Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

On Building Trust and Influence

January 7, 2021

On Building Trust and Influence

On Building Trust and Influence

Who do you trust so you can stay safe, have fun, stay connected?

How do you get more influence, so others help you get what you want now for yourself, for others, for the future?

How are trust and influence related?

What can I do to get more people to trust me, get more influence to support my agenda?

Whether you’re on the pre-school playground or in the most elite boardroom, these thoughts rattle through your head. I get asked these questions often. So the last time I was asked these questions, I came up with a top ten list with my thoughts on how to build both trust and influence. I hope that you find it useful as you build your relationships of trust, your programs and projects of influence.

  1. Trust is of paramount importance in building relationships. There’s a direct correlation between the amount of trust in a relationship, and the stability and resiliency of that relationship.
  2. Trust can be a difficult thing to earn, and an easy thing to violate. If trust is violated in a relationship, contemplate deeply why a trust has been violated and what, if anything, can be done to repair that trust, that relationship. The learnings from this reflection will serve you well.
  3. Trust must be respected, nurtured and tended in all relationships, and never taken for granted.
  4. The more trusted relationships you nurture and grow, the easier it is to create and sustain more deep and trusted relationships. 
  5. Influence helps people get more things done. Influence becomes increasingly important in a world where we are increasingly interconnected, and no person is an island.
  6. The more influence you have, the easier it is to gain more influence.
  7. Influence in one area does not necessarily mean influence in another area. To be strategic about your influence, be clear on what you want to influence and for which target audience.
  8. It is easier to influence people who trust you. But someone doesn’t necessarily have to trust you to be influenced by you. Those with much influence are role models for many people, and should keep this in mind.
  9. When those with influence make a mistake, it does impact how influential they are. Reflection on what happened and transparent communication to others about the learnings from a mis-step will help those of influence remain influential.
  10. It is optimal to build deep relationships with people you trust, with whom you can collaborate to influence others on a common cause. Collaboratively building more synergistic relationships of trust and more impact and influence will help all parties make measurable progress toward achieving common goals.

Your comments are welcome. E-mail us at info@whenshespeaks.com.

Doing Well While Doing Right: Linda Holroyd

January 1, 2021

Doing Well While Doing Right

Featured Leader This Week:

Linda Holroyd – Something from Nothing

DoingWellDoingRight.jpg

Despite all the negatives of 2020, it has also brought so much value to each of us.

  • It helps us see what’s important to us, who’s important to us.
  • It helps us focus on the greater good, the bigger cause.
  • It helps us work on the important things in life.

To take advantage of these up-sides and benefits, FountainBlue is launching an initiative to share weekly ‘Doing Well While Doing Right’ stories from our community members, with the intent of sharing practical and inspirational real-world stories, stimulating creative and proactive thinking and problem-solving, and celebrating the successes of leaders who are making a difference as a business and a community leader. 

The Doing-Well piece is all about the Business Opportunities, the Scalable processes, the Returns on Investments, while also embracing the doing-right piece. The Doing-Right piece is about doing the right thing for other people, for the Earth, for the less fortunate, for the future, while also embracing the doing-well piece. Each story in the series will include a twenty question survey as well as a summary story based on the survey responses.

We will send these stories out weekly over e-mail, over our blog and over our LinkedIn profile and sharing it from our web site as well. It is only fitting that I launch the series with my own answers, my own interview, which will be released at noon on January 1, 2021, as part of our weekly event invitation e-mail.

About ME

1.   Tell your story about your personal and professional background.

I was born in Hong Kong, the second of four children. My mother won a debate, so we stayed together as a family with $20 between us, four children ages 2-7, no job, but a place to stay. Through perseverance and hard work, we managed to buy a house and all the kids graduated from college, got married and raised families. I worked my way through UC Davis as a preschool teacher, an office manager and a notetaker and typist. Armed with a major in psychology and a minor in education, I earned a teaching credential at San Francisco State and taught elementary school for six years.

From there, I worked in sales, marketing and leadership roles in tech start-ups for two years before launching a web consultancy alongside my husband. After growing it to 18 people and $4 million in sales, we sold the company, and I worked in the nonprofit sector before launching FountainBlue in January 2005. As a management consultancy, FountainBlue focused on my two greatest passions – Leadership and Innovation. Known mostly for the programs we’ve run monthly, we also advise start-ups, coach executives, and provide strategic, leadership and management consulting to companies large and small.

