I rolled up my sleeves and did some UAT testing. So User acceptance testing.  my visa ran out, and it sent me back to New Zealand, you get like a letter and a text and an email and it says it’s time for you to go home. And I was really I was actually quite upset about it. Because I enjoyed my time here in the UK. And this is back in 2012. When I got back to New Zealand, I thought I know what I’ll do, I’ll work, I’ll work in the Salesforce, I’ll become a consultant and then I can get sponsorship and I will return. So for I went back to New Zealand and for the first six months, I complained about how much better the UK was and how boring New Zealand was and how it was going to go back. Three years later, I was senior consultant. And I got sponsored to come over to the UK. So back in 2017. So I’ve been here for four years. And just last year, I started my new role as a solution engineer with Salesforce. So that was a very long journey. Oh, okay.

Pei Mun Lim

So this is a tidbit that you and I know, which was when you came back. I interviewed you. Yeah, well let make postive Do you remember that interview?

Jasmine

I do. I do. I was I was so hopeful, too. So I came over on my 30th birthday to do a whole bunch of interviews. I didn’t even tell my parents, I was only here for holiday to catch up with my friends. And I had three interviews lined up. But I remember your interview because I had you. And then I also had a fellow Kiwi interviewing me at same time. And I really wanted to come over here and I really wanted the job. And so yeah, we went through the questions and a couple of questions we’re gonna answer today, like, like we’re gonna cover today. Kind of like took me back to that interview as well. So yes, I do remember and I remember going to a cafe across the street afterwards and then trying to run through every answer that I gave, trying to work out. Trying to like position how I felt with that interview was very important to me. I was really, I got the job, which is great.

Pei Mun Lim

You absolutely deserved it. But let’s take you back. As if I’m a psychotherapist, let’s move you back to that time during the interview. What was the question that you remembered be asking that stuck with you?

Jasmine

How did you how do you deal with Sorry? Have you had experience with conflict and how did you deal with conflict? That’s the question that stuck in my mind. And then I think later on in the interview it came up again, but from a different angle. So it was to do with internal conflict. So customer and internal that stuck in my mind.

Pei Mun Lim

Okay, do you do you want to answer that? Let’s let’s answer that on on the podcast here in two parts. One is what was your answer that that you remember that you gave then? And whether there are new situations that’s arisen since 2017

Jasmine

This is so so good, because at the time when I answered the question I couldn’t…internal conflict within my team wasn’t something I had experienced. So I felt it was a really odd question to ask, because coming from New Zealand Have I done the three years of consulting back there, I hadn’t had any internal issues with my, with my project teams, because it was very much about, do the job, pick up where many hats, if there’s a gap, fill the gaps of the problem, and then sort of address what caused that problem after fixing so it was very much,  real hands on. So when I was asked that question about the team, conflict, I honestly and I remember my answer to I was, I don’t know, I don’t have any thing to relate to that. Because I haven’t experienced that. Bearing in mind, in New Zealand, you only have maybe two project managers in my company, and they only project manage big projects. So once it got down to a certain size, you’re doing your own project management, so the only person you’re fighting with is probably yourself. So I just hadn’t had the experience. And we had one technical architect for the whole company. And then they were a CTA, but we only had two in New Zealand. So we It was very small, and then coming to the UK. So when I answered at the time, I was like, customer conflict? Yes, I have heard that I have had customers that have had different expectations as to what they’re getting, or even just a different idea of what Salesforce can do. And I’ve had, I’ve had to manage that. But internal team conflict? I hadn’t experienced it. But now today to answer that question I have. I have experienced it. And again, it’s very similar to customer conflict. It’s about expectations, communication, misalignment of what’s what’s what’s what’s happening in this vertical versus what’s happening in yours. I needed that crossover, why have you not finished this? We can’t do the coding if we don’t have the fields, those sorts of issues. Yeah, I’ve experienced them. And so the answer today would be how would I deal? How did I deal with those team conflicts? And I’m sure I’m gonna have more in the future as well, because it’s about people and it’s about different objectives. Communication is it, and it’s raising the hand and raising the flag and saying, okay, something’s not right here. It’s possible that no one’s wrong. If that makes sense, it’s possible that we’re not wrong. But we’re both not on the same, We’re not on the same pathway. So you think I’m wrong, I think you’re wrong. This is really annoying. We don’t want to talk to each other about it. But we have to sit down and talk about it. And then the one I’m remembering that that’s coming to my mind, I went straight to my project manager, and I was like, this is your job. We have conflict, here we go. And then they offer of sort of like mediation, but more like, Let’s sit down and talk about what’s the pressure on them? What’s the pressure on you? And to sit down and sort of work through what do you need to get done to complete your vertical? And what do they need to get done to complete theirs. So the same as what I would do, and what I have done in the past with customers, go straight to management or project manager and say we have an issue, we need to sit down and resolve this, pretty much apply that to internal as well, because otherwise you’re just going to both go off to different, it’s just just creates a divide, it’s so much harder to bring back if you don’t flag it. So yeah.

