Archive for September, 2022

The WHY Before the WHAT Before the HOW

September 16, 2022
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FountainBlue’s September 16 Front Line Managers Online program on the topic of ‘The Why Before the What Before the How’. Please join me in thanking our panelists. 

  • as a People Leader – Ruth Radford, Lam Research
  • as a Program Leader – Sam Gupta, Pure Storage 
  • as an Engineering Leader – Pooja Agrawal, Renesas

Our spoke eloquently and passionately about their whys and provided practical and effective strategies to align everyone to a purpose, while delivering on results (the whats and the hows). Below is a compilation of their best practices.
Respect Everyone’s Contributions

  • Allow people to collaborate and deliver their portion of the deliverable, while aligning everyone to the client objectives and project purpose.
  • Welcome people from different backgrounds to contribute.
  • Resist the urge to more efficiently do a task yourself, and respect that others have different strategies which may also work.

Connect and Reframe

  • Connect people from different backgrounds, roles and mindsets with each other, aligning on the same purpose and contributing toward a common goal.
  • Help uber-technical people see the bigger picture, the larger solution.
  • Invite technical people to explain how a technology or process better serves the customer so that you can make a business case for support and resources.
  • See the WHY from all angles so that you can communicate the version of the WHY which would motivate each stakeholder. 

Overcome Resistance

  • Conversations around the Why sometimes meet resistance, especially if change is required. Objections might include problems with the what or the how, or even challenging the strategy or requesting validation that it will work. 
  • Continue to have direct conversations around the why, focusing on the corporate mission and values and direct customer requirements helps address objections.
  • Lobby for the resources and support to enable cross-functional teams to collaborate and deliver quality results.
  • Communicate the need to accelerate the pace of business, align behind core values, deliver on results, and adopt new skills and knowledge.

Plan Well, While Also Embracing Agility

  • Be clear on objectives and create plans which mitigate risks, especially risks that are likely to happen, or those which would be disastrous if they should happen.

The bottom line is that in this world of great change, leaders and companies must rally behind a ‘WHY’ and deliver WHAT customers are looking for, in a WAY which is efficient, effective and sustainable. 

One of the Onlys

September 9, 2022
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FountainBlue’s September 9 When She Speaks program was on the topic of ‘One of the Onlys’. Please join me in thanking our esteemed panelists. Our panelists represented a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives, but they had much in common:

  • They navigated personal and professional hurdles to successfully rise in influence, role and position, and continue to lead with increasing responsibility.
  • They persevered despite the challenges and continue to raise the bar for themselves and for those around them.
  • They were supported by many who helped them to succeed, and are, in turn, supporting others.

Below is a compilation of their advice and insights on how to succeed, despite being one of the onlys.
Be self-aware and self-centered.

  • Have the self-awareness to deeply accept yourself and all your many qualities – the good and the bad.
  • Filter the input and feedback you receive from others, so you can manage how it impacts the choices you make. 
  • Consider carefully the difference between the perceived intent of a comment or action vs the actual thoughts, words or actions itself. (As a corollary, minimize the negative impact any one thought, word or action might have on you, especially if you’re not even sure that there was any negative intent!)

Be worthy of the opportunity and responsibility of being one of the onlys.

  • Be curious, competent, other-centered, agile, respectful, supportive, and resilient.
  • Be clear on your objectives and your cause, but flexible about how things might be implemented and when things should get done.
  • Adapt to the social and political dynamics of each project scenario, not just to the job and project requirements. 
  • Accept that others may have stereotypes about who you are based on your  physical and other traits, but prove yourself to them, despite their perceptions of you, by focusing on getting things done and delivering exceptional results.

Communication is key.

  • Listen to what is said and what is not said to understand how to best navigate challenges and opportunities.
  • Know your audience – what’s important to them, how they would best respond to you.
  • Know your values, your brand, your unique value-add, and be consistent in communicating them. 

Lean on others.

  • Build relationships and support networks which would help you better understand opportunities and challenges.

Grow those around you.

  • Facilitate the growth of those around you, and keep raising the bar for all.
  • Have the grace to be kind and supportive of others, for you never know what we are each navigating.

Our esteemed panelists invited us all to keep reaching for stars, daring to be a bigger version of ourselves, even if we have to be one of the onlys.

AR/VR Immersion Solutions

September 9, 2022
VIP Roundtable – AR/VR Immersion Solutions, September 9, 2022

FountainBlue’s September 9 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘AR/VR Immersion Solutions’, with opening remarks by NVIDIA.  Our executives in attendance represented a wide range of roles, backgrounds and industries, but they share an enthusiasm for the many real-life opportunities around AR/VR immersion solutions. 

Our executives spoke about how AR/VR immersion solutions have facilitated the design of new products and solutions, provided in-depth experiential training for thousands, ensured compliance and security for robots and workers, optimized manufacturing floors and processes, and provided customer support. 

They spoke of a turning point in the industry, expecting broad and wide adoption. Below is a summary of their suggestions and recommendations for leaders adopting AR/VR solutions.

  • Ensure that your solutions are compliant and secure, scalable and available.
  • AR/VR solutions have applications across industries – aerospace, automotive, healthcare, industrial automation, construction, and many more.
  • Plan for the business cases and practical applications around AR/VR, particularly for enterprise customers
    • Customers experiencing high-risk scenarios, even if that happens in low volume would benefit from simulations and training to help mitigate those risks.
    • Customers that will experience an activity in high volume would benefit from training and simulation which provides medium to high gain.

