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FountainBlue's August 2023 Newsletter
Change as the Differentiator - the Whether and the How
Most of our 2023 leadership blogs have focused on the importance of both TRUST and CHANGE as we navigate through the headwinds of the pandemic and into the tailwinds of the next normal.
Last month’s blog was on the WHY behind the changes we decide to adopt. As promised, this month, I will provide some thoughts on WHETHER to change and HOW to change.
Whether to Change:
Align the change to corporate goals, product goals, market shifts, and customer needs.
Know the business and cultural value of implemented changes and report on the measured impact of your actions. Consider whether it’s a change that would have an impact on many or few.
Decide whether it’s a change you, or other interested parties/stakeholders are able to make.
Ensure that the vetted data supports the need for change. Know the quantitative and qualitative measurements of success for the change initiative.
Adopt the change enthusiastically and proactively by tuning in to your WHY and managing potential risks. (With that said, don’t blindly and speedily embrace a change - see next month’s blog on pivoting through changes.)
How to Change:
Create an ecosystem of partners with a vested interest in embracing the change, based on the strategy and plan from the ‘whether to change’ bullets above.
Empower the ecosystem of stakeholders to collaborate and proactively drive change, celebrating incremental milestones.
Rolling out changes is never easy or seamless. Have the fortitude to continue to strategically plan and communicate how a change will be rolled out, despite the expected and unexpected hurdles along the way.
Continue to align the changes with the mission, vision and values of an organization. If managed well, the culture can even improve with the adopted changes.
When change happens, organizations, teams, products and leaders may realize new opportunities and challenges which can define the future.
Change does not happen in a vacuum. Accept that when changes happen, people, products, processes, and plans will also be impacted. Plan what you can, roll with what you get.
Next month, we will cover a bonus change topic - concept of pivoting through a change.
Notes from last month’s When She Speaks Online Program
FountainBlue's July 14 When She Speaks program was on the topic of 'Collaborate to Innovate'. Please join me in thanking our esteemed panelists.
This month's panelists represented a wide breadth of backgrounds and experiences, but had much in common:
They are flexible and open-minded, always adopting a growth and learning mindset.
They are customer and other-centric, always curious about the perspective and insights of those around them.
They are driven by business cases and by producing results which serve the stakeholders.
They are creative and resourceful as they focus on facilitating collaborations and innovations.
They challenged us to better collaborate and innovate. Specific suggestions are included below.
Become More Self-Aware
Have the self-awareness to understand where you are, where you want to go, and the courage to take steps in the right direction, guided by respected others.
Develop a high EQ, so that you understand the people aspects of the business, which is often much more difficult and more impactful than the technology side of the business.
Fully think, speak and act with the mindset that collaborations will lead to innovations, and drive adoption of that philosophy, and deliver results which meet strategic objectives.
Humility and open-mindedness helps build a culture which invites participation and input from a diverse range of perspectives, something which is a key ingredient for innovation.
Be More Strategic
As you look at becoming more collaborative and innovative at work, take ownership of your career integrating what you love to do, what you do well, and what the market/customers need.
Collaboration does not necessarily always mean consensus. We don't necessarily to have full alignment on all details in order to successfully jointly create something together. (However, watch out for people who can't disagree and commit.)
Think and Act Bigger
Follow market trends and track what's hot, what will serve a growing range of customers. For example, robots which automate work that is 'dull, dirty or dangerous' will be on the rise, so innovating solutions in this area would serve a current and future market need.
Leverage partnerships and allies to better understand and deliver to the needs of a larger swath of customers.
Be clear on your company's value-add/SuperPower, but also clear on its weaknesses/Kryptonites, for this will help drive a win-win strategy for successful collaborations.
Make your SuperPowers contagious, helping others around you also develop those powers. Invite others to share their SuperPowers as well.
Make a stand, build a case for collaborating to create a larger platform, tool, standard or infrastructure which would benefit all. (This amazing panel has done this in extraordinary ways!)
Build win-win, trust-based partnerships where all parties win, and reliably deliver to your commitments.
The bottom line is that we can all better collaborate and innovate if we choose to have an open mind, an other-centric mindset, and a focus on delivering products and services which better address the needs of our customers.
Notes from last month’s Front Line Managers Online Program
FountainBlue's July 7 Front Line Managers Online program was on the topic of 'Building Emotional Intelligence'. Please join me in thanking our panelists.
This month's diverse and passionate panel represented a wide range of experiences, roles and backgrounds, but they had much in common:
They are passionate about developing a growth mindset and choose to continuously learn and grow.
They are business-minded and people oriented.
They leverage their emotional intelligence to deliver business results and to drive social and cultural changes.
Below is a compilation of their best practices.
Choose to Become a Better Version of Yourself
Emotional intelligence begins with your own personal self-awareness and your dedication to continue to learn and grow.
