Michelle King 

Eclectic. That’s the word that Michelle King uses to describe the career journey that eventually led her into leadership.

Amid the wide variety of roles, teams and companies she’s worked in, some key principles have always kept her grounded throughout her windy career path. “[I believe that] organizations should be focused on helping people succeed,” she shared during our conversation. With a knack for problem solving, affinity for helping people, and formal education in organizational leadership and technology, Michelle always found herself gravitating to the training and development space. Presently, she is interested in how to best incorporate the people aspect into technology.

Championing enterprise mindfulness

In her current role as a Senior Director of Enablement at SAPMichelle leads a team of 7 enablement managers, 3 of which are remote. She is also an active proponent of corporate mindfulness and is a Mindfulness Instructor for SAP employees worldwide. 

How would you describe your leadership philosophy? 

  • Lift as you climb. If you are a people manager, your number one job is to help your people be as successful as possible, allowing them to grow and develop. 
  • Lead by example, not by directive. The top down approach rarely works these days. Set an example for your team and support them along the way. 
  • Hire people that will add to the team in a key way. Look for something a bit different such as unique skillsets and interests. A growth mindset is also essential - you want people on your team that will be up for solving the challenges that will surely arise. 

What would you say are the key ingredients for developing strong working relationships? 

  • Empathy. Always try to put yourself in other people’s shoes and learn about where they are coming from. 
  • Staying Curious. There’s so much that you can learn from the people that you work with if you’re curious. Go beyond assumptions and in tough situations, try to find out what’s really going on.  
  • Looking for ways to collaborate. Trying to find a win-win situation rather than pushing your individual agenda will take you much further. 

Most important lesson(s) you’ve learned in leadership? 

  • Perception may not always be true, but it’s important information. Know that you’re  responsible for the perception of you and your reputation. If you’re not careful, how people perceive you can become your reputation. Asking your team to do a 360 review of your leadership qualities is a useful tool to learn about how you are perceived. 
  • Be open to feedback. Seek it and request it. Create a safe space with your team to share feedback both ways and use it to grow. 
  • Treat employees like your peers rather than subordinates. Show them your full support and always ask: ‘how can I help’? 

Top advice for managers? 

  • Your first job is your people. Sit down with each of the individuals on your team and really get to know them. Find out where they’re at. Open the door wide. Get to know who they are, what do they like to do etc. 

Experience using Dabra 

Prior to using DabraMichelle was using OneNote for meeting notes and found that they ended up all over the place and became tricky to navigate through. She sees Dabra as an intuitive collaboration tool that also provides valuable personality insights on the individual you’re working with. It was helped her team effectively communicate on 1:1s and hone in on the most important things to focus on in their time together.  

Enjoyed this article? Check out other interviews in the Leadership 1:1 series:

Build trust with the people you work with through productive, focused 1:1 meetings with Dabra by SAP. Try it out today.  

 


Oren Shatil

From a developer to an uplifting people leader, Oren Shatil shares his unexpected journey into the world of management with the Dabra team and the lessons he’s learned along the way.

Going into management was not in the initial plan for Oren at the beginning of his career. Starting off as a developer, he quickly realized that he much preferred human interaction and connection over days spent sitting in front of the screen coding, and that this role wasn’t ideal for him.

From developer to people leader

After a few years, he made the leap into a consulting and later into project manager role, where he would spend 5 years before management opportunity opened up for him to step into. Having, at that point, zero prior management experience, he took this growth opportunity very seriously, teaching himself as much as he could about how to lead people.

Today, Oren leads a global product management team for SAP S/4HANA technology and innovations. The foundational pillars of his people-centered approach to management are: self-awareness, coaching and striving to understand each employee’s motivations. We sat down with Oren to pick his brain on all things leadership.

How would you describe your leadership philosophy? 

It comes down to three things:

Empathy, compassion and empowerment. 

I strive to understand each of my employees and then help them grow into the best versions of themselves. 

What would you say are the key ingredients for developing strong working relationships? 

