Archive for March, 2021

Show Me the Data

March 19, 2021

FountainBlue’s March 19 Front Line Managers’ Online meeting was on the topic of ‘Show Me the Data’ featuring:

  • Zane Hall, Executive Director, IT, Maxim
  • Tracy Meersman, Director Sales Enablement, Skybox Security
  • Ravindra Thadani, Sr. Director – IT Business Applications & Services, AMD

Our panelists shared their wide and deep experience around data collection, management and reporting. They commented on how we can evolved from the days of large file cabinets to an era where data is kept in the cloud, and now on the edge as well.

They consistently remarked on the volume of data and provided advice on how we can better strategically and tactically manage data.

Thoughts on Being Strategic

  • Start with the end in mind, to design a strategy for gathering and reporting on data which reports on specific objectives. Develop a consensus and understanding of what’s being measured for what purpose. 
  • Focus on the needs of the customers – whether they are internal or external.
  • Data is used across use cases, across industries. 
  • Separate measurement from ownership so that there’s less likely to be a conflict of interest, and more likely to be objectivity.
  • Embrace Data Democratization – provide the data and tools to the people, with clear policies and guidelines on how to measure, use and report on the data collected
  • Ensure there’s not an agenda around the data. 
  • You will get garbage-in->garbage-out (GIGO) if you don’t measure the right data. 
  • You can get data to make the case for just about anything – but make sure that the report/the data is valid.
  • Data doesn’t have an ROI, it has a POC so plan accordingly.
  • Understand the velocity of change around the data collected so you can have the right strategy on how to manage it.
  • What’s the so-what of data? What actions/decisions would it trigger?
  • Think through who needs to know what, when and why?

Thoughts on Improving Execution

  • Provide guidance on data usage and governance on how to use it
  • Make the conversations around data not personal, the culture data-philic.
  • Agree on metrics and how to report on these metrics
  • Develop and use a Common language around the data
  • Ensure Compliance
  • Password Management
  • Providing Security at the Data Level  
  • Proactively Manage home and work networks

In closing, we’ll conclude that data is the lifeblood of the organization. How we use it, communicate with it, manage it, work with it, says much about our culture, our leadership, our ability to get things done.

Be the Brand You Seek to Be

March 12, 2021

FountainBlue’s March 12 When She Speaks women in leadership series program, on the topic of ‘Be the Brand You Seek to Be’. Please join me in thanking our hosts at Maxim and our esteemed panelists. We were fortunate to have a remarkably talented and centered group of panelists to speak on our panel on the topic of ‘Be the Brand You Seek to Be’. Below are notes from the discussion.

Know Yourself and Be True to Yourself

  • Make the time to know what you’re good at (skills), what you like to do (passion), what the market needs are (market), and find the intersection between the three.
  • Know your values and honor them in your interactions, doing right by others, well for your company. 

Evolve, Learn and Grow with Your Brand

  • Know where the customers and markets are going and evolve your strategy and your brand to meet these emerging needs.
  • Don’t expect perfection from yourself or from others, but do expect to learn from your experiences, both good and bad.

Take Ownership of Your Brand

  • Proactively define your brand, rather than have others define it for you/make assumptions about you.
  • Proactively address any stains you might have on your brand, making amends, re-building perceptions and relationships where necessary.
  • Align intentions and perceptions.
  • How you respond to a scenario will speak to your brand.
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Be Other-Centric and Results-Focused

  • Build broad and deep relationships. 
  • Understand the needs and motivations of others and collaborate with others to deliver results.
  • Be the person who consistently delivers results, preferably in a wide range of circumstances.

As we look to a future which will be more collaborative, more connected, more immersive, more digital, more socially conscious, it’s more important than ever that our brand is Open, Resilient, Persistent and Resourceful.

