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It’s not about the shirt.

I have been thinking a number of things through recently and I thought I would take the time to outline them here in good ol’ SCN.

I have been a SAP Mentor since the program began. I remember getting a call from Mark Finnern to ask if I would like to join the program that was being upgraded from the SDN Mentor program. Back then, the SDN Mentor program was a “Craig Cmehil bouncing board” as he worked with some of the issues of the growing community site. I was certainly very excited and honoured to be chosen when the program became formalised as the “SAP Mentors”.

Being an SAP Mentor is one of the most rewarding things you can do in your SAP career. I have always held the opinion that what you give to a community is far more important than what you receive back from it. So this being call for new mentors season ( and they are being announced very soon) I thought I would pen a few thoughts as to what a new mentor should be looking to achieve in their mentor-ship.

For starters I will assume you have read the call for new mentors blog and the Foundational Principles document upon which the Mentor program has developed into.


It’s not about the stuff. I have always been one about it not being about the stuff.

It’s not about the shirt.

It’s not about the free bag.

It’s not about being a rockstar.

It’s not about the entry to events.

It’s not about the seating at keynotes.

It’s not about the meetings with SAP Executives

It’s not about getting your name read out on stage by Mark Yolton as a community hero.

It, quite simply, is about what you can give to the community.

That is it. Was that too simple for you?

You might have missed it so I’ll say it again.

Being an SAP Mentor is about what you can give to the community. Actually, being a community member is about what you can give to the community.

I am probably preaching to the choir here because only those who are active and who are blogging are reading this. If you are just using SCN for answers for technical questions (which is a perfectly legitimate use of the site) then you probably haven’t discovered this blog.

I look forward to meeting the new Autumn* mentors as they are announced very shortly. I certainly enjoyed getting to know some of the new Australian mentors that were announced in the Spring* last year.

In conclusion, if you feel that you are up for passionate, massive giving to the community then by all means set a goal to become an SAP Mentor. If you have been gamified by the thought of all those ‘things’ I mentioned above then pull back and think about why you would want to put your name in the ring.

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      • James,

        you probably already know If - Rudyard Kipling

        I guess in this sense the last line can be changed to, you'll be a mentor to others no matter what walk of life.

        That's the beauty of these traits they can be applied in any culture, in any industry, in any situation and they have the same principles, meaning, values, interpretation, results.


        • Andy,

          I was introduced to If by my English teacher when I was about 14. It has become one of my favourites.

          I am glad you enjoyed the post.

          With regards to submitting yourself as a mentor while that is a worthy goal I have found that some goals pursued with too much gusto can become more elusive. Its as if you have a shield that repels the very thing you want to attract.

          If you want access to the peer group of thinkers then I would invite you to come along to the Mentor Monday events.



          • Hi Nigel,

            this is precisely my point and why the journey is indeed the destination the longer the journey takes probably the better off everybody will be for it.

            Regarding Public Mentor Monday's, I attended the one in February and it was interesting, subsequently as far as I could see the March/April ones were moved to favourable APAC time and this was not possible for me.

            There are a lot of people out there, doing a lot of good, who are not visible on SCN or the conference circuit and I think it is these people who should be the next wave of growth for the programme as they will bring the connection between the visible and the invisible.

            I am constantly surprised by how many people in the SAP world who are so unaware of SCN and what is out there, this should be addressed and the gap filled.

            All the best,


    • Thanks for all the great feedback. You are right Frank Koehntopp the shirts are great but the are not the goal. The goal is to contribute. Everything else is cream on the cake that helps and enables your contribution.

  • Hi Nigel,

    Thank you for writing this! You've put it's all about how we can give back to the community. Funny Craig Cmehil is in South Africa for SAP CodeJam...after most people left he gave us a history lesson on how CodeJam and SAP Mentors programme got started....inspiring stuff! (Basically based on people  who are passionate about helping others).

    I think your blog is a much needed reminder for existing mentors and those coming into the programme.


  • Nigel,

    your blog has a poignant message for me, especially the last paragraph, I have a goal make the transition from being a practicing mentor to others in the SAP world to being a SAP Mentor in the SAP world.

    One of the motivations for this goal is closer access to the peer group of similar thinkers in terms of technology and the world in general and the closer relationship to SAP, Product Managers, and upcoming technologies and directions.

    I've mentioned this goal in chats with Marilyn  and there's almost a kind of stigma, somebody wants to be a Mentor, that's not allowed, you have to be invited, well, my answer is, I am comfortable to be honest and open about my goals no matter how long they take to be realised and why not to be open and transparent ?

    The beauty of this goal is, no matter how long it takes, the journey is the destination and

    perhaps the longer it takes, the better I will be off for it 🙂

    All the best,


  • Very well written  Nigel James

    You are absolutely correct, it not about freeware, it about community, and the passion you have for community, as passion is the only car which run you to the destination. Thanks for sharing your thought.