Compassion: be curious and genuinely interested in people and try to understand their drive and motivation. This will make working together much easier and enjoyable. 

Most important lesson(s) you’ve learned in leadership? 

The power of listening. There’s so much that can be learned from taking a step back, slowing down and patiently listening to your employees before jumping to conclusions. 

Top advice for managers? 

Embrace differences. They’ll help you see new perspectives and add depth to your work. 

I would also provide separate recommendations depending on whether I’m talking to a new or experienced manager: 

  • For a new manager: I would recommend always observing and trying to learn as much as you can through observation. There’s so much that you can pick up from your employees, colleagues and other managers regarding how to lead. 
  • For an experienced manager: I would stress the importance of shifting the focus to employee needs and motivation and striving to empower your people. In turn, this will make you a true leader rather than just a manager. 

How have you been using Dabra? 

"Prior to using Dabra, I used email to manage my meetings. With Dabra, I am able to have everything in one place and always accessible, always able to document and keep track of all of my meetings with my team members."

Enjoyed this article? Check out other interviews in the Leadership 1:1 series:

Build trust with the people you work with through productive, focused 1:1 meetings with Dabra by SAP. Try it out today.  


Frederic Page

 

How do we ensure that the next generation of the workforce is prepared to tackle the tough challenges that the future has in store? This is a daily question for Fred Page, Faculty Lead for the SAP Sales Academy.

With a passion for training and development, Fred has spent much of his career designing and delivering effective organizational training plans. This eventually led him to relocate from Europe to SAP’s Sales Academy in San Ramon, California, where he moved his way up from a training subject matter expert, to manager, to faculty lead where he’s responsible for overseeing the academy’s curriculum. 

The SAP Sales Academy is a 12 week training program that prepares over 200 early talent employees per year (coming from all over the world) on everything they need to know to excel in a career in enterprise software sales.

Bringing diversity to enterprise software sales

Fred describes the group of program participants that come in with each cohort as energizing and motivating – with 20% being new college graduates and 80% young professionals with less than 5 years of experience. The SAP Sales Academy has an impressive gender diversity for the tech industry, a 50/50 splitand is structured around the motto everyone is a student and everyone is a teacher 

Today, Fred’s direct team consists of 6 trainers based in California and a network of subject matter experts, vendors and alumni to keep in touch with. People are the central focus of his role: from the students coming from all over the world, to faculty members, to the external vendors brought in for training, his day-to-day involves managing many relationships with these various stakeholders. We sat down with Fred to learn his top leadership advice.

How would you describe your leadership philosophy? 

Always stay agile. At the SAP Academy, we are continuously looking for ways to improve what we do, iterating and adjusting the curriculum. This mindset can translate to leadership as well. There’s always room to make things better if you’re open and receptive to feedback. 

What would you say are the key ingredients for developing strong working relationships? 

  • Being curious about other people. Bring this curiosity into your interactions with people and take the time to really get to know them and build rapport. 
  • Keep in touch on a regular basis. Whether it’s checking in on how a colleague’s vacation was to taking a minute to wish them a happy birthday, strong working relationships are built on ongoing, continuous communication. 
  • Build a strong network and invest in itBe generous with your network and look for ways to add value to others, it will pay off in the long term. 

Most important lesson(s) you’ve learned in leadership? 

  • Your people already have the answers. But they may not know it or have confidence in them. As a manager, the best thing you can do is take the time to coach your people by asking them questions that will help them get to those answers. 

Top advice for managers? 

  • Put your people first. Always ask “How can I help you? What can I do? What do you think?”. As a manager, your people are your best asset and what you should be investing in. 
  • Show gratitude and appreciation. Give thanks to the people you work with. Not only will this help boost team motivation, but it’s also been shown to create an amazing working culture. 
  • Be open to feedback. And admit that you’re wrong sometimes. Being open and vulnerable with your team will set the stage for trust and openness in your working relationships.  

How have you been using Dabra? 