2.   What are your personal and professional goals for sharing your doing-well while doing-right story?

I wanted to launch this series in response to all that has happened to us in 2020, to profile success stories of business professionals stepping up and showing up to do well, while doing right by others. While much focus is on the negative,  it’s the positive, feel-good, practical stories that inspire others, and  provide tangible ideas and outlets for others.

3.   How has your personal upbringing helped shape your desire to do well, while doing right?

Raised with very little education and very few resources and support, I learned to be independent and create my own opportunities. Born with a strong moral compass and a sense of justice and a strong desire to do right by others, I’ve always stood more for the greater good than for my own personal well being.

4.   Tell a story about a younger version of yourself and how you were impacted by your early role models.

When I was five, we were assigned four hours of homework a night. I wanted to respectfully protest, make a stand for having less homework for all, so I convinced my uncle to do my homework, which took him 15 minutes and turned in my assignment. When I was asked by my teacher who did my homework, I told the truth and explained that I thought it was more appropriate for five-year-olds to have more play time. I was sent back to my seat without additional comment, but looked upon by the other students like a pariah.

When the teacher told my mother what happened, she just agreed that there was A LOT of homework for children so young. When my mother told my father, he made no comment, but did brag about what I did to our friends who joined us for dinner that night.

My parents taught me to think for myself, act on principle, and work for the greater good. Although they have passed many years ago, they still influence my thoughts, words and actions.

Learning how to do WELL

5. How did your education and professional experience help you to learn business basics around strategy, execution and management?

I learned how to lead and manage while in an elementary school setting as a classroom teacher and adapted my skills to a business setting working with start-ups, corporations and investors. Based on my breadth of experience in a wide range of sectors, I learned how to 1) align strategy, execution and management, 2) work with people who make you want to be better versions of yourself, 3) manage work with people who don’t bring out the best side of yourself, 4) clearly communicate with the intent of building engagement, 5) build ecosystems of partnerships focused on delivering common objectives, 6) leverage technology and science to increase the impact, 7) increase the impact and reach of products and solutions, 8) humbly reach for more, while pridefully celebrating all you are, all you do, 9) continually learn and grow as individuals, teams, and organizations, and 10) see beyond your own assumptions, so that you and those around you can continue to grow and thrive, respond proactively to an ever-changing, more-demanding world.

6.   Who were the star mentors, sponsors and coaches who helped you when things got challenging?

I’m one of those people who learn from many others. I open-mindedly adapt qualities and traits of others I admire, especially if they have skills far different than my own. I remain curious about those who are not-like-me, and truly all those who speak and act on principle, no matter how difficult that proves to be.

In transitioning from teaching to start-up advising and consulting to advising and investing, I learned to many role models how to leverage my strengths and knowledge to more strategically deliver value to a wider set of customers, to build ecosystems of partners in collaboration around common goals, and to work hard and with purpose, to do well for the company, while doing right for the people impacted.

7.   What did you do to better hone your influencing skills?

I failed often, in ways big and small. It was always the grandest failures that made me stronger and better. It was always my perseverance, strength and indomitable will and faith which made my pick myself up, brush myself off, and say ‘what’s next’. Helping others do this for themselves, inspiring others with my example is one of the greatest joys in life.

8.   What are a couple of mistakes you made in your early career which helped you be more successful in your business transactions?

Learning early about my own strengths and weaknesses helped me focus on areas of strength.

My failures teaching a classroom full of under-privileged kids taught me to align my passion (empowering others), my skills (ability to teach and inspire), may not always get me the results I seek, unless the other parties are willing and able.

My failures at small start-ups helped me see the value of principles founders, hardworking technologists, and willing customers and partners.

Learning to do RIGHT

9.   How did your early experience and upbringing help you build a desire to do right by others, by the earth, for future generations?

As a curious onlooker, I saw the short-term and long-term impact of leaders at all levels. No matter the financial and economic outcome, it always felt hollow to witness the success of a product or an organization, unless I felt like the service or product also served the greater good.

Working with entrepreneurs, investors and executives, many feel that same sort of hollowness, and many in mid career purposefully seek creating and building something that makes a difference and serves others.

10.  What are some examples of what you did as a child to do right by others?

It was always more important for me to take a stand on behalf of all of us, rather than on behalf of myself or a few of us. I wouldn’t have minded, for example, doing the assigned homework, and I would have found a way to do it faster and better. But the thought that it couldn’t be good or right for others is what motivated me to take action, even if I had to suffer the consequences.

