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FountainBlue's April 2023 Newsletter
Building the Trust-Based, Change-Embracing Workforce of the Future
Our blog last month stimulated conversations around how to survive and thrive through the headwinds created by the pandemic and take advantage of the tailwinds that are stirring now and sure to grow.
Our view from the irony tower and from the trenches is that the leaders, teams and organizations that succeed through times of great change are forming trust-based, change-embracing workforces for a future nobody can predict. The visual above portrays the importance of nurturing a culture of trust, while embracing the inevitable challenges and changes to come.
High-trust, change-embracing companies are the STARs, as they are efficient and resilient enough to adapt collaborative, communicative, and innovative strategies which would set them up for success.
Change-embracing companies with low trust might have high productivity and high engagement in the short term, but these results may not be sustainable. If the team feels unsafe or unsupported by coworkers or management, they may feel disempowered, dispassionate and disengaged, and may not have the fortitude to persevere, and may leave for more attractive work options.
Companies that are high-trust and low-change might have a great group of people whom they trust, but are not making the changes needed to stay competitive and relevant in a fast-changing, demanding world. This heart-centered leadership may be noble and comfortable but is not sustainable and cannot deliver on expected outcomes without expressly embracing change.
Low-trust, change-resistant companies continue going through the motions, but cannot succeed without shifting their outlook on change and trust. Since they lack the cohesion and innovation needed to bring them into the future (with or without headwinds or tailwinds), they will need a major intervention to change their course if they are interested in surviving these times of accelerated change.
For companies committed to building a more trust-based, change-embracing culture:
Take an inside-out perspective of your organization through assessments of everything from people to organization, from roles to products.
Take an outside-in perspective of your organization by adopting a top-down, macro-trend approach, an ecosystem/alliances approach, or a technology-led approach, or a combination of the three.
As always, what gets measured gets attention, so focus on driving the quantitative and qualitative measurements that build the high-performing, committed, and resilient workforce of the future. Contact us for more information about how to build the change-embracing, trust-based workforce of the future.
FountainBlue's March 10 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.
as a Product Leader - Sam Gupta, Pure Storage
as a Business Leader - Mike Pettinicchio, Bestow Insurance
as a Marketing Leader - Shobhana Viswanathan, Mavim
This month's panelists each had decades of experience with leadership and management, but agreed that the VUCA reality is more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous than past challenges. Yet they each remain positive, constructive and hopeful despite the challenges. Below is a summary of their remarks, advice and best practices.
See and Act on the Big Picture
Embrace the volatility, uncertainties, complexities, and ambiguities in each scenario and make incremental progress in addressing them head-on.
Find and deliver on the intersection between the passion, your skills and the market need.
Focus on delivering effective, practical, must-have use cases and solutions rather than a cool solution which may be a nice-to-have.
Be willing to shift and slide and pivot, but be centered as well with your values, with your intentions, with the value you're providing for your customers.
Accept failure as a learning opportunity, but fail quickly and learn from your failures.
Be Genuine and Authentic with your People - your greatest asset.
Communicate and Connect in a way which reaches people at their level, with their preferences.
Embrace the concept of 'good-enough' rather than the dream of perfection in yourself and in others.
Believe that together you and the team can overcome obstacles and challenges and resolve issues, and make that belief inspiring and achievable.
Make everyone feel heard, empowered, engaged so that everyone can be productive, proactive, and positive.
In this global, hybrid world of work, make the time to connect with others even if you need to lean on tools like AR/VR and asynchronous meetings to make it happen.
Measure and report on the difference you're making.
Embrace all the available tools, technologies and options, but ensure that they work to serve your needs in communicating, coordinating, and connecting to deliver measured outcomes.
Put yourself first, so that you can better serve others.
Respect your 5-9 p.m. hours as much as you respect your 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. hours, to honor a work-life balance.
The bottom line is that there are no silver bullets for creating a trust-based, change-embracing workforce, but a consistent, all-in message and alignment of thoughts, words and actions will greatly increase the likelihood of success.
FountainBlue's March 17 When She Speaks program, on the topic of 'Manage Your Mindset'. Please join me in thanking our esteemed panelists and our hosts at Coupa.
Our seasoned and inspiring panelists provide practical advice and insights on how to better manage your mindset. Below is a compilation of their advice and wisdom.
Know your personal WHY and make sure that you're thinking, speaking and acting on that WHY.
Act with strength, confidence and fortitude and enable, empower, and enlist others to contribute and participate, making incremental progress towards defined goals.
Ensure that others feel empowered and enjoy what they do and who they work with and for.
Fix the bottlenecks and broken systems, for the little frustrations will slowly drain positive energy and intentions.
Accept what you cannot change.
Overwhelming as the current macro and micro conditions are, accepting what's out there and impacting us is the first step to making progress despite the challenges, and even improving and getting stronger because of these challenges.
Labeling and understanding these external conditions might support our acceptance of these conditions, and how they will forever change what's next.