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Please join me in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s March 12 When She Speaks women in leadership series program, on the topic of ‘Be the Brand You Seek to Be’ and our hosts at Maxim.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Marie Le, Chief Marketing Officer, Good Deeds
  • Panelist Laura Owen, Chief Human Resource Officer, Maxim Integrated
  • Panelist Krista Pavlakos, Senior Director, Marketing Communications & Demand Creation, Renesas Electronics
  • Panelist Monika Thakur, Vice President, SaaS Engineering, Oracle
  • with opening remarks by Karthi Gopalan, Product Line Director, Mobile Power BU, Maxim Integrated and
  • closing remarks by Cara Bilinski, Executive Director, IT PMO, Maxim Integrated

Innovating on the Edge

March 12, 2021

Innovating on the Edge

FountainBlue’s March 12 VIP Roundtable on the ‘Innovating on the Edge’ topic included executives representing a wide breadth of backgrounds and perspectives. We began with some definitions about the ‘Edge’. In the ‘old days’, the Edge might be defined by where the wires end – at the point of going wireless. But today, most things are not hard-wired, and we look more at the edge of the cloud – where the cloud meets the sensors and devices.Our executives agree that it’s becoming increasingly more important to innovate and manage on the edge, but there are many business and logistical challenges for doing this well. 

  • Data Challenges: The volume of data generated by devices on the edge is immense and the challenges are varied.
  • Relevancy: getting filtered and relevant data to the right reports and programs
  • Latency: the time it takes to get the data to the right report and programs
  • Movement: moving data from the edge to other areas in the network and in the cloud can be complicated and takes time
  • Storage: management and maintenance of current and past data can be complicated and expensive

Problems beyond the data include:

  • Computational Issues: programs processing of the volumes of data to understand what’s relevant, what the implications are
  • Outdated and Sub-optimal Programs: legacy applications and other programs on enterprise networks may not be as effective and may even pose security challenges and additional expenses
  • Communicating between moving entities: car-to-car, car-to-object, car-to-people communication has its unique challenges which require collaboration between many stakeholders – from cities to auto dealers, from government officials to 5G developers, from business leaders to consumers
  • Infrastructure and Policy Challenges: we need the policies, support and funding so that we can invest in infrastructure upgrades which further allow for innovating on the edge

Below are best practices for innovating on the edge.

  • Practice Data Gravity, which treats data at its origination site, rather than moving it to another location before working with it. This addresses the data issues around latency, storage and movement.
  • When filtering for relevant data on the edge, the algorithms don’t need to be that precise, just identifying data that’s in the right ballpark.
  • Invest in solutions which minimize latency, especially when lives are at stake –  for example for healthcare and automotive solutions.
  • Design smaller form factors but with more functionality and more control.
  • Get immediate, deep and broad visibility on security exposure and breaches.
  • Create and join partnerships with carriers, vendors, providers, regulators to support the infrastructure needed to innovate on the edge.
  • Look to the AI for the historical trends and integrate that into your solution,  while also looking at Machine Learning to make predictions based on past behaviors and information.
  • Optimize for tiny computers on the Edge, which can do much more processing more quickly. 
  • Design more sophisticated environmental sensors which would give real-time feedback, monitoring for specific issues. 
  • Pay close attention to the user experience – what’s intended and what’s experienced. 

The bottom line is that we will all continue to innovate on the edge, and companies and consumers will continue to reap the benefits of it in our day-to-day lives. 
Resource: March 8, 2021: Global Mission Critical Communications Market Report 2021: AI-powered IoT Critical Communication Market in Public Safety will Surpass $20 Billion by 2028 https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-mission-critical-communications-market-report-2021-ai-powered-iot-critical-communication-market-in-public-safety-will-surpass-20-billion-by-2028-301242381.html

Change Management Best Practices

March 8, 2021

FountainBlue’s March 5 Front Line Managers’ Online meeting was on the topic of ‘Change Management Best Practices’. My thanks also to our panelists for their participation. Our panelists were certainly experienced prior to the pandemic, but the events of 2020 and the resulting changes have made them more adept, more courageous, more gracious in the face of change. 