11.  When and why did ‘doing well’ NOT be enough, so that you decided that you must also ‘do right’?

My first business experiences were around the dot com bomb, where I met and briefly served many entrepreneurs who were blatantly clear that their business model may not be sustainable, but their own possible up-sides were more important. I vowed to disengage with anyone who shares those same principles now, no matter what the financial up-sides are for myself or for their organization.

The doing-right must be part of the equation. But the doing-right isn’t enough, if the company isn’t also doing well.

12.  Who has helped you make more impact doing right by others?

The hundreds of leaders, entrepreneurs, executives, investors we’ve served over the past twenty five years have each helped me reach higher, stand taller, leap farther, and stretch beyond my own view of the world.

Overcoming Obstacles

13.   What are some of the barriers to making pronounced impact?

  • The market must be ripe for the opportunity ahead.
  • The technology must be scalable enough to efficiently bring personalized value.
  • The leaders at all levels must be principled and competent and trustworthy.
  • The ecosystem of partners must be collaborative, integrated, and coordinated.
  • Luck must be on your side.

14.   Who and what could help address these barriers?

All stakeholders have a role in delivering the above, all leaders and managers must continually coordinate a forward movement toward shared goals, building momentum, generating results, communicating and sharing progress.

Amplifying the Impact

15.   What specific do-right impact would you ideally like to achieve, and why is that the most important objective for you?

So many people are doing so much to do right by others while doing well for the business. It’s my goal to highlight the wide range of people and solutions which are Doing Well while Doing Right, so that others can learn from their success, and join in amplifying the impact.

16.   What is the core message, the core vision of the initiative?

  • Together, we are Doing Well, while Doing Right by Others.
  • Sharing our successes, we can inspire and empower others to do the same.

17.   What are you doing today to amplify the impact of doing well while doing right?

We run monthly FountainBlue events online, we curate and share weekly Doing-Well stories, we coach executives and consult to start-ups, helping them do well while doing right. We also volunteer heavily in the community and connect regularly with an ecosystem of partners for the greater good.

18.   How could we all work together to move the needle forward in specific ways?

Share your story, share our events, partner with us to spread the word.

What does success look like?

19.    What does success look and feel like?

The Doing Well While Doing Right stories will be curated and shared so that others can celebrate successes, get stimulated on what’s possible, and contribute with their own strategies and plans for doing well while doing good. The lessons will live on, the community will grow stronger, the energy will grow while we all work and live in a more connected, more purposeful world, driving to a more sustainable, more equitable future.

20.    What one thing could we each do to make this so?

Bring an open mind, an open heart and positive intentions to every interaction with a focus on building connections and generating results.

In Search of Truth

December 1, 2020
In Search of Truth

How do we know what is ‘True’?

How can we act without knowing what’s True?

What can we do to validate what’s True?

Who do we work with to honor the Truth, and take action based on the Truth?

These and other tough questions come to mind in this year of great change. So many ‘Truths’ have been questioned. What we thought we knew is not quite so. Who we thought we were, who we knew our friends to be is much more fuzzy than we could have imagined.

As we look with hope to a brighter new year, let’s contemplate what Truth is, what Truth means, how we can collaboratively act on what’s valid and True for the good of all.

  1. First validate that you’re working with the Truth. Consider the sources of information, the agenda of those who might voice something less than true. Taking that moment to make sure that you’re working with True News will save you time and energy.
  2. Question your traditions, your perceptions, your faith, your authority figures, the media, your experience, even your reasoning and your judgment as you seek the Truth. Unveiling your biases, understanding your automatic responses, knowing your background will help you introspectively identify, acknowledge and embrace the Truth.
  3. Live your North Star – your values, your purpose, your goals. Align your thoughts, words and actions to that North Star, factoring in the identified Truths.
  4. Only connect and collaborate with others with information and data which is vetted as TRUE.
  5. Connect with the right person who can embrace the Truth and strategize, plan and act toward achieving a goal which would benefit all.
  6. Connect at the right time, and focus on a common purpose.
  7. Be Constructive and Supportive of the people involved, the cause adopted – with every conversation and action.
  8. Continually consider the implications of the strategies, plans, messages and actions adopted and make adjustments as necessary.
  9. Follow through, and grow the team, initiative, purpose, cause.
  10. Learn lessons well, share and document your findings. Grow the impact. Make a difference for the betterment of all.