Pei Mun Lim

Okay. So just, I’m just following on the thread of what you were saying. So in the past, in New Zealand, you’ve had to deal with a lot of the conflict with the client by yourself. And so you have a level of stakeholder and conflict management skills that were developed in that role. Now, in the situation that you just explained. At what point did you feel I’m going to have to escalate this because this is not working? Where Where did that point come? I’m sure you tried to beginning when you discovered, you know, you’re not on the same page? At what point did you think “I can’t get any headway”.

Jasmine

When I got angry, or when I got upset. So when I felt like I was putting in extra work, where, yeah, actually, when you get angry and upset, internal, not external, when you’re having a conversation and you’re in a meeting and you’re still feeling like you’re not being listened to. Or you think what they’re saying is to sort of ridiculous that you have this thing that boils inside of you where you’re like, oh, that you’re not even, you’re not even listening to them because you’re so mad because you’re like they’re not on the same page as me. And the kind of, Yes, that feeling of frustration. So once that builds up, and it stops you from listening and then you end up… not snapping but being more… I’m a happy, cheery person, but when you start to be more short and just, like, do the things that just don’t just that shopping list of get the things done, and there’s no “Hi, how are you? How’s it going?” and it starts to affect you, then you know, you need to address it because it’s impacting on your ability to do your work because you’re getting frustrated. So from an a personal signal for me, it’s when I’m feeling that bubbling up of just like, annoyance, that’s really not necessary if you get time to sit down and think of the perspectives of both sides of both sides. But you need that kind of mediator or you need, even when you’re escalating it to your manager, what they do, well, for all my managers have done is they’ve been like, okay, let’s talk about the Swiss bit, you have a rant, like just lay it all out there, tell me what what’s going on. And then they add in perspective, like, oh, that, you know, maybe it’s this and I’m like, yeah, it could be this, or I think maybe this is going on, it can be there, and you work your way through, I still count that as an escalation. So you’re still making them aware of what’s going on. You don’t necessarily have to go straight into mediation, but it’s that thing where you feel and you’re just not, it’s affecting your ability to do your job. And the whole point of working together on a project is to achieve the outcome of… finish the project. So yeah.

Pei Mun Lim

Okay. Okay. Let’s, um, let’s stay on the topic, because you talked about clients as well. How do you deal it? How do you sorry? How do you deal with clients when you have conflict? And you don’t have a project manager to escalate to?

Jasmine

Um, that’s a good question. No. So in New Zealand, I feel like it was a bit of a flatter structure. So you don’t necessarily have to be working on the same projects, but you worked in the same company. And then I had a mentor. So I HAVE a mentor , sorry, He is still my mentor, even though we’re far away. And even if he wasn’t managing my projects, I’d still be like, Hey, I have a problem. Hey, this is a thing, hey, what should my approach be? Same for peers, or anyone who’s been on in the company or been on projects, just anyone, I’m a person that will turn –  this is why I miss working in an office – because I’m a person who will turn around to the person next to me like, hey, so this is happening, do you have like, any ideas on how I can deal with this? So yeah, so you don’t need a project manager, you just need someone for outside perspective, going back to what I was saying before about those feelings, and being able to sort of discuss them. But then from a customer side, there are processes for customers, and there are.. you have to tread carefully with customers. And you can’t just say, you know, you annoy me and this is annoying, there’s a different approach to the way in which you have to deal with customers. And, oddly, I think I’m more like a, you have more of a resilience to your customers, and less to your own team members. Because with your team members, you’re in the same boat. So you’re wondering why are you not working the same way I am working, when it’s your customers, they don’t know your processes. This is their first time doing a CRM implementation. Some of them may not have even heard of some of the terminology. And when you deliver a project, it’s fast paced, so they can be frustrated, they have their day job. So there’s a different set of sort of contributing factors to a customer being difficult to work with, that are different to the contributing factors that make a colleague difficult to work with, because they’re in a different world. You’re working, you’re trying to guide them in a process that they might only do once every five years. Maybe once hopefully, but you know, we never know. So yeah, it’s different. They have different, yeah, it’s different because your expectations of your colleague are different to your expectations of your customer.

Pei Mun Lim

Yeah, correct. Very nicely put. Have you found any culture shock? With regards to how can you do business and English to business? Let’s hear it.

