Archive for March, 2022

One Plus One Makes Eleven

March 25, 2022

FountainBlue’s March 25 Front Line Managers Online program on the topic of ‘One Plus One Makes Eleven’. Please join me in thanking our panelists Marla Fields, Charmy Ruparel and Prajakta Naik. Below are notes from the conversation.

Our inspiring interactive discussion was as much about team dynamics as it was about bringing out the best in individuals and in teams. We were fortunate to feature experienced and diverse team leaders who shared their strategies and best practices. Although they represented different backgrounds and experiences, they had much in common:

  • They each adopted can-do learning mindsets which helped them to manage and lead their teams through challenging projects.
  • They each successfully built relationships and networks of trust which are foundational to their ongoing success.
  • They connected and communicated with the executives who granted them the influence and resources necessary to address mission-critical projects.

Below is a compilation of their advice.

Manage Your Team Well

  • Know the strengths and needs of your team, and recruit the diverse breadth of people who can help you and your team succeed.
  • Regularly check in with your team for shorter lengths of time, to ensure that they are getting the resources they need, and that they feel connected with others. 
  • Build relationships of trust between and within teams. 
  • Be curious about conflicts within the team, and help each member connect and communicate more proactively. 
  • Recruit people who can be that multiplier for your team, but also curate the skills and influence of others who are not natural multipliers, but could become so under the right conditions.
  • Focus on the strengths of individuals and teams, and work on that rather than focusing on the negatives.

Provide Opportunities for Your Team to Collaborate and Succeed

  • Frame a conversation to positive and productive directions to increase your ability to address and solve a problem.
  • Invite collaborations between disparate groups for we all have pieces of the puzzle.
  • Teach your team to be efficient and effective, and to measure their progress.
  • Where appropriate, welcome the input of non-technical people to solve complex technical issues. Although they may not be able to solve the problem, the way they view and tackle the problem may help others to actually solve the problem.

The bottom line is that an empowered team is an effective team, and he/she who empowers that team will reap rewards.

Managing Your Mindset

March 18, 2022

Mindset2022Panel.png

FountainBlue’s March 18 When She Speaks program was on the topic of ‘Managing Your Mindset’. Please join me in thanking our hosts at Cisco and our esteemed panelists. 

Our inspiring, experienced and resilient panelists spoke humbly and eloquently about why we should each manage our mindset, and how they have been successfully able to do so, especially during challenging times. Below is a compilation of their advice and best practices:
Know Thyself

  • Know your north star around values and around purpose, and regularly center on that north star.
  • Positively frame your personal and professional journey and celebrate your learnings and victories.
  • Know your strengths, your weaknesses, your buttons, and use this knowledge to manage your own mindset.
  • Manage your mindset with a pause when you feel emotions rising. 

Model the Way

  • Be confident enough in your value and competence so that you’re comfortable tackling projects and assignments just beyond your reach.
  • Be generous, gracious, kind, and curious about the other person’s perspective.
  • Accept your initial responses to uncomfortable new opportunities, and make the best of the options in front of you.
  • Be Open to learning new things, trying new experiences.
  • Never Settle! Keep reaching for stars.

Create a Build a Resilient Culture with a Positive and Proactive Mindset

  • Practice the Multiplier Effect – amplify the impact.
  • Manage to the needs of each individual, and inspire them to be confident and bold.
  • Be the translator and mediator between contentious parties, to manage the energy of the team, the mindsets of individuals on the team. 
  • Celebrate and enable successes. 
  • Stand on the shoulders of those who have come before you, and reach down to help others also stand.

Keep Centered

  • Surround yourself with the sponsors, mentors, friends, family, etc., who will keep you centered on your values and your purpose.
  • Frame your self-talk to be more growth-centered, more proactive, more productive. 
  • Choose activities and actions which would help you manage your own body, mind and spirit, whether it’s exercise or nature or singing or dancing.

In a time when change is a constant and the future is unknown, it becomes more critical to manage your mindset, so that you can be more productive, happier and more content both at work and at home. 

Innovating on the Edge

March 18, 2022

FountainBlue’s March 18 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘Innovating on the Edge’, with opening remarks by Micron. Our executives in attendance had a wide range of experience and perspectives on the challenges and opportunities around innovating on the edge. Below is a compilation of their advice.

About Edge Computing

With the continued evolution of technology, there will be continued consolidations, aggregations, innovations, etc., but edge computing will be a foundational piece of current and future technology trends.
Advice for Managing Innovations on the Edge

  • Strategize and manage to ensure optimization and continuous improvement, even when we can’t predict our future.
  • Take an end-to-end management perspective to oversee all the moving parts which could positively or negatively impact your ability to deliver customized solutions on the edge.
  • Design hyper automation (extreme automation) algorithms based on data delivered from the edge.
  • Look for areas where technology innovation on the edge could greatly improve a process, and more efficiently deliver an accurate result.

