Archive for May, 2020

Is Everyone OK?

May 31, 2020

Conflict

“Is Everyone OK?” That has historically been my first response when someone brings up the word ‘conflict’. But with each decade, my view of conflict has shifted – from a must-avoid/must-fix mindset to one of more acceptance, tolerance, understanding and appreciation.

Conflict easily comes to the forefront in stressful times, including during the pandemic, when so much is unknown and many are feeling out of control.

Being ever solution-minded and analytical, I found a recent article about conflict, Eight causes of conflicts according to Art Bell and Brett Hart, Feb 14, 2020 . The article categorized all workforce conflicts into eight different types:

  • Conflicting Needs
  • Conflicting Styles
  • Conflicting Perceptions
  • Conflicting Goals
  • Conflicting Pressures
  • Conflicting Roles
  • Different Personal Values
  • Unpredictable Policies

Below are my thoughts on what to do about each of these types of conflicts.  

1.First accept that Conflict is a Part of Life @ Work.

Avoiding conflict may lead to much more conflict, or much more serious conflict. It’s far better to accept the fact that conflict will happen, and to find a way to accept that fact, and a strategy to ensure that relationships remain intact, communication remains transparent, and alignment is made between people, teams, and organization.

2. If you have conflicting Needs, find a way to negotiate a win-win.

This may involve an open discussion about resource management, or a prioritization of need, or even arranging for more resources and information so that all parties are happy.

3. If you have conflicting Styles, it’s critical to be able to understand the position of people who are not-like-you.

Being open-minded and curious will help all parties understand different viewpoints, different approaches. Welcoming other input will in general make teams and products stronger.

4. If you have conflicting Perceptions, it’s hard to agree on how to plan, how to act, how to progress.

It’s only when you understand first that you have mis-matched perceptions, and then work with the other parties to align on perceptions before you can plan, act and progress in a common direction.

5. If you have conflicting Goals, it’s hard to act as ONE, on the same team.

So it’s up to each of us to ensure that we focus on common goals, and understand the inter-relatedness of goals we set for ourselves and others across the organization.

6. If you have conflicting Pressures, work as a team to ensure that you’re delivering for others, and that others are delivering for you.

Trust, communication, planning, are all excellent strategies to help manage conflicts brought on by the pressures of performing when the team is relying on you.  Being a team player, and helping others to perform will help, as will celebrating successes and learning from failures.

7. If you have conflicting Roles, then it’s hard to meet expectations.

When a role doesn’t fit somebody, it’s hard for her/him to perform. Making sure you have the right people in the right role with reasonable expectations will help to address this conflict.

8. If you have different personal Values, it’s sometimes hard to see the others’ reality, and sometimes easy to unintentionally offend someone.

Being open and accepting will help us each be less reactive and judgmental. Being sensitive and thoughtful will help us maintain connections with people not-like-us.

9. If you have Unpredictable Policies, it’s hard for everyone to explain or follow the latest expectations.

Focus only on creating and updating the important policies to ensure you have a functional team and organization. Only making policy changes when necessary, and welcome input from the team.

10. The bottom line is back to the beginning – Conflict WILL exist. These are some keys for managing it well.

    • Create a Culture where Trust is earned and respected.
    • Communicate Continuously, Clearly and Authentically at all levels across the organization.
    • Welcome Collaboration, Diversity and Empowerment.
    • Be Positive: Celebrate Successes. Embrace Learning Opportunities.
    • Align Thinking, Speaking and Action for yourself, for your team, for your organization.

So embrace those opportunities for proactive, positive conflict. Everyone will be OK, and maybe better than OK because of it!

What He Said, What He Meant

May 8, 2020

FountainBlue’s May 8 When She Speaks event on the topic of ‘What He Said, What He Meant’.  

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Our panelists represented a broad range of backgrounds and roles, but they had much in common:

  • They shared a passion for growing people and companies.
  • They work with leaders and managers to create a culture which is vibrant, inclusive, and growth-oriented.
  • They think deeply about human and business issues, and solve problems big and small, focusing on creating meaningful, strategic outcomes.

Below are some of their suggestions for improving communications between men and women in the workplace.

  • Be straightforward, direct, structured and specific in communication with men, especially if they are engineers.
  • Speak to the problem statement rather than the emotions.
  • Be plan-ful, have an agenda, know what you’d like to accomplish and why it must be done.
  • Own any communication challenges or hurdles. Address any confusion directly, immediately, calmly, respectfully.
  • Do well by others, for others, and help them to spread the word about how and why to work with yourself or your team.
  • Be specific with an ask, and clear on why you’re asking for something, what’s in it for others, what success looks like.
  • Welcome all dimensions of diversity – not just race and gender and age, but also disability, child-status, culture, etc.,
  • Know your audience – not all men, not all people are built the same. What are their motivations? 
  • Prove and know your value, your worth, then communicate this with confidence.
  • Be confident in your communications, comfortable in your own value, your own skin.

In closing, our panelists recommend that you be the type of leader who:

  • invests in relationships and people, focusing on the needs of each individual;
  • helps get teams and leaders productive and un-stuck;
  • facilitates forward momentum, forward movement;
  • is a community organizer, standing for the individual and the team and the organization;
  • is vulnerable and authentic and a good story-teller; and
  • embraces a larger vision, acts with high-integrity, focuses on continuous learning and collaboration.