The acronym 'PESTLE' was mentioned to represent the political, environmental, social, technological, legal and economic challenges brought on by the pandemic and its aftermath. See the resources section below.
Manage 'your own side of the net', rather than expecting that the other party(ies) change to better suit your own wishes and requirements.
Be centered and control what you can change.
Find the silver lining from every cloud, and leverage it to persevere and withstand current challenges.
Don't give another party the power to bring you down.
Use data and information to help hold yourself and others accountable and manage course-corrections proactively where necessary.
Create and draw upon an 'internal GPS' to ensure that you're navigating true to your course, your values, your intentions, while accepting that you can't change external factors like the road, the conditions, the signage, and the other drivers.
Don't get beaten down, settling for unappealing leadership, circumstances, and disasters. Decide to manage your mindset and reach out for the support and resources you need to ride through the wave and make incremental changes.
To increase the likelihood of success, be specific and clear on why you want to change something, what you want to change, how you want to change it, who will help change it, what the results of change will be.
Be open to input from trusted others around you.
Create a network of trusted others and invite them to help you see your world through another lens.
Welcome feedback from others so that you can grow and learn, explore and expand.
With that said, create a filter so that you trust the input, feedback and communications of others. Beware of those who would yell, demean or embarrass you or put you down, especially publicly.
Choose to always raise the bar for yourself and those you touch.
Bring an open, whole self to the challenges and opportunities ahead.
Proactively share what you know, and contribute generously to a cause worth supporting.
Look not just at the bottom line and big picture, but also at the drivers for the shifts in strategies and results.
Help humans better understand business, but also make the business more human.
Make the business case for the value add you and your team provide, and provide the data and results which benefit your internal and external customers.
Life will continue to bring you challenges as it's a journey not a destination. Tell yourself on occasion, 'I've arrived', even if you're arriving only at the next milestone, not the destination.
Connect with your team and be better together.
Create and nurture a trusted community and collective mindset which benefits all individuals, the full team, the product line, and the organization as a whole.
Work with a team to solve problems better, map solutions better, make decisions better, and in general be bigger than individual members can be alone.
Adopt an all-in, all-one mindset so everyone feels trusted, safe and empowered enough to fail forward, to work hard, to be proud of what they do. With that said, ensure that everyone is positive all-in, and all-one, willing to support a positive and constructive culture.
The bottom line is that what's next will not be the 'normal' we've always learned. But managing your mindset and that of others will help us all navigate what's next, even if nobody can predict what's coming.
FountainBlue's March 24 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of 'Innovating on the Edge'. Our executives in attendance represented a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, industries, roles, and organizations, but they each shared informed and insightful thoughts on how organizations and leaders are innovating on the edge. Below is a summary of their thoughts and suggestions.
There's an increasing need to collect data 'on the edge', so that we can collect data and respond quickly while also ensuring that the data is transferred to the cloud for additional processing and applications. The challenge is to understand what data needs to be tracked, how reports and responses can be quickly generated, and what information can be further directed to the cloud for additional processing, storage, management, and functionality.
Our executives emphasized many times the need to integrate security and privacy into edge computing solutions, and the challenge of providing these solutions when there are so many devices on the edge, when there is little access to power on the edge, and when the devices and solutions on the edge have a small form factor.
Below is a summary of some opportunities ahead:
The metaverse offers many opportunities to create models and simulations and what-if scenarios so that we can understand and anticipate what might happen on the edge to help inform us even before development and implementation.
There continues to be huge opportunities around the transference of huge amounts of data - collecting, storing, managing, processing, tracking data from the edge efficiently and then efficiently creating actionable reports from the data with high accuracy and reliability and low latency.
There will be customized solutions as no one size will fit all. With that said, providing modules which can be the foundation for a personalized solution.
There's an opportunity to process huge volumes of data with devices on the edge, where there's less access to power, features, and functionality.
Edge devices can be used to optimize working conditions, like humidity in a manufacturing plant.
Create baseline data for individual devices or vehicles and track only the variance to the baselines, thereby anonymizing the user while providing valuable insights.
No code and other robotics solutions are making an impact in industrial automation as informational technology converges with operational technology.
Proactively understand new threat vectors for solutions on the edge - even if the threat has never previously occurred.
The opportunities are amazing to behold, but there are challenges to the full adoption and implementation of innovations on the edge, in addition to the scalability and security issues already mentioned.
an infrastructure and ecosystem needs to be in place to help efficiently optimize solutions on the edge
applications which take volumes of data, generated real-time, and inserted into an app with intuitive workflow
integrating existing, complex and outdated legacy solutions into cloud and edge solutions can make an organization more responsive, more efficient, more scalable
We also talked about the need for humans to customize the integration between the solutions on the cloud and on the edge. It takes a human to strategize what needs to be done, how cloud solutions can work with edge solutions to proactively data policies and practices and facilitate innovating on the edge.
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