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.  


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.