Jasmine

Oh, so I, yes. So so little things because, yes, we’re colonized and yes, we’ve got you know, the the union jack is on our flag, and our accent is slightly different. But as soon as I got here, even in 2012, I don’t, we don’t put kind regards on our emails. I and also, to be fair, I hadn’t really done that many office jobs. I put regards on an email and I had a meeting with my manager because she said I was coming off as short. And I was, it was abrupt. And I wasn’t like I was feeling. I don’t know, sharp. I don’t know how that works. And so I started putting kind regards because I normally would put cheese or like, hey, like it’s a more colloquial sort of vibe to it. Because in New Zealand, when you are working in a project, you see them in the supermarket their kids go to school with your cousin’s, like, it’s a very small environment. And they might be at a friend’s barbecue like there’s been times when I’ve gone to barbecue and there’s been a client at the barbecue. It’s more, closer. So you don’t nobody reads into anything as much as they do on this side, the wording has to be a certain way. It’s not saying kind regards and just saying regards meant that I was being rude. And I didn’t mean to, but I even said to them, “but when they meet me, I’m really nice, they should apply that to my emails.” But yet text is hard to read. The other thing was, I think Kiwis have a “can do” approach to “see problem – fix problem”. And what I found over the years, not just when I first got here, but off and on, there is an idea, a bit of a, “we must identify who made the problem.” first, then we can solve the problem, but we must find the person or the thing or the reason. And then we can move on to fix it. Whereas I think it might not be a Kiwi thing, it might be my thing, but fixed problem and then talk about it after just fix the problem. Fix it first. But there’s a lot of like, Oh, that’s not me. That must be them. Oh, that’s not me. That must be them. And that’s fine. I can understand why people were worried about being associated with a bad thing. But that doesn’t solve the problem. It just means that I had to jump from person to person being like, I don’t know why I’m doing this. I just need to find out like, can I fix it? Give me the permission to fix it. So there’s a lot of I don’t know if it’s like paperwork, like Yeah. Yeah. So there’s barriers, because each in the UK, everyone sort of got the department and might because it’s bigger companies, let’s be honest. And whereas in New Zealand, you’re like making a decision and running with this decision. I’m going to check with you if this decision’s okay, cool. And then you keep going, but you’re already in flight when you’re doing these things. Whereas here, I think you have to make sure all the right people are notified, which I can understand why if it’s a big decision. And then there’s the element of well, it’s not my department who made the problem, we must find the cause, find, find the person find the person. And I’m like, “Who cares? We’ll talk to them later.”

Pei Mun Lim

Do you, do you think that’s a function of the size of the company that you were working? In? Do you think that if you were in New Zealand, and you went to a bigger company, bigger partner, would you you think it would still be the same or slightly different because there would still be departments on there would need a few more processes to make sure you don’t make those mistakes again?

Jasmine

Yeah, I think it’s a fixed first and then address after approach,  was where I came from. Yeah, I don’t know. Because I didn’t actually work for a big big company. So the company I was working for had about 200 staff across two offices. 200 Yeah, that’s it. It’s still not small. Three on Yeah. Yeah. But um, yeah, but now I’m at Salesforce. And it’s like, it’s got 1000s of people everywhere, like I do. Yeah. So maybe that could be a factor. But in there, I think there’s a little bit of a, if we reel it back to the culture shock side, I think it was more of the whole finger pointing a bit, a little bit. Not. And so this is hard to explain, like, I noticed it more when I came here. That’s, that was it. So it was more of a roll your sleeves up, fix the issue. Think point after. But actually, even when it’s not really necessary, we should be learning from the mistakes that we’re making, and just making sure we don’t make them again. But when I first arrived, it was very much like, Oh, no, that’s not my department. Oh, no, I had nothing to do with that. I was like, that’s not what I’m asking you. I just need to know how to fix it. Let’s fix it sort of thing.

Pei Mun Lim

Fair enough. Fair enough. Why don’t we start talking about some of the projects that you’ve been on, you don’t have to give details. One of the aim of the podcast is to share learnings from project. So things like describe to me the elements of one of the more enjoyable projects that you’ve been on?

