Archive for June, 2022

Show Me the Data

June 17, 2022

FountainBlue’s June 17 Front Line Managers Online program on the topic of ‘Show Me the Data’. Please join me in thanking our panelists. 

  • as a People Leader – Sanchita Gupta, Samsung
  • as a Business Leader – Shari Begun, Renesas

Below are notes from the conversation.

There’s no escaping the data – it’s everywhere affecting the way we live and work. And it helps us be more efficient, more effective, more strategic. Our panelists gave us some rules of thumb on how to better manage and leverage data into our work and our lives.

Be Strategic

  • Focus on your core objectives and ensure that the data helps you to manage and align toward those objectives.
  • Filter out the noise and focus on the relevant data which would drive your business imperatives.
  • Use data to support and refine your strategy and make shifts where necessary as the data changes.
  • Focus on delivering on your highest impact projects, based on the data. 
  • Tell your story and make your ask based on the data provided.
  • Be cognizant of the agenda of others and the stories they share about the data.

Manage Your Data with Care

  • Ensure that the data generated has integrity – is valid and true.
  • Protect your data, to ensure privacy and security are maintained.

Respond to Data with Agility and Grace

  • Let data inform your decisions and respond quickly based on the data provided. With that said, make pivots and shifts as the data set changes.
  • Include a diverse range of data sources to help inform problem solving and decision making objectives. 
  • Use your best judgment and trust your gut about the validity of the data and the recommendations based on the data provided.

Use the Data to Empower and Engage

  • Use the data to better understand the needs of your people, whether they are customers or staff, so that you can better serve them.
  • Leverage the data to better address current needs and even anticipate future needs.
  • Ensure that everyone gets the right amount of data, with the right clearance, based on whether they need to be informed only, to be involved in some way, or to be partly or fully responsible for decisions around the data.

There’s every indication that there will be more data involved and more at stake around the data as everything becomes more complex, more global, more interconnected. As you make decisions and solve problems leveraging data, err on the side of action, but respond with agility as you become more informed based on the actions taken, the new data generated.

Start-ups Changing the World

June 10, 2022

FountainBlue’s June 10 When She Speaks program, on the topic of ‘Startups Changing the World’. Please join me in thanking our hosts at Intel and our esteemed panelists. 

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We were fortunate to have a range of amazing leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs for this month’s panel. They represented a wide range of perspectives and backgrounds, but they had much in common:

  • Passionate, intelligent and hardworking, our panelists were not intimidated by the STEM subjects they mastered, and all took their technical abilities into business roles.
  • Ever fearless, resilient and unflappable, our panelists thrived on adopting and conquering business, technical, and operational issues, earning them leadership roles in companies big and small.
  • Each panelist has had experience working in companies, start-ups and some even in investment groups, and each is contributing to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Below is a summary of advice for supporting start-ups changing the world.

  • Work with engineering and product teams to create solutions which address core world issues.
  • Focus on growing a business which does the right things to support people, the earth, and others while doing well financially and operationally.
  • Create and support an ecosystem of partners and providers who can collaborate with you to increase influence and impact.
  • Build momentum with customers, sales, partners and others and keep focusing on the needs of the customer.
  • Look for a start-up leadership team which is resilient enough to ride the ups and downs of start-ups and also market variances which impact us all, especially now with so much variance and so many unknowns.
  • Passionately tell your start-up story in a way which is compelling, and fill your story with data.
  • Let your customers help you define your feature sets, milestones and timelines.
  • Help successful companies and leaders keep growing and learning.

The bottom line is that start-ups aren’t easy to lead or manage, but it is these start-ups that will help us all change the world for the better.

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The Future of Work

June 10, 2022

FountainBlue’s June 10 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘The Future of Work’, with opening remarks by Cisco. Please join me in thanking our executives in attendance for their remarks and input.Our executives in attendance all sat at different leadership seats through this pandemic, and shared many similar perspectives about how the pandemic has affected the future of work.

  • We are leveraging networking, collaboration and security technology more, making hybrid work scenarios work for each of us and our organizations.
  • There are mixed receptions to the range of company requirements on return-to-work policies.
  • We have raised our standards on the value of our health, our families, and the role of work in our lives. 

Below is a compilation of thoughts on opportunities around the future of work.

