SQL Quiz #4

Chris Shaw has started up round 4 of his excellent SQL Quiz series. I was tagged by that crazy dynamic SQL guy, Jeremiah Peschka, who was tagged by the SQLBatman, who was in turn tagged by Mr. Shaw himself.

The question this time is…

Who has been a great leader in your career and what made them a great leader?

I’ve had some great managers, and I’ve known some great leaders. It’s hard to differentiate, and even harder to narrow it done to just one person. But if I have to choose just one, then I’m going with the person who first had a major impact on my career: Richard.

Richard is the type of person that just commands silent respect. When he speaks, people listen. But the other side of that is, when other people speak, he listens too. You never have a problem doing what he asks, because you know that he’d never ask you to do something that he would not do himself. In fact, chances are he’s already doing the work of two people, just so he doesn’t have to overload *you*. You know he has your best interests at heart, even when it’s not necessarily the best for him or the company. By the time something comes up where he needs help, he’s got a contingent of people willing to bend over backwards for him, whether it’s working late or just making the coffee, because he’s earned their trust, respect, and admiration.

No doubt about it, Richard is a great manager. But take all of these great managerial and interpersonal traits and add vision, and now you have a great leader who’s capable of moving proverbial mountains. And Richard has vision in spades.

I’ve unfortunately lost touch with Richard over the years, but I’ve never forgotten the lessons I’ve learned from him. Richard, if you ever stumble across this… thank you.

Tag! You’re it. Don’t break the chain, or SQLBatman will break YOU.

SQL Quiz, Part 2: Toughest Challenges

Chris Shaw posted a new SQL Quiz yesterday, asking “What are the largest challenges that you have faced in your career and how did you overcome those?” Brent Ozar tagged me when he responded to Chris’ challenge.

Can I super-size my SQL database?

When I left my position at a small logistics company in Indianapolis, I went from a couple of relatively small databases to a pretty large environment. I’m talking 10mm row tables to billion row tables, with comparable increases in transactional volumes. I quickly found that developing in a small environment can be very different from developing in a large one.

To improve my skills, I hit the internet. I discovered the value of community resources like sqlservercentral.com and the joys of reading technical blogs. I also became intimately acquainted with Books Online. Perhaps most helpful of all, I discovered how knowledgeable and talented some of my new colleagues were; if I didn’t know the answer, I sought out their advice.

It’s like a promotion but with longer hours and no pay increase.

A few years back, I was given responsibility for a pricey software deployment. I knew I was not qualified to lead the project, and even mentioned it to my boss, but there wasn’t really anyone else to do it. There was quite a bit of work to be done, and not a lot of time to do it. In addition to leading the project, learning the new software, and designing custom modules, I also needed to learn about SAP integration. And it didn’t help that all of the column names were in German!

In the past, I had always been a self-reliant, one-(wo)man army, but I knew I needed help. I asked for a team and was allowed to hand-pick individuals from different groups to form a deployment team. There is no doubt in my mind that I could not have completed the project without this team. They were knowledgeable, resourceful, hard working, and fun to be around. The last part might not sound like a big deal, but when you start working 80-100 hours a week, you really don’t want to be around someone obnoxious.

The project certainly had its ups and downs and its rough spots. Some were the result of inexperience, and some of the issues were completely outside of our control. Nonetheless, the project was a success, and I certainly learned a lot.

Tag! You’re it.

I’m tagging…