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Firstly, let me take a few “for granted” statements:

  1. The consultant in question is honest and has genuine integrity
  2. They are not lazy or afraid of hard work
  3. They have an abundance mentality – “There is enough for you and me in this game”

So, assuming you have the above-mentioned qualities let’s work on what steps I would take to get to the next level. What would you need to focus on?

  1. BECOME A MASTER OF YOUR DOMAIN : The key to success is to be good at what you do. Learn everything you can about your topic. Talk with peers, read the help files, go through every configuration option possible, write programs, do exams, …. Once you’re good at what you do you can start to share that with others….
  2. WORK : It’s a four letter word for some but not for those who want to get ahead. Work hard, work smart!!!
    1. What is working smart? Focus on your core skill and find a niche in that area that either brings value to a customer through added revenue or cost savings
    2. Don’t be a 9-5’er – Work late!!! Show commitment to your chosen area.
  3. GAIN KNOWLEDGE  : Latch on to the knowledgeable people on the project around you and learn all you can from them. You don’t know it all. Learn from them. What a unique opportunity to go from project to project and work with different individuals each time. This varied experience you gain from others is absolutely invaluable and is not found in any book out there. Remember that you will meet other consultants doing the same as you so share with them as well. You cannot expect others to share with you if you don’t share with them…
  4. MARKET YOURSELF : Build a reputation for yourself, get involved in the community, share your knowledge! Let me break down some real ways of marketing yourself and building up your reputation. Remember that if you are going to get your name out there, be sure that it’s a good name. Don’t do anything to hurt your reputation. Be honest and fair in all your dealings
    1. Resume – Load your resume out there and make it searchable – Don’t put a phone number there only an email address. Be prepared for people spamming you but the alternative is that no one is able to find you out there should they be searching for your type of skills. I keep my resume on ERPGenie and I keep it fairly up to date – As an example see http://kevin.wilson.erpgenie.com
    2. Writing – Write on the topic that you specialize in. The following are areas that you need to focus on:
      1. Blogs – Write your own blog about what you are up to in your space and what you see happening around you. The best example that I have of someone doing this really well is Jon Reed (http://www.jonerp.com) – If I’m partial then I can also point to http://www.erpgenie.com where I post my learning’s and get others to share theirs as well.
      2. Whitepapers and Guides – Write papers and guides for the likes of SAP Professional Journal (http://www.sappro.com/) or SAP Insider (http://sapinsider.wispubs.com/)
      3. Books – If you have the time and the inclination this will really set you apart from your peers. Approach Wispubs / SAP Press (http://www.sap-press.com/) or Genie Press (http://press.erpgenie.com) to see if they will publish your manuscript idea
      4. Social media – Use the social media available out there intelligently – Once again, my good friend Jon Reed has it down (http://feeds.feedburner.com/jonerpfeeds)
        1. LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com) – This is my preferred way to stay connected with my peers in the industry. I don’t mix it with social connections (I use Face book for that) and I ensure that it’s up to date with my latest happenings (http://www.linkedin.com/in/erpgenie) – Connect with your peers so that if you have questions that need answers you can fire it off to your trusted inner circle. In addition, join the relevant groups on LinkedIn and read their archives and answer questions that you know the answer to. Be sure to add value to these posts. Don’t be one of those people just looking for the points (like those on SCN).
        2. SCN – Write blogs, contribute towards the wikis, utilize the forums, … get involved…. SCN makes for a nice searchable resource for those looking for skilled people. Make sure you have a good positive presence out there (See an example of my blog profile /people/kevin.wilson2/blog)
        3. Twitter – I am not that big a fan of twitter but some recruiters and peers of ours do so we need to get a presence there too. With it’s integration to LinkedIn I can now update one place and communicate with both mediums. (I’m not looking for followers but here’s my twitter page http://www.twitter.com/erpgenie) One nice thing with Twitter is that you can update it from your phone and then have your blog / website hook in to your tweets automatically. i.e. you can update content on your site quickly from your phone anywhere…
        4. Facebook – I use Facebook pages as another medium to share tips and tricks – Some folks like to use Facebook, so once again, leverage the medium that others are using to consume data – See https://www.facebook.com/SAPEventManagement for an example of a page I maintain for SAP Event Management details.
        5. Be smart when using social media to share. Find a service that you make one post and it automatically sends it to LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. I leverage WordPress or Blogger to post and both of these can be linked to your social media so that you hit all the needed channels whenever you update your blog. Saving time and making it easy to do social media is key to being able to maintain the process going forward – Don’t SPAM people with useless information – Make each posting valuable otherwise you will have a reverse effect on your need to gain a following…
    3. Speaking – If you are comfortable with public speaking then use that to your advantage. If you are not comfortable speaking in front of an audience, break through the fear and do it. It’s not that bad. I hated public speaking at school and now I can easily talk in front of large audiences anywhere.  The key is to understand that you have a valuable message to tell and the audience has come to hear you deliver that message to them. They are eager to learn from you so go ahead and teach them. Where can you speak?
      a) Webinars – ASUG, SAP, and others have webinars on a regular basis – Just apply to speak
      b) Seminars  – SAP Insider is a popular one – They have many related conferences and seminars – Submit an abstract and go from there
  5. NETWORK : Now that you are a master of your domain and you are getting visibility of yourself in the right circles it’s time for some networking. You need to be constantly looking for new experts to discuss ideas with. Once you establish a network you need to nurture those in the network. These are your trusted peers, but they are also people too. Don’t only hook up with them when you need something. Find out how each is doing and nurture the relationship. I find the people in my network incredible and have treasured every experience I have shared with them and they with me. People make this work fun.
    I want to give a quick shout out to a few people that have inspired me over the last 20 years, starting with Ebert Spreeth, Dawid Janse van Rensburg, Kato Oosthuizen and  Johan Delport who inspired me pre-SAP and Jon Reed, Wouter Van Heddeghem, David Propst, Martin Rowan, Jim Cameron, Vishwanath and Dave Moore. I’ve known these people for many years now and have molded some aspect of my career around their inspiration.