I manage many relationships in my day-to-day and Dabra has become an essential solution to help me stay on top of all of my 1:1 interactions. I always have a session open on my laptop and iPhone and use it as a digital assistant to help me prepare, track and follow up on meetings. Dabra has truly improved my productivity and allows me focus on the most important part of my job: developing the people that I work with and shaping the next generation of talent at SAP. 

Enjoyed this article? Check out other interviews in the Leadership 1:1 series:

Build trust with the people you work with through productive, focused 1:1 meetings with Dabra by SAP. Try it out today.  


Introducing: 1:1 Meeting Templates

An effective meeting starts with a clear agenda. To quote advice from Steve Jobs "you should never go to a meeting...without a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve".

1:1 Meeting Templates

To help you get the most out of your 1:1s in Dabra, we've just launched nine Meeting Templates, a.k.a. actionable guides for a variety of meetings, built on talent management best practices. From goal setting, to feedback conversations, we've got your key check-ins covered.

These 1:1 meeting templates are now available in the Dabra app. To use them, just start typing a new topic and select one of the suggested templates from the drop down menu:

 

Selecting one of these templates will populate an actionable guide for your next meeting agenda, which includes a suggested flow and questions. You can make edits and add/remove questions as needed to fit your meeting.

You can find additional guidance on each of the templates in the Meeting Templates section of the Dabra Help Center.

Read more about each template:

Which template will you be using most? Let us know in the comments below!


Caitie Sullivan

Career paths rarely follow a straight trajectory, typically encountering bumps, turns and detours along the way - Caitie Sullivan’s career path is a prime example.  

A San Francisco native, Caitie did not initially set out to be a program manager for a competitive early development program, the SAP Silicon Valley Next Talent (SVNT) rotational program when she grew up. Far from that – she started her studies in physical therapy but ended up completing grad school in Industrial Organizational Psychology, with 7 internships and plenty of experimentation along the way. A common thread throughout the whole experience was a yearning for building community, passion for technology and a desire to help others. 

Today, she is a well-respected leader and mentor to over 30 SVNT program participants in the Bay Area, which will soon more than double with the growth of the program. We sat down with Caitie in Palo Alto, California to learn about her journey into leadership and the key lessons that she’s learned along the way.

How would you describe your leadership philosophy?

Transparency and authenticity“I believe in telling people the truth and providing actionable feedback to help program participants succeed,” says Caitie.

What would you say are the key ingredients for developing strong working relationships?
  • Delivering on promises 
  • Responsiveness to your team (Caitie has a track record of responding to emails within 10 minutes) 
  • Setting clear expectations from day one 
  • Being vulnerable with your team, which allows them to feel more comfortable with me 
  • Bonus: serving constructive feedback sandwiches to your team, when needed. These consist of three ingredients: what they’re doing well on, element of improvement, the impact on their future if they improve
Most important lesson(s) you’ve learned in leadership? 

Never blind sight your manager. Being in a management position herself, Caitie stresses the importance of open communication between employees and managerswhich ensures that managers are always kept in the loop on any pressing or urgent matters.

Top advice for managers? 
  • Set expectations on day one. Take the time to level set with your employees on your management style, communication preferences, habits, ticks etc. at the beginning of your working relationship. Give everyone on the team a chance to also share how they work best. This will help mitigate many frustrations that will inevitably come up while working together if this was never discussed.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell the truth. It’s might not always be easy but will be greatly appreciated by everyone that you work with in the long run; especially younger talents. 
  • When recruiting, look for coachability. If you want to build things that matter, hire people who matter. If you're faced with a decision between fancy degre/title or scrappy but coachable talents, always go for the latter. Prestigious schools and degrees don't help when you're having a challenging time working with someone every day because of their attitude, adaptability or resourcefulness.
  • Use Dabra for your 1:1s. Dabra Team: 'ditto' :)
Experience using Dabra by SAP

Caitie describes the beginning of her current role as being put in a ‘sink or swim’ situation. Suddenly having to manage 30 people with zero data on them. Upon discovering DabraCaitie explains that she now had one convenient tool for managing all these people: a place to collaborate in 1:1 meetings, assign action items, see how each employees likes to receive feedback, their motivation, and predictive reactions to new ideas/projects- all leading to building solid working relationships with each one of them.