Our executives also spoke to the challenges for implementing AR/VR immersion solutions.

  • The combination of hardware and software poses cultural, technical, operational and other challenges for the internal teams charged with implementation.
  • There are many exciting use cases and business cases, but it’s hard to focus on the lowest-hanging fruit – the easiest solutions to implement for a target audience with the greatest need, and willing and able to pay for it.

The bottom line is that AR/VR immersion solutions will be inevitably adopted as it will help 1) better innovate and collaborate, 2) plan-fully mitigate risks 3) efficiently deliver support and services, 4) save money.

Performance Review Best Practices

September 2, 2022
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FountainBlue’s September 2 Front Line Managers Online program was on the topic of ‘Performance Management Best Practices’. Please join me in thanking our panelists. 

  • as an HR Leader – Kerry Perryman, Samsung Research America
  • as a People Leader – Jennifer Exum, Gig Talent Collective
  • as a Product Leader – Sam Gupta, Pure Storage

Our passionate and seasoned panelists offered courageous, direct, and kind advice on how to better manage performance and bring out the best in people. Although they represented a wide breadth of experience and backgrounds, our panelists agreed on the following best practices:
Be Strategic

  • Align objectives across the organization, products and teams.
  • Leverage influencing skills to manage a host of stakeholders with the goal of delivering measurable results which fit performance objectives.
  • Understand the motivations of the various stakeholders and keep this in mind as you manage performance for the overall team.
  • Take a holistic view of individual, group and company performance, rather than counting on snapshots of detailed data which may be taken out of context.
  • Encourage the team to be plan-ful about their work, without being rigid; to be agile about their work while adhering to requirements, standards, processes and protocols.

Communication is Key

  • Engage in ongoing, constructive, data-based conversations around feedback.
  • Consistently communicate performance standards and execute to those standards.
  • Consistently think, speak and act in a way which inspires trust, informs transparently, and invites engagement. 
  • Make conversations direct and specific, but not personal. 

Collaborate, Connect and Inspire

  • While it’s important to oversee the performance of their own teams, it’s also important to collaborate with other stakeholders to deliver exceptional results. 
  • Look not just at where employees are, but also where they’d like to go, and support them in that journey.

Be Positive and Proactive

  • Find a positive and constructive way to manage performance, rather than adopting strategies which may (inadvertently or intentionally) pit people against each other.
  • Take the opportunities to praise and reward good performance and strategize on how to make the good behaviors and outcomes even better.
  • Invite and reward a mindset of growth and curiosity. 

As we look at the paradigm shift to a new version of normal, we must also realize that the way we manage and oversee performance must also shift, given the new realities of the workplace. 

Resource: 

Mind Your Ps with Some Qs

September 1, 2022

6 Quotients for Problem-Solving

It can be overwhelming to lead and innovate in this time of great change. People, process, and technology problems run the gamut, posing obstacles which can vex the best of us.

I have personally advised start-ups, coached executives, and led change management for a couple of decades. Along the way, I’ve collected a few problem-solving tips and tricks over the years. I’m here to share them with you now.

Everyone runs into Problems (Ps). So when you run into Problems (Ps), mind your Quotients (Qs). I’ve found that we each have at least six types of quotients, which are described below:

  1. Intelligence Quotient (IQ) – a measurement of how well you comprehend data, facts, and knowledge, traditionally taught to you in school.

Utilizing your IQ can look like solving complex math problems and applying formulas, debugging code with established algorithms, or applying classic business strategies for growing into adjacent markets.

  1. Emotional Quotient (EQ) – a measurement of how well you can build and maintain relationships, be respectful and sensitive to the needs of others, and manage the perception others have of you for yourself and for them.

Someone with a high EQ might build or leverage individual relationships to better facilitate collaboration toward achieving a common goal.

  1. Social Quotient (SQ) – a measurement of how well you can create and build a network of long-lasting relationships and an ecosystem of contacts.

Someone who has a high SQ might regularly build alliances and networks to support common objectives. In contrast to EQ, SQ is more about networks and ecosystems of relationships rather than individual connections.

  1. Adversity Quotient (AQ) – a measurement of how well you can remain positive, constructive, and productive despite challenging circumstances.

Someone with a high AQ who experiences serious mental, physical or other challenges might be able to persevere and adjust their approach to continue making progress.

  1. Creativity Quotient (CQ) – a measurement of your ability to think differently or orthogonally to traditional approaches, sometimes counter to recommendations.

Someone with a high CQ might suggest an approach which may wind up becoming an innovation adopted by customers or a feature integrated into a new product offering.

  1. Leadership Quotient (LQ) – a measurement for your awareness of self, the current obstacles, , how well you can inspire and mobilize others to collaborate and address a problem.

Let’s work on your leadership quotient here. Which quotients above will help you with the problems listed below and why?

  • Co-worker conflict
  • M&A Integration
  • Debugging code
  • Prioritizing features
  • Customer service issue
  • Missing sales projections
  • Lobbying for resources

I’ll leave you with some questions to contemplate:

  • What other problems do you regularly see in your day-to-day work?
  • Which quotients are you most comfortable in?
  • Which quotients would like you to develop more?
  • Which quotients do your team members lead with?
  • How can you help team members diversify their  quotient usage?
  • How could developing and rounding out your quotients help you personally improve your problem-solving and innovation skills? 

It’s my hope that you’re seeing your Ps in a new light, and that you begin leveraging your Qs to address problems effectively and with more confidence.