We’ve all taken a beating from all the shocking changes of 2020. I am thankful for all the people who have helped me be more fully myself, for the health and safety of the ones I love best, for the opportunities to continue to learn and grow, and help others to do the same.

Here’s to a Happier, Healthier and Much Improved 2021!

The Whys, Whats and Hows of Diversity

October 26, 2020
FountainBlue Survey: The Whys, Whats and Hows of Diversity whenshespeaks.com/diversity

FountainBlue leverages its two decades of experience coaching and managing leaders at all levels to provide strategic Diversity and Inclusion consulting to tech companies across Silicon Valley and beyond. 

FountainBlue created the above matrix on the Whats, the Whys and the Hows of Diversity, and compiled the summary of learnings based on interviews with dozens of HR professionals in the FountainBlue network and beyond in the month of October.

Build credibility, momentum and funding by making a business case and collaborating with business leaders.

  • Attaching diversity to a business cause and a business result exponentially increases the likelihood of adoption, funding and momentum.
  • Engagement across executives, business units, and geographies also increases the likelihood of short-term and long-term support and success.
  • Although the passion behind the diversity cause brings attention, the focus on the business imperatives brings resources and results.

Rise above the do-right, and speak to the do-well.

  • Passionate and emotional commitment is essential for success, but that passion must also focus on the business imperatives.

How you think must align with how you speak and how you act.

  • Token thoughts and words are noise. Actions without thoughts and words are random acts which can’t bring lasting change. Align how you think with how you speak with how you act.
  • Choose a culture that consistently aligns thoughts, words and actions.
  • Don’t expect perfection every time, all the time, but do commit to always learning and growing and standing by core values.

It’s always about how you make people feel.

  • Make people feel important and valued.
  • Ensure that their experiences as staff consistently reflect how important they are to the organization.
  • Sincerely invite feedback and input, but only if you intend to follow through.
  • Challenge everyone to rise above what they’re doing now, and think to what they can do in the future, how they are grow in position and value within the organization.
  • Invite open-minded thinking out of the box.
  • Invite, celebrate and reward people to be enthusiastic and engaged, performing far beyond expectations. 

It’s a journey, not a destination.

  • Be vulnerable, authentic and sincere in communicating how the team, the company can work together to build a cohesive, empowered, engaged culture, a rewarding user experience, an effective organization and brand.

Please join us in thanking our participating HR leaders for their input on this article. These findings will be integrated into our coaching and diversity consulting practice with more information available at www.whenshespeaks.com/diversity. 

We also welcome your insights and input on diversity best practices you’ve successfully implemented for your company. Meanwhile, our corporate partners will share their best practices in our upcoming programs.

An ALL-IN, ALL-ONE Mindset

September 18, 2020

Adopt an ALL-IN, ALL-ONE Mindset

Conflict. It’s a fact of life. Sometimes life is dry without it, and sometimes it’s just too much spice, too much sauce! We advocate adopting an ‘ALL-IN, ALL-ONE’ mindset to help our clients to better understand the circumstances and the motivations of all stakeholders and to better strategize and plan on how to best address a conflict. An ‘ALL-IN, ALL-ONE’ mindset:

  • Reminds everyone that they are on the same team, so it benefits Everyone when any ONE person succeeds while helping Everyone to work on a common purpose;
  • Provides us with energy and hope, so that we can be fully committed (ALL-IN) and fully trusting of the team (ALL-ONE);
  • Connects everyone to a higher purpose, a higher goal than one he/she could do on their own;
  • Helps align everyone on a common purpose, and a common plan on how to achieve that purpose;
  • Encourages respect and acceptance of people who are not-like-you;
  • Empowers everyone at all levels to express their motivations and interests so that it can be factored in with the strategy and execution;
  • Invites respectful debate when appropriate with no room for dissension when a decision has been made;
  • Increases the likelihood of receiving a more diverse range of effective options and opportunities;
  • Helps any individual member (and the team) to understand when she/he is not a good fit for the team and make plans accordingly and
  • Emboldens all of us to keep reaching for stars, in a way that’s All IN, All-ONE.

You don’t have to be ALL-IN for all things, but do adopt an ‘ALL-ONE’ mindset – choose kindness and compassion and curiosity, especially for those who are not like you.