Thoughts on Challenges 

As we continue to develop more devices/sensors/phones etc on to the edge, there will be amplified needs to:

  • ensure the privacy, security and access for individual users while aggregating the most relevant content for immediate and future use
  • minimize latency times so that automated actions can take place – lives are at times at stake!
  • securely and efficiently manage the huge volumes of data for immediate, short term, and long term usage
  • manage multiple operating systems and applications on individual computers to ensure efficiency, productivity and security
  • integrate legacy and bleeding edge solutions into applications which serve current need
  • consider supply chain issues which would impact the hardware we design, manufacture and distribute to be placed on the edge

Opportunities for growth, including:

  • designing sensors which capture temperature, vibration, sound, photo and audio input
  • producing devices on the edge which can check their own status and even automate processes based on these checks
  • creating always-on sensors which use little power and only act when triggering events occur
  • offering predictive analytics based on volumes of data collected
  • managing collected data to ensure privacy and security while gathering relevant aggregated data  
  • focusing on specificities around locations which may help multiple entities manage solutions in specific areas

In the end, as we look at innovating on the edge, we must look at the journey of the data (as it touches the software, hardware, apps), the needs of the customers (for privacy, security and access), the infrastructure and requirements (policy, broadband), and need to manage the old and the new (tools, technologies and people). Now that’s a TALL order. The innovators and collaborators will have an ‘edge’ in this market.  

The VUCA Reality – It’s Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous

March 11, 2022

FountainBlue’s March 11 Front Line Managers Online program was on the topic of ‘The VUCA Reality – It’s Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous’. Please join me in thanking our panelists Roxanne Dos Santos, Nancy Moreno and Sam Gupta. Below are notes from the conversation.

Manage for Success in Times of Great Change

  • Collaborate with others to deliver on product and service milestones, based on a wide range of customer-defined requirements. 
  • Embrace the discomfort in ambiguity, and do scenario planning to mitigate and manage risks.
  • Fail fast, fail forward, and be agile about shifting to another direction, plan, or strategy.
  • Accept that there will be pitfalls, and that you will likely need additional resources, different designs, more financing, etc., as things shift.
  • Quantify the ambiguous so that you can better plan for unknowns. 
  • Define the ‘good-enough’ criteria so that everyone doesn’t overthink and overanalyze when it’s difficult to know for sure what will happen.

Empower and Engage Others to Participate

  • Create a culture of psychological safety so that people feel confident about speaking up and sharing ideas and expertise. 
  • Integrate ideas and suggestions and reward those who do speak up.
  • Seek the input of a large range of people to address problem solving, decision-making and innovation challenges.
  • Welcome the input of people not-like-you, as together the team is better.

What to Expect in the Next Normal

  • There will be more collaboration to manage more complex projects.
  • There will be more modular designs, smaller building blocks for complex solutions so that the inevitable changes can be more efficiently addressed.
  • There will be shorter delivery cycles for more complex solutions.
  • Relationships with customers will be a key to success, and creating an exceptional customer experience will help build and maintain those relationships. 

The bottom line is that nobody will ever be able to predict the future, but being able to ‘roll with it’ and agilely respond to this future and proactively plan for a future will increase your likelihood of success.

The WHY Behind FountainBlue

March 1, 2022

Facilitating innovation and leadership for tech leaders one conversation, one leader, one organization at a time is my passion, my mission, my cause through my work at FountainBlue. We’ve been doing it since January 2005. This blog is about the WHY…

Linda Holroyd, Founder and CEO, FountainBlue
I’ve always been a world-changer. I get a visceral response when I experience cruelty and injustice, especially when the under-served, the un-empowered, the majority are the victims of that injustice.
One of my earliest memories is of my five-year-old self objecting to our assigned homework by cajoling my uncle to do it for me. When asked by my teacher ‘who did your homework’, I responded truthfully that my uncle did it upon my request. The teacher sent me back to my seat, and assigned less homework to everyone. As I walked back to my seat, I saw a sea of faces saying clearly – ‘Who are you to ask this for us – you, who are 5 years old, an Asian, and a girl at that?’
I didn’t fit in. I don’t often fit in, but I can’t help but make a stand against injustice, even if it means that I didn’t have special someones to wish farewell as we journeyed from my birthplace in Hong Kong to America.
I earned scholarships and worked my way through college as an office worker – learning typing, administration and management – as a notetaker – learning communication and information synthesizing – and as a preschool teacher – the best leadership training ever. After graduating from college, I began my career as an elementary school teacher as I wanted to educate and empower others.
I taught elementary school for six years, but then realized that I wanted to make a broader impact, leveraging technology and innovation. I provided sales, marketing and operational support for three start-ups before co-founding a web consultancy alongside my techie husband. During that period, we also had our daughter, now a young adult. I learned a lot about technology, business, management and operations through that period, and applied those skills to a nonprofit cause, as I wanted to focus on doing well while doing good.
From there, I brought together my passion to make a difference, my skill for integrating technology and business imperatives, and my talent for connecting leaders and innovators into my work at management consultancy, FountainBlue.

At FountainBlue, we support innovation and leadership one conversation, one leader, one organization at a time through our on-site and now-online programs, as well as through our executive coaching, leadership consulting, and strategic advisory services.

Now you know WHY I’m passionate about doing this work day in and day out, and also HOW I wound up doing what I’m doing. What’s YOUR story? And What’s Next for you?