  • When a distributed workforce is hybrid, networks, devices, applications may all put individuals, teams and companies at risk for privacy and security breaches. Hence there is an opportunity to more proactively manage the security and privacy of individual users, and minimize the risk, and isolate and quickly recover from any breaches.
  • AI-driven bot solutions will continue to automate workflows and processes so customers are more efficiently served, so humans can handle more complex issues. (It also follows that the workforce of the future must be more prepared to address more complex issues.) 
  • Telepresence robots will help increasingly more employees participate in in-person activities which support collaboration, community-building, and engagement, but social and technical issues will still provide barriers to adoption – at least for now.
  • Creating and growing communities of experts will help distributed and hybrid workforces collaborate and connect with others to share best practices, while developing, supporting and influencing each other.
  • Securely providing access to common data and information will continue to support an organization’s collaboration, engagement and innovation goals.
  • Immersion AR/VR experience will take video-calling to the next level, adding more life-like audio and visual experiences. 
  • Solutions which enhance the employee experience and customer experience, providing them easier access to informed support, will drive customer and employee retention and engagement.
  • There may be a trend toward broader engagement from a wider range of people to manage cloud-based no-code and low-code solutions which manage the data captured.

It’s hard to make predictions on what the future of work will look like, but it’s clear that roles will change, tasks will change, and robots and automation will work closely with humans and that leaders must leverage technology to proactively manage and optimize employee and customer experiences.

The Need for Speed

June 3, 2022
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FountainBlue’s June 3 Front Line Managers Online program was on the topic of ‘The Need for Speed’. Please join me in thanking our panelists. Below are notes from the conversation.

Our panelists spoke eloquently about why there is so much pressure to do so many things with efficiency and with excellence. The financial, customer, business, community, operational and other pressures are immense, yet we must accept that these pressures are prevalent and choose how to proactively respond to these pressures. Below are some best practices suggested by our esteemed speakers.

Be Leader-ly

  • Build relationships of trust through ongoing, transparent and clear communications, collaborating to mitigate risks and to deliver on milestones and results. 
  • Modify and moderate expectations and collaborate with others to deliver results which meet timeline and quality standards.
  • Create a culture of agility and growth where everyone supports each other in proactively managing the pressure around delivering excellence. 
  • Connect disparate groups and teams and have them brainstorm new ways of doing things more collaboratively and more efficiently, sharing best practices, and creating new shared processes.
  • Consciously choose to go slowly, so that you can move quickly with more accuracy.
  • Challenge everyone to take an active role in managing their own operations and processes. 
  • Thread information across people, managers and groups so that you can present a collective picture of how things are working, and make proposals on how things can work more efficiently.

Be Strategic

  • Focus on doing the most important things first – serving the most important people, completing the most high-impact projects with the greatest returns, etc., Once those foundational pieces are put in, there may be more to add other important things as well.
  • Accept that some things can’t be changed and focus on making changes where you can, to ensure your team can efficiently and effectively respond to new requirements and needs.
  • Be customer-focused and design and deliver to the requirements of those customers. 
  • Make the people, process and technology changes necessary to help the team move with agility and speed.

Be Innovative

  • Learn to try new things, fail fast, pivot quickly, and continue to learn how to do things better and faster. 
  • Adopt the features not so much for their innovative value, but more for the value shown.

The bottom line is that in tech and in business, there’s a need for everyone to perform with speed. But if you work with great teams and leaders, you can embrace this truth, and be more efficient and more effective while also being more productive and more balanced.

Trust Me!

June 1, 2022

Trust is the great equalizer – with trust, even the smallest teams can move mountains, without trust, whole armies will falter taking a molehill.

When there’s a breach of trust, specific expectations have been violated or mis-aligned. There might be a misunderstanding around accountability and responsibility, or a difference of opinion on values and principles. There might be different expectations on the work to be done, or how work should be done, or the quality expectations for the work to be done.

Trust is also often breached when communication is not authentic or transparent or clear or consistent. 

Executives, individuals, teams, partners and customers respond differently when there’s a breach. I use a process leveraging the thoughts below to identify causes for the breach in trust, and to facilitate conversations on how we can each do better at building a culture of trust.

In a Perfect World:

Executives Lead from the Top Down

– Culture of Accountability

– Clear Values and Behaviors

– Explicit Agreements with Partners, Customers, Executives

– Candid and Authentic Feedback for All

– Proactive Communication to Ensure Alignment and Success

Individuals Lead from the Bottom-Up

– Trustworthy Behaviors

– Alignment of Behavior with Culture and Values

– Explicit Agreements with Peers, Managers and Leaders

– Candid and Authentic Feedback for All

Teams Lead Together  

– Trustworthy Behaviors

– Alignment of Behavior with Culture and Values

– Explicit Agreements

– Candid and Authentic Feedback

Partners Lead in Collaboration

– Trustworthy Behaviors

– Alignment of Behavior with Agreements

– Candid and Authentic Feedback for All

– Commitment to Agreements and Relationship 

– Proactive Measures to Ensure Delivery

Where do your leaders, individuals, teams, partners and others show up on the trust meter?