Jasmine

Well, theres so… Okay, one of the more enjoyable projects. I find when people are enthusiastic off the bat, so when people make time, so I’m thinking I reflected on a few of the projects that I did, and there are a couple of elements, enthusiasm to want to change makes the biggest difference in a project. You don’t have to know what you’re doing or know what the change is or know what’s coming. And it’s still going to be difficult, but to be aware of changes happening. And I want to know, I want to learn I want to see what’s coming on both sides be at the consulting side and the customer side. That’s great, because you start that’s collaboration, because then you start running ideas, and telling them about features and things that are exciting, and they genuinely are excited about it. And that depends on the levels because it could be users and it could be CEOs, but an excitement for change to come. makes that project. You want to be on that project. Yeah. I think the service implementations that I did are the more memorable ones. And I think it’s because I’m not a numbers person maybe?, like, I’m fine with numbers, but I’m not a targets driven person, I’m more of a problem solver. So I found when I was doing the Service Cloud implementations, you’re working with people that solve people’s problems daily. So they want to be better at solving the problems. It’s a lot of problem talking there. But, they were more open to sharing their processes. And they’re more open to actually making less clicks, and having like routing and things to then be able to diversify them, like, spread out the workload to help each other because their role is to help. And then when you take it up to the higher levels, as I work, if we help more people, then we get better sets. And we get you know, so that’s good, too. So I found those, when you even when you’re working on a sales project, or sales implementation, you can have service people involved in it as well, that boosts the sales side, because then you get that crossover of When this happens, it causes these problems. But if we fix these problems, we can fix that process. So service. Maybe I’m biased, because I did so many years in hospitality being a being a waitress and stuff. It’s, they see the customer, they hear the customer, so they’ve got more insight. What is the other thing, building when you’re this kind of sounds really cheesy, but when you’re those projects that I worked on that were the most enjoyable? Were the ones where in my team. It doesn’t matter if you’re a graduate or if you’re a project manager, whatever. When you all got together everybody’s voice was the same loudness, if that makes sense. Yeah. So there’s a lot of this perception that having interns or having younger people, graduates or new people to the industry, they don’t have to be fresh out of school, they could have only just learned Salesforce. And there’s this sort of, Oh, no, it’s like a assumption that they need to be quiet and sit down and observe, okay, and some elements they do. But when it comes to Salesforce knowledge, they are the most up to date, because they have done the modules. They, I, I struggle with trailhead modules today because I have to do them and my job, but they don’t take priority, I put them to a later date until I have to do them. And I’ll sort of just ad hoc learn as I go when I’m doing during my work. Whereas there’s people that are new to the industry, then they come in, they’ve sat down, they’ve put those hours, and they’ve actually gone through the most recent modules on the most recent certifications. So there were some magic moments and these memorable projects, where I’d be like, I don’t know how we’re going to tackle this problem. And then a new person to the team of like, Oh, well, you can do this. And this is a new thing. And this is how, this is something that just got released recently. And that to me was exciting, because they felt like they could speak which is great. And then also, I’m not completely up to date with every single line and the release notes, I will go in and try and find what I need, and then jump out. But they have all that knowledge. And they have that enthusiasm to keep to absorb as much as they can, like they’re excited to do study, which if I had time, I would be too but they were so key. So I think that open communication within your team, and feeling comfortable to be able to say, hey, I’ve got an idea, really makes those projects, feel because again, you’re solving problems, but you’re doing it together, you’re not being asked to, like what do I do? What do I do? How do we do this? How do we do that? That pressure of being the central, like as a as an IC implementation. You’ve got all these people ask you like, oh, how should we approach this? Or how should we do this? But when you’ve got people saying, Hey, I have an idea for how we can approach this. What do you think? it’s such a such a good experience, it’s that fun project, like, you’re working together.

Pei Mun Lim

Amazing. Amazing . So let me just summarize you, you gave three points there. One is where the clients really excited for the change in number two, if I remember correctly, is if it’s a service project, the things that align to what you are good at, your strengths. And then the three, for an internal team, where everyone’s been, where everyone is pulling together, and everyone feels that they can have equal contribution, even if they are very new to the industry. That is anything you want to add to that that would make a project just, you wouldn’t just jump at it. If you heard Ooh, that’s coming. Let me be on it. What is that any other factors you think would excite you?

Jasmine

So this one is, because over the years when you’ve worked on certain, it’s like, there’s like a team. So I know this sounds horrible, but, when you hear a person’s name or someone that you’ve worked with, and I call it like your “corporate tribe”, like that, that group of people that you’ve shared,  battled with, with you’ve learnt hard lessons, were sometimes they even said to you like, “Jaz that was really dumb, you shouldn’t have done that that’s not cool”, you’ve built that trust, and you’ve built that connection. And you don’t necessarily have to do it over, multiple projects. It could be one three week project where you worked together just to review and you delivered something, and you learnt how to get along together, you learn each other’s work styles. So there are, there are times when you hear a name of a person, and I go, Oh, It would be so good to work with him. Again, I don’t even care what the project is like it would be so, you know, mean? Because it’s like a trust. It’s actually it’s a trust thing. So off topic a little bit, but I did a charity event a couple years ago, where we had to learn to dance for a dance competition to raise awareness for sports trader was, what’s the one, and I had no idea, excuse me, I had no idea how to dance like I could do my own personal dancing, like, I’m good at that. But this was Tango, which is, I thought would be easy, no not easy. And I learned something from it that I then applied to actually work or life, but work as well. For the first two weeks, I was clueless on what I was doing. So you’re learning the customer, or you’re learning the moves, and you’re trying to do the rhythm and all of that. And then they paired us up and I was paired up with a complete stranger who I’d never met. And we were learning the moves and doing a lot of slowly learning to trust each other. But he had to drop me face down to the ground, but not on my face. But like this, and then lift me back up again. And the first five or six times, I kept putting my foot in front of me and not letting him do the move. I just couldn’t. Like I would say yes, I’m ready and then I, every time we got close to doing it, my foot would shoot out and I would stop. And he was like, you have to learn to trust me. And I was like, I don’t know you, it was really. But then on the eighth or ninth time we did it. And we did I did trust them. We did it, we did it perfectly. And after that we were fluid for when we were learning to dance. And I think having those projects where you struggle and you learn to trust, you learn to communicate, you learn to understand triggers. For me, I get hungry. And when I get hungry, I get short, with my, like just short like, like not mean, but just very much like get the things done, I need to get out of here. And working with people that go “here,Jasmine heres a snack, have a snack”, you know, like they learn how you work and how you function to make it more enjoyable and you support each other. So the two kind of go together, it took eight tries to trust a person to do a dance move me, it takes a project for you to learn to trust a person to then be confident that you can then go to that next level to deliver, be able to deliver that as good as you can, you know. So I think that’s my final point on that one.