Resource:

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Please join me in thanking our hosts at Oracle and our panelists for FountainBlue’s May 8 When She Speaks event on the topic of ‘What He Said, What He Meant’:

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Marilyn Becker, Senior Director, People Analytics, Western Digital
  • Panelist Carina Fang, Director, Program Management IoT Division, Synaptics 
  • Panelist Regina Lawless, Global Director, Diversity, Equality & Inclusion, Micron Technology 
  • Panelist David Ortiz, Senior Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, Oracle 
  • Panelist Stacey Porter, VP of People Operations and Strategy, Outset Medical Inc.

The Last Mile

May 8, 2020

AutonomousDriving

FountainBlue’s May 8 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘The Last Mile’. We were fortunate to have a diverse range of executives in attendance who shared a wide range of perspectives around the last mile opportunities and challenges.

There were discussions about the challenges for delivering products and services to the last mile and the complexity of tasks necessary to make this happen, including navigating (often crowded, inconsistent and poor) road conditions, and the contact-less movement of parcels for the sake of efficiency and safety. 

Our executives agreed that most of the expense and resources are around delivery to the last mile, and of that distance, the delivery to that last 100 meters – from the curbside to the right door, to the right person. 

Solutions ranged from simulations to robotics to drones, all taking into account privacy and security issues, all leveraging AI and data to optimize results. Below are predictions on how we will be delivering to the last mile going forward.

  • There may be more of an emphasis on commercial vehicles rather than on autonomous driving. 
  • There may be smaller and more frequent deliveries.
  • Enabling people to better work from home is not just relevant now, but also for the foreseeable future as the Future of Work has fundamentally changed.
  • Simulations of how we move and travel might help companies and leaders better plan for last mile deliveries.
  • AR/VR solutions might help companies serve their customers in their homes and businesses, without having to be physically present to do so.
  • Software and automation might help customers to personalize and troubleshoot on their own, with contact-less support.
  • Rural areas which have previously been beyond the reach of delivery services may soon receive deliveries to the door.
  • The use of lockers might become more popular, allowing delivery services to deliver to a local store or market rather than directly to the door of the customer.
  • Leveraging the data around how we commute and travel will help us better plan optimal transit options for workers and citizens.

Our final thoughts were around how we can all plan better to serve more people, including those in most need. Every company, every leader, no matter the background or industry, must be a digital leader, to better serve everyone in that last mile.

Doing Well, While Doing Right

May 1, 2020

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There are overwhelming down-sides to the COVID-19 pandemic – the isolation, the inconveniences, the uncertainty, the economic impact all take their toll.

But one of the up-sides is that people have the time to realize what’s for real and even who’s for real.

This time has helped me to focus on the types of leaders and companies that would make a difference doing well, while doing right, for these times of the pandemic, and forever thereafter. 

I personally use this ‘doing-well-while-doing-right’ filter to decide what I want to work on, what I’d like to support, how I help make things happen, who is part of the team. I hope that you also find these guidelines useful.

Doing Well

  1. Demonstrating Traction – A great company might start with a great idea, but the traction and momentum really define whether the company will succeed. Look for companies who have happy customers, sustainable revenues, growing market opportunity.
  2. Embracing Excellence – Anything worth doing is worth doing well. A successful company will have high standards of excellence, and the policies, leadership and commitment in place to perpetuate a culture of excellence.
  3. Leveraging Technology – Running excellent and scalable operations and delivering personalized products and services are increasingly required to grow companies and returns. It’s difficult to do these things consistently well and at scale without integrating technology.
  4. Streamlining Operations – Collaboration across business units, partnering with customers and partners will help streamline and scale operations and optimize efficiency and customer satisfaction.
  5. Managing Change – Change is a given. Planning for change is a necessity. Banking on those plans is a recipe for disaster. So well things don’t go as planned, leaders will step up to adapt, pivot and shift. Sometimes there’s opportunity in the chaos, given the right mindset and perspective.
  6. Overcoming Logjams – No company, no leader can be in the flow all the time every time. When logjams happen, leaders are in the spotlight – to see how they respond, how they adjust and pivot, how they learn, how they support everyone to work through the obstructions.
  7. Learning from Miscues – Nobody’s perfect. Companies and leaders who survive miscues, even serious ones, are proving that they’re learning from them.
  8. Positioning for Scale – Companies that do well think strategically about the market opportunity, plan based on models for success, execute based on their plans, shift based on their findings, and ultimately position themselves for scaling, when and where it makes sense.
  9. Involving an Ecosystem of Partners – Successful companies know what they do well and partner with whole ecosystems of providers to optimize service to the customer.
  10. Reaching for the Next Opportunity – Complacency is not an option. Change is a given, and the successful company, the successful leader is continually reaching for the next adjacent opportunity.

Doing Right

  1. Taking Care of People – Doing right means providing goods and services which ultimately help people live, work and connect better.
  2. Taking Care of the Earth – Doing right means supporting the earth – the air, the soil, the nutrients it needs.
  3. Taking Care of Staff – Doing right means treating your people well, and empowering and engaging them with challenging and fulfilling work.
  4. Taking Care of Ecosystem of Partners – Doing right means creating mutually beneficial partnerships and collaborations which better serve all parties.
  5. Leading By Example – Doing right means thinking, speaking and saying what you’ll do and standing behind what you do, while learning at every opportunity, with open-mindedness and humility.
  6. Adhering to Morals and Values – Doing right means being clear on your own morals and values, and making decisions based on these values, while also accepting and supporting others for the values they live by.
  7. Inspiring Others – Doing right by all of the above will inspire others, and help them to do the same.

Have you thought more deeply about who you are, who you want to work with, what you want to do? 

May you find joy and purpose through these challenging times, and centeredness and strength to help you pull through stronger than ever.