Stephen Ministry, Tony Dungy and Salesforce Integrations – Really? Yes!

Supporting Systems
The portion of a Salesforce project that I usually get to work on is the integration. There are usually multiple systems that need to be connected to make a business and its processes work seamlessly.  When this integration works smoothly and is easily maintainable the payoff can be very valuable.  The separate systems each get to keep doing what they do best, but the data is not duplicated and gets used by both systems.

Just as we need systems to rely on each other, we as people also need to be able to rely on each other in times of need.  I attended a seminar recently about the Stephen Ministries.  The Stephen Ministries has taught over 500,000 lay caregivers of congregations to ‘provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care and support to people experiencing grief, divorce, cancer, job loss, loneliness, disability, relocation, and other life difficulties.’  The training and best practices produced by Stephen Ministries are great examples for how you would want to setup any interaction between two people to be helpful.  The seminar was a great introduction to a wonderful organization.  It is organizations like this that help us work together well as people when those connections between us are so desperately needed.

I try to lead a balanced life as much as possible.  I want my work life to produce great integrations that allow systems to talk to each other.  In the same way, I want to find ways in my personal life to help bring people together or to help heal when necessary. I have always found that opportunity when coaching young people in sports. I think I may have found a new opportunity with Stephen Ministries.

Reliability and Integrity
The other piece that makes a Salesforce integration function well is its reliability and integrity. There should not be a need to do much maintenance to an integration. At its core the integration should handle situations when dependent systems are not available.  This could mean that systems are down for an extended period of time or it could mean that a single exception pops up at random times.  These types of ups and downs with integrated systems must be kept in mind up front so that the integration logic can deal with them when they arise, because at some point they surely will arise.

This notion that things will go wrong at some point – and being prepared to deal with those situations – is important to every part of my personal life too.  Tony Dungy’s book, Uncommon, has been full of great reminders for me about how to build my values so I can deal with these difficult times.  At its core, the book talks about how to prioritize the pieces of your life so that you are led on a path of significance.  Not a significance of having the most things or drawing attention to oneself, but of having a life that serves others.  Tony shares so many great quotes and anecdotal stories that bring his message to life.
Humility: Tony talked about watching Tom Landry, the successful head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.  Tom was a man who would not introduce himself as the coach of a pro football team, but as a family man.  He would want to know about your family before knowing anything else about you, as that was what was most important to him.
Integrity: Tony lays out that integrity is more important than reputation.  Reputation is how others perceive you and, while that is important, it is not something that you can fully control.  Integrity can only be controlled by one person and that person is you.  With every action you take there is only you and your Creator who knows your intent with each of those actions.
How to be a Man: Tony goes into so many great details on this and gives us the perspectives of all those who surround us each day.  One that has always been my favorite is that ‘The best gift you can give to your children is to love your wife.’  I know that when my kids see me love their mother that I am teaching 1) My son how to treat his future wife and 2) My daughter what to expect from a man when she chooses a future partner.  Those two lessons are probably the most important I will ever try to teach in my life and I need all the help and encouragement I can get to do it right.

My reliability and integrity will come from my personal life and I will try to bring that to my work like in the Salesforce integrations that I build. As I control my reliability and integrity I hope to create a reputation as someone who can be counted on both at home and at work.

I am looking forward to another day of reading Tony’s words, learning about Stephen Ministries and creating some Salesforce integrations that the businesses of my customers will rely upon.

Let’s get to it!

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