Pei Mun Lim

But it’s such a beautiful analogy. I really like how you tied in your personal experience with the dancing. That’s so key. I think what you mentioned earlier on about creating relationships, creating rapport connection with someone. And I think that people move companies for the people, not so much for the company. Yeah, there’s so many stories of manager moving and whole department following them to the new place. So what you’re saying is not far fetched.

Jasmine

It’ your tribe, it’s your tribe, it’s the people, I don’t know if that’s an official thing. But it’s sort of always thought in the back of my mind, that’s my tribe, when they call on you, no matter like even people in New Zealand, I still keep in touch with if I was back home and they were like “Jaz can help me out with this thing?” they’re  your tribe, you take care of each other. And you because it’s a tribe, and it’s not specific to a company, you can have more people and there’s no limitation on how many people you can have. And that that tribe of, of people you trust.

Pei Mun Lim

Amazing. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. That’s really good. So let’s pivot now slightly to do you have some examples of any character building projects. So by that, I mean, those who’ve been really tough, for whatever reasons, but after that, when you look back, there’s a mountain of lessons you could take away. And that makes it worthwhile. Did you have any that you can share?

Jasmine

Um, I do. I think each one I’ve worked on has been a little bit of a development to my character, but some were like more chill, some more fun. So you learn a little bit about yourself with every project you take on because there’s different elements to a project, if it’s a new industry that I don’t know anything about. But you have to you have to go in day one like “Hello, I know what I’m doing. I know exactly what’s going on.” So you do that research. And you learn, you you learn new things. So I think my one was the finance industry insurance industry was I, no idea, I don’t like from the, like just the way in which they functioned. And even when it came to doing calculations and that sort of stuff, when it comes to finance things, obviously, I’m not doing very well right now off the top of my head, but you have to get into the zone. And it’s scary. And it was, you learn on the fly. And I think what was,  in this example that I’m thinking of was character building was, you go in, and I would nod along, like I know what’s going on and I go home. And I try and do as much research as I could. But when it came to it, after a while, I was getting exhausted. And I knew, I don’t know, finance, I don’t understand when it comes to building the solution and making sure that it’s going to meet all their needs. As a consultant you do as they say, but then also you can challenge to make things work better. And I was missing out on the challenge to make things work better, because I was just doing and then it was, it was character building, because it was about admitting that I didn’t know enough and then say, like saying to them, I can’t challenge you on this. But if you can explain it to me more, and maybe I can get my head around it or like let’s take it a step down, because I don’t really know finance. And it’s humble. I was like learning to be humble, instead of that whole, go in, do solve problems get out is like, actually take some time admit that you don’t know what you’re doing. You can only Google so much in a short amount of time while you’re still trying to do your job. And it worked. Like it was scary. And it was, I thought my professionalism would be under question. But when I thought about it, as a consultant has to deliver projects across multiple industries, you can’t be the expert in everything. Even though if you try, it’s still I don’t I mean, maybe there’s people out there who have done it, but it’s not actually how my brain works. I’m not very good at like, being good, really good at lots of things like you. Nobody is I don’t think so that was character building. And that was that was a learning moment for me to admit that you can’t do everything like, which I think we all struggle with a little bit. Like I wanted to be the best that I can be. But you can’t be if you don’t know, that’s true.

Pei Mun Lim

The challenging part of your your role or implementation consultant role comes with experience. After multiple finance projects under your belt, you will know what other people have done with it’s been successful or not what best practices are, and then you can go on to the next one with Haha, I know all the answers

Jasmine

And this is it, you get the gut feeling. So then, like, over time, I’ve done a couple of other ones. And then you hear a word and your stomach goes like this. And you’re like, Oh, yes, this was Yes. This was a challenge that we had last time. Yeah, I agree. So then it’s set in now even in my Salesforce role, when you’re talking, you’re talking to the different departments, and you’re talking to the different people who are involved in that process. There are still words that I hear that I get that gut feeling of takes me back to that project. Can I go? Oh, yes, I remember that. I learned about that. I can. I think that’s valuable. Like you learn that feeling that you get?

