We recently chatted with @Jeff Reisman of Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US.
Jeff is a IT Business Analyst / Project Coordinator with 22 years of experience in EDMS, workflow, content management and IT solutions.
Here's what he had to say about how how he utilizes his Power of Connection and Smartsheet to amplify the work he does.
How do you use Smartsheet at work?
As an IT Business Analyst, part of my job is to help our various functional areas and teams utilize technology in order to improve their workflows, increase efficiency, eliminate manual and redundant work, reduce human error, and add accountability.
To that end, I use Smartsheet to create solutions for these teams. I create single points of data entry, with workflows that help team members or other collaborators add or update data, stay informed of new data and data changes, and communicate with each other about that data while retaining records of those conversations.
With these types of solutions in place, I am able to automate data lookups, manipulations, and transformations, and to easily gather information in the correct formats to share with external partners.
Describe a time when you utilized your power and Smartsheet to succeed at work?
The first large scale solution I built at my company involved creating a more standardized and robust collection of data about new products. What had been a disjointed and error prone informal set of processes became a single standard process whereby users and teams are prompted automatically to make their contributions towards each data record. By the time all the update requests are complete, and all the boxes are checked, the data is ready to be transferred into our inventory and finance system.
The end result, from the perspective of connection, was that product managers, demand planners, business planners, and warehouse/logistics planners are all better connected with the data they are working with, and better connected with the other team members. They all know what information is needed in order for a record to be ready for their input, and what is needed from them in order for the other teams to complete their work.
I have also encouraged the use of the Smartsheet comments functionality, so that team members are better able to ensure that everyone involved in the product lifecycle stays informed of special information, product exceptions, or other relevant information that might affect the workflow and data availability.
Is your power something you intuited or something you learned?
I believe that both things play a large part in this power.
I am by nature an intuitive thinker, where solutions often pop into my head fully formed, as if by magic; then I sort of work backwards, peeling back the layers to see how each part gets me to that fully formed end goal. This ability has made me an effective problem solver with a strong desire to practice this ability.
That being said, the intuitive brain has to have some working knowledge from which to build these solutions. That’s where learning comes into play. For Smartsheet solutions, utilizing the knowledge articles and answers from the community, along with creating dozens of practice and test sheets to experiment on, builds the skills needed to create great things.
Intuition and knowledge alone are not the only things involved in the Power of Connection. The final ingredient is empathy. Being able to figure out why someone is struggling with a process, or unwilling to consider alternative approaches, or skeptical of change, is what enables one's intuition and knowledge to find an answer that works for everyone.
Has there ever been a time when you needed to flex your power to accomplish something?
When is there not? 😂 With processes and data rules needing to adapt due to external factors, there are times when various team members get “lost in the weeds,” so to speak. Many times, this drives them to start adding layers of complexity to solutions which aren’t really necessary, because the problem isn’t as complex as they are imagining. This is the point where having the power to cut through the nonsense, strip the problem down to its most basic structure, and steer the team back towards the least complex measure that will solve the problem, is key.
One example I always think of is "when we needed to standardize a naming convention for bundled products (where a customer can reference one SKU to order this product model bundled with these specific other models and/or accessories.) A Product Director of a major class of products proposed there be a certain letter added into the bundle SKU, at the 8th position for some products, but at the 7th position for these others, but with exceptions for…
And that’s when I said no. Nope. No way. People will always be guessing if that’s a bundle SKU, plus it’s harder to manage from a data standpoint. Instead, we’re going to add a simple suffix to the end. The same suffix will go on all bundle SKUs, regardless of the product type.
I had no actual authority to mandate this. I’m not anyone’s manager, and even though we both report to VPs, this director is two levels above me in the corporate pecking order. These would be the SKUs that all customers of our $1B+ company see. But as it turned out, the power to connect this director to the more elegant and easier to use solution was more important than any corporate authority I could wield!
Fill in the blank: I feel most in my power when I _______.
…am trying to accomplish something difficult in Smartsheet and end up writing just the coolest and most unique formula I’ve ever written, which then makes it possible to complete a co-worker’s ‘impossible’ ask!
What does your power mean to you?
Honestly, it means everything to me. It’s so ingrained in what I do and how I live, not just at work but in everyday life as well. From family dynamics to social media to home repairs, I use it all the time. When I was interviewing with my current employer, the VP asked me what my dream job is. “That’s easy,” I said. “Super-wealthy philanthropist, but nobody is hiring for that right now. So, second place would be a position where I get to learn things and solve problems, so that everything runs better tomorrow than it did yesterday, including me.