Courage – The Great Differentiator

August 25, 2020

Courage

Courage is the great differentiator. It separates Leaders from wannabes, Managers from almost-winners. Yet we each have the opportunity to be courageous regardless of our title, our role, our history, our circumstances. This blog muses on some different kinds of courage you may experience, and invites you to accept and celebrate each opportunity to display courage.

  1. Blind Courage is the unthinking courage exhibited in emergency situations, particularly when a loved one is in danger. Generally, it’s an immediate, unthinking and urgent response to circumstances.
  2. Faith is the kind of courage which helps people persevere and have hope despite the circumstances. Having faith gives us the hope to get trying, to keep getting better, to look to a brighter future, a bigger and better outcome.
  3. Responsive Courage to an Imminent Threat involves understanding current and future circumstances and bravely taking action to address an inevitable, predictable threat.
  4. Responsive Courage to a Perceived Threat is also about preparing for a difficult event, but it’s an event which may or may not happen, but there’s dread that it *might* happen.
  5. Responsive Courage to a Future Threat is about taking courageous measures for an event which would take place in the future.
  6. Conditional Courage means that you could be courageous under specific circumstances -maybe it’s when you’re engaging in a specific sport, or maybe you’re more brave when you are working with specific others or working on specific types of projects.
  7. Qualified Courage is the type of courage you feel when you’ve earned or learned or done something which makes you feel confident enough to or qualified enough to perform a risky task which takes skill, education and talent.
  8. Authoritative Courage is the courage assigned to someone who has adopted a specific role. Sometimes there’s training involved, as for soldiers or policemen and firemen, and sometimes there isn’t much training involved, when you’re a parent for example.
  9. Situational Courage is when someone tends to be more courageous under specific circumstances. For example, as I’m both a weak skier and a weak diver, I would never volunteer to rescue anyone on the slopes or in deep waters.
  10. Integrated Courage is a blend of the types of courage listed above, and other types not mentioned. Having a courageous mindset makes you more likely to choose courage and stand out in a good way. Understanding that there are many different kinds of courage will help you be more open to accepting the courage of others, and displaying some courage yourself.

Be Bold. Be Different. Be Courageous.

The Stress Sandwich

August 1, 2020

StressSandwich

Graphic by Chanti Holroyd Mention this graphic for a 20% discount chantih@gmail.com

Stress. It’s a part of life, especially in the fast-faced tech start-ups pressured to innovate and lead faster and better.

And things are much complicated with the divisiveness and uncertainty caused by the pandemic and the resulting economic distress and civil discord.

Yet we must all carry on, and we will. Below are my secrets for managing stress, especially when times are tough. I call it a Stress Sandwich.

Morning – the bottom slice of bread

As you look into the mirror, preparing for each day, ask myself two questions:

  • What am I grateful for?
  • What will I accomplish today?

Expect the responses to vary each day. There are no right answers. Expect responses to be sometimes detailed, sometimes personal, sometimes strategic, sometimes even funny, but the questions should remain the same every day.

Daytime – the everything in the middle

Throughout the day, expect to encounter stressful situations and respond to these stressors by asking yourself some questions.

  • Is it real? 
    • We get so much information. Is the thing you’re stressed about real? How do you validate the information? 
  • Will it affect you?
    • If it does, you can respond from there.
    • If it affects others close to you, it may still be relevant but may be less urgent, less meaningful.
  • Is it important to you in the short term?
    • If so, respond appropriately, especially if it’s urgent.
    • If not, is it important in the long term?
      • Either way, respond accordingly, knowing the long-term impact.
  • Is it your problem or someone else’s problem?
    • Knowing the answer will help you respond. Solving someone else’s problem brings on more stress and doesn’t necessarily address the underlying issue, while possibly causing other issues. (This doesn’t mean that you ignore the problem if it’s someone else’s problem.)
  • If it’s confirmed as your problem:
    • What is the problem specifically?
      • How is it best immediately addressed?
      • What is the underlying cause of the problem?
      • How can you address that underlying cause?
    • How did you personally contribute to the problem, if you did indeed do so?
  • Regardless of whether it’s your problem:
    • What can you learn about yourself and about the problem?
  • How can you manage the stress around the problem?
  • How can you support others through the problem?

Evening: The top slice of bread

As you wrap up for the day, look at yourself in the mirror and do three things:

  • Tell yourself what you’ve done right today and in the past. 
  • What can you do better tomorrow?
  • Tell yourself good job. Tomorrow is another day.

I’ll close by suggesting that you treat yourself by doing 4-6 items from the list below, to help manage your own stress level.