Pei Mun Lim

Yeah, absolutely. And that, yeah, that just comes to experience. So from my point of view, when I structured that question, the scenario that you provided was not in my that wasn’t what I asked you to get. No, no, no, no, sorry about that. Because the reason why is because for me, I’ve done a lot. And that’s something that I accept as a given. If I’m doing something absolutely brand new, I’m not going to know, I will tell the customer so and I’ll do my best, and I won’t act over it. Because, yeah, that’s the way things are. And if I do 345, then I get better. And in my head, that’s like, that’s like the law of gravity. It just is. And to worry about it, because it’s my first time. It’s counterproductive unless, unless the expectations are not set properly. So as an example, if the customer expects me to be super expert, and I’m not, then that would be anxiety inducing. But if the project is sold correctly, by was Junior, and if the customer understands that this is the first project we’re doing in their sector, and therefore there’s some learning going to go on. I’m just gonna do my best, then. I don’t worry about that too much. I just worry about how much I can learn to make sure that I do a good job.

Jasmine

Yeah, yeah. It’s about that setup, isn’t it? It’s about what the is that pep talk that you should get before you go through the door. And I think that was um, yeah, I think there wasn’t a pep talk for that one. It was very much go in and just see what happens. But yeah, I agree. Totally. And yeah, and then you just have those moments, some days when you feel like you should move more than what you know. But yeah, it’s about managing it. And yeah, that’s a good point, it’s for you, it’s not a thought at all. It’s just a this is a fact, that’s how it is.

Pei Mun Lim

No it’s not. Because I’m a project manager, it’s my job to make sure that my team is in best position, and that we set expectations correctly with the customer. So when the situations where the sales team has missed all the project, I will do my very best to align all expectations before my team due to kickoff, the customer is expecting something different than what we believe we can deliver, that gets ironed out upfront, because I want my team to be fully in the game, and not worried about Oh, they’re expecting somebody more senior, and I’m not bla bla bla.

Jasmine

This is I think this is something that’s in my mind when it comes to it’s about setting expectations. But this, when I when I’m thinking about the challenges that I faced, and a lot of my projects, it’s the misalignment between what the customer thinks they’re getting, and what you have been told is happening. And then there’s that gray zone where you’re in the meeting, the introduction meeting, where you’re going: tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, oh, wait, they don’t think this, they think this, this is not what they’re expecting. And then on your feet, you’re like, Okay, now I need to actually change how I prepped, like, how I think, how I prepped when I came into this room, and it’s about the alignment as expectation management and alignment. And interestingly, in my career, I then made a shift into doing pre sales for a bit. Because I wanted to see what was happening behind the curtain. So you’ve got implementation is here. So it comes to you. We have a project for you do the project. And then you go into that room, and then the expectations are misaligned. They that’s not what they expected at all. So I thought, okay, I’ll go into pre sales. And I’ll see what they’re telling them before they meet us and get an idea of how, why are we so misaligned?? what is being said in these meetings, and what’s being said in these rooms. And I learned that a lot is going on in a very short amount of time and not very much thought is going into it sometimes, not every time. But the misalignment is from, Yeah, again, not setting the foundations and not saying clearly this is what’s happening. It’s a bit more ambiguous. Like, you have needs, you have vision, we’re going to do a Agile, we’re going to go in there, the team is going to be flexible, it’s going to you know, it will meet all your needs. You don’t really know them yet, but we’ll find them for you that that kind of high level stuff. It’s about setting it, setting expectations solidly.

Pei Mun Lim

Yes. So from my point of view, I think the pre sales activity, they talk a lot about what, what you want, what’s the future looking like for you. And delivery is very much on the how, yeah. And at that point in time, they don’t talk so much about the how. And that’s where it’s quite key to bridge that gap. To make sure that what you want and how you’re going to get it may be different because of budgetary constraints, or your timeline. So you want his magical new system, but you want it tomorrow. Not really feasible. So it’s about managing all of that. vagueness and putting some clarity into it.

Jasmine

Yes. And it’s a MVPs and things like that, like the like, yeah, it’s Yeah, it’s the it’s the, like, I can see how it happens. But it is just key to solidify it and make sure that it’s all Yeah, I’m kind of rambling now. So.

Pei Mun Lim

No it’s okay. Because I think that all disputes in all arguments. And I’m not talking just professionally, but in your personal life with my kids or my friends. It’s all about expectations. In my head as a project manager, that phrase is everywhere. in all situations, it’s managing expectations. And does my expectation needs to be reset? Am I expecting something too much too high? So I have that conversation with my kids quite a bit, especially when we also we have many conflict. And I’ll say was there something that you expected me to be to think to say that’s different than what I actually did. And then we have a candid conversation about that and how I’m going to be the same next time because they leave the mess around again. be the same again. I like I said, being empathetic and actively For the 50th time you leave your clothes on the floor, I’m well out of that.