Collaborating through Dabra, she’s able to address topics that program participants want to talk to her about ahead of time, reducing the need for a 1:1 on some weeks. She believes that integrating this tool into her day-to-day has allowed her to become a better manager, streamlining her communication with employees and helping her be a responsive leader. 

Build trust with the people you work with through productive, focused 1:1 meetings with Dabra by SAP. Try it out today. 


See you at SuccessConnect Las Vegas!

The Dabra team will be at SuccessConnect Las Vegas (September 16th-18th) to share our best practices for building a culture of  continuous dialogue using the right tools and mindset. Here's an overview of where you'll find us at this year's event:

Sessions:

Dabra GM, Vitaly Vainer, will be sharing recommendations for effectively building a culture of continuous dialogue derived from the stories that we hear from Dabra users every day.

How to Boost Employee Engagement and Create a Culture of Continuous Dialogue

11:00 am - 11:20 am Wednesday, September 18th

Tasked with increasing employee engagement but not sure where to start? Explore the value of replacing traditional performance ratings with a strategy for continuous dialogue through more-focused one-on-one manager-employee meetings. Learn more as the team for the Dabra digital assistant by SAP takes you through best practices and shares the results of a pilot with an HR organization at SAP.

[Add to your agenda] 

Learn about the SAP.iO Venture Studio and the HR startups like Dabra that are incubated within.

Get Acquainted with the Revolutionary HR Start-Ups Within SAP

09:00 am - 09:20 am Wednesday, September 18th

What do Post-It Notes, Facebook’s “like” button, and the Sony PlayStation all have in common? These were all innovations created by intrapreneurs, or employee entrepreneurs, within their respective organizations. Discover how SAP is exploring cutting-edge technologies and pioneering new markets with its SAP.iO Venture Studio. Learn how these ventures, like those that extend the SAP SuccessFactors suite, are tackling some of the biggest problems in enterprise software. Hear how Brilliant Hire is improving hiring efficiency and reducing bias, Dabra is driving team performance with AI, and FlexPay is empowering employees to use accumulated but unpaid earnings.

[Add to your agenda]

Demo Station:

Meet the Dabra team at the SAP.iO Venture Studio demo area and we'll be happy to chat and take you through the product. We'll be doing on-site personality assessments to help you understand your leadership style - stop by for a free copy of personalized insights that you can bring back to the office with you.

What’s Next in HR Tech?

All Day | SAP Zone Demo Stations

Discover innovative HR solutions developed within SAP.iO Venture Studio that address some of the most pressing human capital challenges. Meet the “intrapreneurs” that founded the Brilliant Hire network by SAP to improve hiring efficiency and reduce bias, the Dabra digital assistant by SAP to drive continuous dialogue between managers and employees, and the Flexpay by SAP solution to empower employees to use accumulated but unpaid earnings.

[Add to your agenda]

Attending SuccessConnect Las Vegas and want to set up a meeting at the event? Reach out to edna@dabra.ai for scheduling.


Welcome to the new dabra.ai!

You may have noticed that things look a bit different at www.dabra.ai. We're excited to bring you a brand new website to provide an even better experience.

Here are some highlights of what you'll find:

 

Help Center

Want to learn more about how to get started with Dabra, the available features and how to get the most out of the app? Check out the Help Center for: Documentation, How to Guides as well as Meeting Templates to get you have effective 1:1s.

 

FAQ

We heard you - and we've put together a list of the questions that we hear the most.

 

Blog

Look out for regular actionable content to help you get the most out of Dabra. Leadership advice, product updates and tips & tricks for effective, meaningful meetings will all live here.

 

User Stories

We love hearing stories of how Dabra is helping users build strong workplace relationships and have better 1:1s. We'll be sharing them here. Have your own Dabra story that you'd like to share? Send it over to dabra@dabra.ai!

 

Anything else that you'd like to see? Let us know in the comments below.