  • Meditate
  • Exercise
  • Sing
  • Garden
  • Celebrate
  • Laugh
  • Learn something new
  • Go out in nature
  • Think/Say/Do Something Unexpected
  • Make someone laugh
  • Talk to someone who makes you laugh or cry or see/hear/feel/understand something better
  • Help and support someone

STRESS has always been a part of life, and will be more so in the next normal. I hope that these strategies help you make the best of it.

A PDF version of the graphic is available here: Stress Sandwich.

What One Thing Can We Do to Support Black Professionals?

July 1, 2020

2018LeanInRacialWealthGap

Reference: McKinsey/LeanIn 2018 Report and Findings

In this time of civil unrest, of economic insecurity, of medical uncertainty, it is my hope that together, we can build a more Diverse, more Empowered and more Engaged community, focused on increasing the number of recruited, retained and promoted professionals of all colors, for the short term, and in the long term. 

The McKinsey and LeanIn 2018 report on the numbers of men and women of color across the career journey is troubling, and the pandemic, the economic crisis, the civil unrest will further impede the progress on a goal of having more men and women of color recruited, developed, retained and promoted.

I asked Black professionals in the FountainBlue network what one thing can we as non-Blacks do to positively impact our progress. Below are their responses.

Be Informed.

  • Educate yourself – the onus is on YOU to educate yourself, don’t count on others to do it for you.
  • Be discerning about what you read and look for the TRUTH.
  •  
  • Be Curious. Be a Generous Listener with an Open Mind.
  • Listen and feel to their stories of trials and challenges.

Have Acceptance and Fortitude.

  • Accept that you must also change your way of thinking, your habits, your mis-perceptions, your biases, conscious or otherwise.
  • Accept that you will make mistakes and deviate from the course. Be courageous and humble enough to apologize, correct, and carry on. 

Prepare to feel deeply.

  • Be willing to feel uncomfortable.
  • Discrimination runs deep and wide. The level of pervasive discrimination is shameful. Our unintentional compliance with any discrimination can be troubling.
  • Be courageous enough to feel deeply. It’s OK to be sad, but do not feel pity.
  • Be willing to share your uncomfortable stories, feelings and topics with others.
  • Reflect: When you have a “gut” reaction or immediate reaction that is one of: distaste, anger, fear, aversion, agreement to a negative comment or action aimed at a Black person because of what that person is: wearing, saying (e.g. opinion, vernacular, vocal variety, passion, etc.), doing, located. 

  • STOP – REFLECT. Ask yourself why your reaction was so automatic. Was it a personal experience or “a knowing.” Often times, we can’t explain embedded or systemic racism. We just “know” it’s right, because it has been so carefully trained into us from a young age.

Provide Proactive Support.

  • Make a stand for your brothers and sisters, whether or not they are present, whether or not they know you’re doing it.
  • Collaborate with others to communicate a ‘You Can Too’ mindset to our Black youths. Help them to also reach for stars.
  • Intentionally hire more diverse candidates and help them to succeed.
  • Hire on merit, not for looks.
  • Advocate for others. Continue to call out racism and bigotry when you witness it and through social media.
  • Have the grace to offer opportunity rather than just charity, although charity is also appreciated.

Seize the Opportunity.

  • Embrace the concept that diversity is part of a Growth Mindset – something that helps us all.
  • Provide a Platform so that Blacks may speak. Don’t speak on their behalf.
  • Organize group talks to discuss race, social injustices and the role privilege plays in the fight for racial justice. 

Resources and Recommendations:

As a follow-up to this blog, FountainBlue will launch a ‘You Can Too‘, to provide up to 20 Summer Scholarships for youths and young professionals to attend of our semi-monthly Front Line Managers Online programs from July-September, and including a fifteen minute online coaching session once a month for three months. To apply for the summer scholarship for our ‘You Can Too’ program, visit https://forms.gle/RaGBoRqquiFgngNW9.  

This month, we will connect with HR leaders interested in Embracing Diversity, Facilitating Empowerment, Measuring Engagement, so our August blog will feature best practices for doing each. E-mail me if you would like to weigh in on the conversation.

Coming together and making a stand for diversity and justice would not only be a testament to our courageous, proactive and positive natures, our righteous and resilient spirits as leaders and as human beings, it would also increase our likelihood of connecting deeply with each other, and of increasing the likelihood of success. 

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!

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.