    So how do we network?

    a) Web – The web is the easiest most efficient way to keep in touch with those in your inner circle. In addition it is also a good way to start new relationships with your peers. The web shrinks the whole world down on to your computer. I have great peers in Germany, Poland, India, Australia, South Africa, … and have yet to meet most of them but I consider them all pretty close (and I do hope to meet them all one day)
    The usual sites like SCN, LinkedIn, ERPGenie are good places to see what others are up to
    b) Conferences – Go out and talk to people at conferences you are attending or speaking at. Remember that these people are attending the same conference as you so they are likely to share the same interests and possibly skill set as you
    c) Projects – This is the most effective method. As you move from project to project working with your peers you can choose the ones that you want to associate further with and also those that you don’t. When you leave a project make sure that you are linked up (or LinkedIn) with those that you wish to communicate with further
    d) Be on the lookout for people that are going places – shakers. Feed off their positive excitement and become a mover and shaker yourself.

Keys to a successful SAP career

If I were to write down 10 points to take from this they would be:

  1. Maintain honesty and Integrity – The SAP world is still small and word gets around about whether you have done well or whether you have not!!!
  2. Strive to be the best at what you do – Don’t settle for mediocrity, strive for greatness
  3. Find a value niche in your focus area and run with it – Focus your talent and be the best at it
  4. Work hard and smart
  5. Network with movers and shakers
  6. Market yourself through writing and speaking engagements – If people don’t know who you are, what you do and how good you are, what good is that?
  7. Contribute to the SAP community network – Get active, get involved
  8. Have abundance mentality – Share your knowledge with others, there is enough to share with others
  9. Continuously monitor market trends and adapt accordingly
  10. Get excited!!! Have fun with it. People will feed from your passion and excitement

I know there is a lot to add and I’m really looking forward to some comments from those who share the passion with me. Tell me what you think is a great quality that defines a truly unique world-class consultant?

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7 Comments

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  1. It was a good way to motivate the Self-Starters and Go-getters. Nice Blog.

    Regards,
    Venkat

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  2. Trevor Naidoo
    Thanks for the really insightful blog Kevin. I have just one complaint though, you don’t blog nearly enough as you should be doing on SCN 🙁

    I feel your contributions add immense value to the SCN community, looking forward to getting more guidance from you more often on SCN 🙂

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    1. Kevin Wilson Post author
      Thank you for the kind words. I do appreciate it.
      I have stepped up my contributions to SCN recently since the publication of my book on SAP EM. Writing a book takes a special commitment especially in the time department…
      All the best
      Kevin
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  3. Jon Reed
    Kevin,

    Well, that’s as well as you can put it I think! I have certainly seen these principles work effectively for you and many other colleagues. They are “road tested” if you will.

    One thing you touched on but I would amplify even more is to connect your SAP interests to something you are passionate about. I don’t believe you can strive to be the best at something if you heart is not in it. This becomes important because many SAP job seekers think more about chasing the skills that are hot rather than tapping into the interests that really fuel them. Connecting that inner desire with updates SAP product experience becomes very important.

    Congrats on having the book behind you and glad to see you blogging more. You’re an asset to the community and ERPgenie.com is part of what I see as the SAP ecosystem that helps to make all this career growth possible, without huge financial expenditures – just internal motivation!

    See you at ASUG/Sapphire.

    – Jon

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    1. Kevin Wilson Post author
      Thanks Jon, we’ve talked about these topics in the past and I hadn’t put my thoughts on paper to date so I thought now was a good time… as well as to add to the visibility of the SCN Career center.

      Looking forward to ASUG / Saphire. Will definitely catch up over a cold one…. coke that is 😉

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