Jasmine

Yeah, we will get there eventually. That example also kind of fits with. in the project sense as well, because this again, like I said at the start, this is the first time like, so I did in the pre sales element, or even just in the beginnings of any engagement with any customer, if it’s their first time, or maybe even only second time, like what the clothes on the floor takes 5, 10, 15 times, but they’ve only done it once. This is their first time. So when we don’t communicate, like expectations, clearly from our side, they also probably don’t practice communicating their expectations, either. It’s like you kind of need to have an actual set time and that meeting where you go, now we’re going to discuss expectations, like you really clearly need to just sit down and say it out loud, because they’ve never seen Salesforce, or they’ve only seen a demo, or they’ve only been to like, you know, seen it on some advertising, if it’s popped up in some algorithm, but they’ve not actually gone through this process. Yes. So they are a lot of our customers are looking at us to guide them, because you’ve done it so many times. But when you do it so many times you forget that, what the first time feels like, and you forget, so for you clothes, make sense, put them in the laundry, but you forget how hard it was to develop that habit in the first place. And how much training it took for you, when you were a child to learn that that’s where that goes, maybe you’re fast, maybe not. But you know what I mean? Like, whereas within the customers. Actually, that’s really good point is empathy because customers they love, it’s their product, it’s the company, it’s their baby. And there’s a bit of, they want you to feel the same way they feel about their company, their baby. So they’re,  they expect for you to be 100%. Like this is you know, this is my everything. But as a consultant, you’ve got other, you’ve done back to back, you’ve got if you’ve got other things that you’re working on, or you’ve got other, you’ve just finished a project with that company. So if you’re fully in that one, and you’ve got to fully throw yourself into that one, so we do it. So it’s on a it’s on a rotation, but the customer doesn’t know that. So then it’s like, why don’t you care how I care? Like if I did, my heart would break every time I finished a project. I can’t commit myself 100% the same way you do, because this is your business. And this is, mine is consulting, you know?

Pei Mun Lim

Yes. Yes. Jasmine, sorry, I had so many questions. There’s no way I’m going to get through them. And I’m really enjoying this conversation. And I’m thinking that I need to get you in every few weeks and continue this conversation because it has been amazingly enjoyable. I have such a long list as a Yeah,

Jasmine

I feel like I just rambled as well. But I was like oh, this is so!! these are good questions. And these are things that I’d haven’t really had a chance to talk about either like, except for the job interview scenario. That’s the only time you really talk about your the experiences that you have had. But you don’t get to sit down and solidly just llike go through and go what ? what reflection, and in this kind of environment. So thank you for interviewing me again. And yeah, for setting this up and having this conversation because as I’m talking about these things, it’s making me think about these things. It’s making me like refresh those learnings that I’ve had over the years. And it gives you a good perspective.

Pei Mun Lim

I’m really, really glad that you’ve been my very first guest, and that we have gone through so much and just scratched, I think what it’s like to work in consulting, in projects and I the key themes that came out today was about communication about people about team. Technology was secondary. Yeah, apart from the fact that Salesforce is very fun and very sexy. But the key things that make work enjoyable, especially in the project sector is about people.

Jasmine

Yes, yes. Yes. And we say that we have a saying at home, it’s it is people and its people it is people. So this that is society is community and our work life should be the we are at the end of the day people are behind businesses, humans run businesses, so it IS people.

Pei Mun Lim

Absolutely. Okay,

Jasmine

I would love to do this again as well. So if you do, I would love to be doing another session. I feel like like you said we only scratched the surface. There’s so many different modules to to doing projects as well.

Pei Mun Lim

Yes, yeah. We can pick multiple themes and deep dive into each one on separate sessions. And thank you so so much for your time today. Really appreciate that. And I will see you again soon in a different call.

Jasmine

Yeah, cool. See you. Thank you. Bye.


In pursuit of “perfection”

We are always in pursuit of “perfection”.

Growing up, l was always obsessed about my weight. My classmates were always skinnier, and therefore, prettier than me.

No matter what I did, it was never good enough.

Things came to a head when my dressmaker (in Malaysia) said she’d make the “perfect” size for a bride but that I was too fat and that I had 2 months to fit in that dress.

I spent the next two months starving myself, shedding the weight but I didn’t quite make it. Mum flew over with the dress before the wedding and she was forced to make some alterations.

I remember spending my wedding holding my breath and praying that the stitches will hold.

How horrible was that.
Perfection is never attainable.

There is a fine line between wanting to be the best you can be, and reaching for the unattainable goal.

Crossing that line can tip you over into mental health hell.

I tell my kids that they were already perfect when they were born, but there may be skills that they want to get better at and goals they want to achieve and go for it.
They will never be less of a person for not attaining it.

I care more about their happiness than I do about their weight or their grade because…
Perfection is only a state of mind.

#OnThePeiroll

Boundaries are healthy

Boundaries are healthy.

“Allan. This is my invisible wall. Do not cross into my personal space because I do not like it.”

At my first job, I remember a guy who would invade my space consistently. Sometimes he would watch over my shoulder and literally breathe down my neck while I worked.

One day, I had to set him straight.

He was surprised as no one had ever mentioned it to him before.

The other girls at the office were also surprised, as speaking up is unusual in a conservative country like Malaysia. Even more so because I’m female.

Boundaries are important, because without it, resentment breeds, and this will poison the atmosphere and relationships in the workplace.

