Winners Dream by SAP CEO Bill McDermott (October 2014, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-1-4767-6108-4) chronicles his story from a working class neighborhood in New York to the corner office of one of the world’s most respected software companies.
winner – noun – one that is successful especially through praiseworthy ability and hard work
dream – verb – to think about something that you wish would happen or something that you want to do or be
The book is biographical, chronicling the “journey from corner store to corner office,” according to the book’s subtitle. It’s an inspirational tale because Bill McDermott was not a child of privilege- he has clearly worked hard for every milestone of success in his career.
“Mr. Fullwood, I don’t think you completely understand the situation.” I pause, and then explain. “I told my father as I left him at the train station today, that I guaranteed that I would come home tonight with my employee badge in my pocket. In twenty-one years, I’ve never broken a promise to my dad, and I can’t start now.” Silence. I don’t fill it. Mr. Fullwood looks at me with his head kind of tilted, like a puppy waiting to see what I’m going to do next, but I don’t make the next move.
As an analytics professional, with “classic BusinessObjects” pedigree, I never paid much attention to who was helming SAP. I spent more time studying the analytics roadmap and the ever-changing series of mid-level executives who created it. But there’s a lot to learn from here. Although Mr. McDermott was never the CEO of Xerox, he learned first-hand that a highly successful organization that buries its head in the sand might fade into irrelevance, which explains his passion for casting clear visions (via simple memorable phrases like “on demand, on premise, on device”) and pushing SAP into new frontiers like in-memory and cloud computing. It’s all about being “consumed with what people wanted and how I could give it to them,” whether as a teen-aged deli owner, an entry-level sales rep, a mid-level manager or CEO. Those looking for dirt about the inner workings of SAP won’t find it here. Instead, you’ll find relentless optimism from a business leader with a well-developed emotional intelligence and a positive outlook on work and life.
If your career depends on using SAP software, it’s time well-spent reading to learn more about the man currently leading the company.
- Purchase Winners Dream (hardcover edition) from Amazon.com
- Purchase Winners Dream (Kindle edition) from Amazon.com
- Follow Bill McDermott on Twitter
- Follow Winners Dream on Twitter
- Why Winners Dream, October 2, 2014 LinkedIn Influencer blog by Bill McDermott
- SAP Mentor Tammy Powlas’ book report on Winners Dream, November 15, 2014
- How to Win in Your Career, December 8, 2014 interview with Bill McDermott by Thomas Wailgum/ASUG News
- SAP CEO is telling a winner’s story, December 16, 2014 article by Jane M. Von Bergen/Philadelphia Inquirer
- What Owning a Corner Deli Taught SAP’S CEO About Leadership, May 12, 2015 article by Jared Lindzon/FastCompany
Disclosure of Material Connection: I borrowed a copy of this book from a public library and did not receive it free from its publisher. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”