Understanding who you are, how you are impacting others, and what motivates you will not only help make yourself more emotionally intelligent, it can also help you better understand how you are impacting and influencing others, and even help them to become more emotionally intelligent.
Manage your passion and emotions so that it doesn't negatively impact and influence how others perceive you or respond to you.
Becoming more flexible and more open-minded will not only help you better understand what drives and motivates others, but it will also help you better connect with others, and leverage the relationship to drive results.
Having Emotional Intelligence Helps to Build Relationships and Connections
When you're emotionally intelligent, it's easier to build trust and empathy which is foundational to growing relationships and connections with people who may not be like you.
Ensure that the other parties feel heard and respected, even if you disagree.
Choose to be emotionally intelligent enough to gauge when and how you deliver feedback or make requests. It will increase the likelihood of a successful response.
Authentic and transparent communication is critical, but can't be expected each time, every time. Understanding and forgiving less-than-ideal communications will help maintain positive, constructive relationships even when we can't always be perfect.
Communicate with Empathy and Authenticity
Be an open and curious listener so that you can be an on-point communicator.
Leverage your emotional intelligence to speak to the common goals and focus on delivering measurable results, using language and communication styles which resonate for each individual recipient.
Make sure that the timing is right for the giver and the receiver to have a difficult conversations.
Manage your Emotions and Focus on the Business Impact
Try not to take things personally even when you feel that something someone said or did was a personal attack. Having a calm exterior and a curious mindset may help head off an awkward interaction.
Speak to the business value for managing and leading with emotional intelligence, and point to the metrics and results for same.
Emotional Intelligence is Dynamic and Evolving
There are no right answers on how to be emotionally intelligent in every scenario, for emotional intelligent is largely situational and dynamic.
Choosing to better understand a broader range of perspectives, scenarios and challenges will help you build your own emotional intelligence.
It's not a direct path to increasing emotional intelligence, and it's not always going to be easy. Adopting humor and a longer-term perspective may help you to continue navigating forward.
The bottom line is that emotional intelligence is an essential component for any successful team and organization. Leading and managing with emotional intelligence will drive long-term results and also make the day-to-day challenges more rewarding and enjoyable.
Notes from last month’s VIP Roundtable Online Program
FountainBlue's July 14 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of 'Balancing Privacy, Security and Access'. We were fortunate to include a wide range of executives and perspectives for this month's roundtable. Below is a summary of notes from a fascinating discussion.
It is challenging for all IT, Security and management executives to balance the need to protect the privacy of individuals and organizations, while also managing the security of the data, information and IP, and dynamically providing access to the right people at the right time for the right content and right applications. But this overwhelming challenge is a part of managing any organization today - independent of size, industry, or geography.
Below are thoughts on today's evolving IT landscape.
The network will continue to be the 'passthrough' or 'gateway' to access, whether that network is hardwired, embedded, on the cloud, or even provided as-a-service.
Solutions are complex, customized and dynamic, ever-changing based on macro and micro factors such as changing policies, shifting geopolitical challenges, innovation and risk appetites, market evolution, technology adoption and integration opportunities, productivity and profitability concerns, customer and staff requirements, etc.,
IT's former guideline of 'hard on the outside, soft on the inside' have evolved as internal threats from everything from malicious code implemented internally to IP theft and even supply chain attacks.
Below are some best practices for balancing privacy, security and access:
Identify and provide weightings for the vectors which would impact your strategy including:
compliance on privacy and security requirements
(internal and external) customers' need for access to data, tools and information and the timeframe needed
geopolitical events which would impact near-term and longer-term policies
short-term and long-term objectives
customer, alliance and partner requirements
Ensure that the right parties have direct and efficient access to the critical elements which keep the network securely running, providing permission-based access only to the approved parties.
Collaborate with stakeholders to develop a comprehensive IT strategy, one which is clear on the Who, What, How, Where, Why questions, one that optimizes performance, connectivity and access, and one that is modular and simple to update when the need arises.
When reviewing network access data, look for patterns which are significantly deviating from past occurrence as this might signal suspicious behavior which may compromise the integrity of the data and the network.
Ratification of privacy and security laws are on the upswing locally, nationally and internationally, so keep informed on specific new policies.
There might be more of an emphasis on individual levels of control to create customized access to networks, based on individual preferences. It's up to companies to provide that option and ensure that individuals are protected regardless of the preferences they set.
Provide data-driven dashboards customized to the needs of individual customers so that they can make informed decisions around their IT.
Balance innovation and risk appetites for the leaders and organization and develop solutions which keep that balance in mind.
Strategically automate report-creation so that you can focus on the larger challenges.
Dynamically update policies and strategies based on a rapidly changing landscape.
Plan for short-term and long-term needs of the organization and its people.
Design modular hardware and software solutions which are informed by the overarching IT strategy.
The bottom line is that businesses and relationships are based on trust, and respecting the privacy and security of information and providing efficient, permission-based access to informed reports and data will help organizations and leaders earn and retain that trust.
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