Among the many super powers that I have 😁 one of the most useful is my apparent lack of deference for cultural norms and accepted political behaviour, especially when they don’t make sense.

Many people who have trouble saying “No” find themselves feeling resentful most of the time because they feel that others are taking advantage of their good nature.

In fact, the best thing they can do for themselves is to draw some boundaries and learn to say “No.”

This is especially true if 🍩 are involved.
Don’t ever mess with my Donut.

Not unless you want want to see the miffed side of me!

#OnThePeiroll

Self harming is more common than you think

Self harming is more common than you think.

When she tucked her hair behind her ear, her sleeve fell away and I saw the scars, scabs and fresh wounds.

She caught my eye and quickly looked away, her face flushing. Without paying for her shopping, she turned agitatedly and walked away from the queue, leaving her trolley behind.

While #SelfHarming does not indicate suicidal tendencies, it can lead to dark thoughts if this coping mechanism no longer works.

Causes for this behaviour may include childhood neglect, trauma, abuse, abandonment, loss of a parent and negative perception of body.

Sometimes people self-harm because
– it allows them to feel something, when they have learned to be numb in order to cope with trauma or abuse
– it gives them some control over a small part of their life
– it communicates their pain as a way to reach out for help
– to punish themselves

If you encounter someone who is self harming, the best thing you can do for them is to be there for them.

Just listen.
Don’t judge.

They are hurting, and that’s the last thing they need.

Someone who is resorting to purposefully inflict pain on themselves and draw blood, is hurting very deeply inside.
And those wounds are invisible.

#BeKind. 🌹
You don’t know the demons that they face.

#OnThePeiroll

Adding to the Samaritans Family

My heart is so full this morning. 🤗

We’ve just finished training and welcomed 14 new volunteers to join the #Samaritans family at my branch.

It has been an emotionally intensive few months – for them and for us trainers, but it feels so amazing that we are now able to support more callers in need.

I remember when I first started; the training took me through a journey of my own self discovery. It was a process of looking really hard into the mirror and asking myself some difficult questions.

I had to examine why I felt the way I did about specific things – was I being discriminating? Was I being shallow? Was I carrying prejudices that I wasn’t even aware of?

I am so so proud of this group.

#Listening is a skill that everyone needs.
It has made me a better daughter, parent, friend, colleague.
It has helped me in my work, with my team and my clients.

It’s made me a better human. 🌹

If you are thinking of joining Samaritans, please check out the branches nearest to you and ask them about their next Selection day.

It’s definitely been one of the best decision in my life, and it could be yours too.

Ah – this is definitely turning to be a cracking bank holiday weekend 🌞🌻🌈

#OnThePeiroll

What a way to end my week!

What a way to end my week!

Imagine that you’ve spent over 20 years in aviation as cabin crew.
You know your stuff.
You can handle any emergency thrown at you in the sky.
You’re cool under pressure, and everything is always in control.

And then the pandemic hits hard, wiping out the travel industry.
You see your colleagues, your friends with whom you’ve worked with for so many years lose their jobs.
You too, are not spared.

What can you do?
Ah. You discover #Salesforce.

This lovely lady joined my Consulting Masterclass programme last November.
Despite being apprehensive about starting something so new, she embraced her fears and jumped straight in.

I’m not going to tag her until she’s ready, but I am so incredibly impressed with her attitude and her perseverence! 💪

Vanessa Hunt took her under her wing, and mentored her in the Ways of the Salesforce.
Tara Aldridge took a referral from me and gave her the opportunity to interview.

And now, she tells me that she has a job offer, and is overjoyed. 🤩

I am so chuffed for her ❤

For everyone who’s feeling like it’s an uphill battle in the jobhunt, keep at it. And don’t be afraid of reaching out to people who may be able to help.

Happy weekend everyone, I know I’m going to!! 💃

#OnThePeiroll

Duck and Chicken talking

The Chinese describe it as “It’s like the Duck talking to the Chicken”. Even when both are speaking ‘English’.

Expectation gap and misalignment is the root cause of all arguments, break-ups, divorces, legal disputes and general discord.

Managing this well in a #Salesforce or #CRM project will ensure a much smoother sail towards ‘go-live’.

This needs to start right from the beginning though; with tight teamwork between marketing, sales and delivery within the Consulting Partner.

While the #ExpectationsGap between vendor/partner and the client can never be totally eliminated (because humans are so beautifully diverse), we need to make sure that it is as narrow as possible.

What Jasmine is describing here, is a consultant suddenly realising there’s a gap, and must very quickly find a way to salvage the situation.

This needs to be done sensitively and tactfully, otherwise some ‘difficult conversations’ will need to be had including potentially some PR/damage control measures.

Have you had any ‘tick-tick-tick-tick’ moments when you see a chasm that is an expectations gap during a Client meeting? 😱

What happened and what did you do?

#OnThePeiroll
#ExpectationsManagement

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