They agreed that when dealing with change, be bold about what to do, courageous about how to do it, gentle with yourself as you manage through it, open-minded about how to repeat the cycle. Below is a summary of other suggestions and recommendations around change management. 

Be the Best YOU you can be

  • Be courageous, strategic and humble enough to pivot through the changes, knowledgeable and connected enough to be agile, making it up as you go (within guidelines), and practical and tactical enough to keep shifting, measuring and correcting with your adjustments.
  • Reflect on your ‘Zone of Genius’, your personal Super Power. Leverage that when appropriate. Hone it and learn from it.
  • Push through the fear with microbursts of energy, small trials with clear objectives and guidelines for success.  

Manage Your Team Through Change

  • Be more empowering, more inclusive, more supportive of your people through these changes. 
  • Remember that Change will impact people from all backgrounds at all levels, but it will impact everyone differently. Be open and curious enough to help others adjust to changes.
  • Look not just on the change that’s happening, but also at the ripple effects of the change on yourself, your team, your product, your customers and plan accordingly.
  • Get the team aligned to a common rhythm, and build engagement and connections following that team rhythm. 
  • Create many touchpoints for individual team members and the overall team.
  • Create and nurture a culture which invites trial and error, and learning from both wins and losses. 

Be Customer-Centric

  • Put your customers first with every change. 
  • Being customer-centric and developing collaborative strategies will create an ecosystem of partners which would increase the likelihood of surviving and thriving through changes. 

Embrace Technology

  • Fortunately, technology will continue to evolve to support leaders in envisioning and creating changes which better connect people, better support customers. But only companies and leaders willing to make investments in technology advances shall reap those rewards. 
    • Quote – we have God-like technology, run by Medieval institutions, and people with Paleolithic emotions. Which leaders can help rise above their more primitive emotions (including fear) and the constraints of short-sighted, inflexible organizations? 

This pandemic and its aftermath has taught us yet again that change is not easy, but it is inevitable. It also provided the bonus lesson about our shared humanity and challenged us to collaborate with others to take change by the horn, and together shift to a more gracious, more sustainable mindset benefitting more people.

The Best Teams: 10 Principles of Exceptional Teams

March 1, 2021

I love it when great leaders point to their teams after being acknowledged for their achievements. Here are some key principles that make teams exceptional. 

  1. Each member focuses on ‘bettering the ball‘, making the overall play better for everyone involved. This is independent of the role of the player, the goal of the game, the state of the ball, or the pressure in the moment. If everyone is able to ‘better the ball’ just a little, the entire play made by the collective team will improve immensely.
  2. Each member of the team believes in every other member of the team. This doesn’t mean that they believe everyone can do everything well, but they do believe that each person can and will do the important things well, and/or speak up if she/he can’t.
  3. When a member of a team flubs, other members provide support and help them to learn from the experience so they can get up and try again. 
  4. Each member of the team is courageous and confident enough to own up to their errors, and get support from other team members to learn from these errors, strengthening the individual member and the overall team. 
  5. Members of the team respect each other for owning up to and learning from their errors.
  6. Each member of the team gives other members the benefit of the doubt that they are working hard to help the overall team. If proven otherwise, the members work with the individual to get back on track. 
  7. Great teams take pride in the accomplishments and potential each member represents. This is especially important if any one member is taking the heat for an error made by herself/himself, or by the overall team/product/organization. 
  8. Exceptional teams will gently call out individual members to help them rise up to the standards set for each team member – whether it’s communicating transparently, delivering results, or supporting other team members.
  9. An excellent team bands together to understand and analyze how to continually improve their track record. Some teams gamify the process to invite friendly competition with the intent of generating results, which provides opportunities for self-improvement and team bonding, and improved results.
  10. When exceptional teams have conflict, they resolve to communicate directly and transparently so they can focus on the learnings and the results.

I hope that we each have the opportunity to be part of an exceptional team at some point in our career. Even if your team doesn’t currently hit all the marks above, striving toward any one principle at a time might help shift your team in that direction.