FountainBlue's March 2023 Newsletter
The pandemic caused a host of ‘headwinds’, making it difficult to launch and grow companies and businesses. These political, economic, social, technological legal and environmental (PESTLE) micro- and macro- trends have affected us all at many levels.
I don’t seek to understand, manage or dissect these macro- and micro- trends, but I would like to provide tips for leaders and organizations looking to persevere through these unprecedented times.
Be open-minded with your thinking, open-hearted with your approach, and calm and efficient with your execution.
Adapt quickly as technology and communication continues to speed up and expand, and leadership will have to be more flexible and agile to keep up.
Leverage the convergence of technologies, industries and ideas through coordination, communication and collaboration.
Understand and embrace new realities, focusing on only impacting and shifting what you can influence and change.
Embrace diverse perspectives, engagements and participation as they are key elements for innovation, productivity and problem-solving.
No matter where you sit at the table, make a difference for those you touch, in alignment with the mission, vision and values of your organization.
Build an ecosystem of partners in order to strategically plan for an uncertain future.
Develop deep and broad relationships based on mutual respect and trust.
Use data as a dashboard to analyze the challenges and opportunities of the past and today, while making projections for and planning for the future.
Don’t just look at the past to predict the future. Use scenario planning so you can be prepared, nimble and agile when the winds unexpectedly shift, into a future you can’t imagine.
Nobody could have predicted the events of the past three years. But we can all learn to better navigate headwinds, and invite the tailwinds as we breeze into the new reality of what’s next.
Below are notes from last month’s When She Speaks online program.
FountainBlue's February 17 When She Speaks program, on the topic of 'Leading with Passion, Agility and Resilience'. Please join me in thanking our esteemed panelists:
Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
Panelist Sona Mahavni, Director of Software Engineering, Aruba
Panelist Susan Norton, Senior Director, Human Resources, BOLD
Panelist Karen Sun, Senior Director, Partner Marketing, Coupa Software
Our passionate, agile, and resilient leaders were inspiring and informative as they talked about their leadership paths to date and the challenges and opportunities offered to everyone in this time of great change. Below is a summary of their advice and suggestions.
Be Strong, Confident and Passionate, despite the circumstances.
Know yourself and the value you bring through your own skills and experience.
Know your knowns and your unknowns and work backwards, forwards and sideways to plan for future scenarios.
Be opportunistic and creative around problem-solving, so you can secure the resources you need to do a job well.
Proactively create a strawman approach and fail forward, learning as you go.
Become more comfortable with ambiguity, for change happens quickly, and one must assume some risk in order to respond proactively.
With that said, do what you can using modeling and AI/ML to get clarity on current issues, so that you can plan and manage through challenging unknowns.
Build Strong and Deep Relationships, working with others.
Ask questions, be curious.
Work with people smarter-than-you so that you can get more done.
Collaborate and connect with others in ways which benefit all.
Develop and grow a culture embracing growth and learning.
Be authentic, empathetic and transparent in your communications with others.
Understand and respect the motivations of others.
Create an Ecosystem of Support
Although nobody can see the future, everyone across the ecosystem may contribute and support others in unique and diverse ways. We are better together.
Empower others across the ecosystem to reach higher and do more than they think they can, and provide them the support and resources they need so that they succeed.
Know enough about your business, your industry, your team, your challenges, to understand how the ecosystem of people and organizations work together to deliver results.
Deliver Measurable Outcomes
Listen deeply to the requirements and needs of your team and customers and deliver results which build momentum and add value.
Understand the root causes for shared problems and work with the team to address issues/resolve problems.
The bottom line is that leaders will always be the great difference-maker. We thank our panelists who inspire us to choose to lead, no matter where you're sitting at the table or in the org.
Below are notes from last month’s Front Line Manager Online programs.
FountainBlue's February 10 Front Line Managers Online program on the topic of 'Leading in the New Reality'. Please join me in thanking our panelists.
as a People Leader - Kerry Perryman, Samsung Research America
as an Engineering Leader - Kamal Kharrat, Bestow Life Insurance
as a Business Leader - Kelly Haan, Cisco
This month's dynamic panel spoke eloquently and passionately about how to lead through the new reality we are all experiencing. Below is a summary of their advice.
Connect and Communicate with Everyone
Be authentic and transparent in your communication with others.
Help everyone feel empowered, engaged and connected with each other.
Align everyone to a common purpose which serves the strategic mission and the customers.
Assume positive intent and help everyone to succeed or fail forward.
Help everyone feel confident and connected, like you have their back, even when he/she flubs, for flubs are inevitable.
Build a culture where people feel safe giving and receiving feedback, where people can commit to continuous improvement across the organization
Think and Plan Strategically
Embrace your strengths and collaborate with others to bolster your weaknesses as you plan-fully work toward measurable outcomes.
Understand the macro trends but focus on the elements which you can control and manage.
Work across the team to ensure that everyone has access to the resources and support they need to execute seamlessly.
Proactively collaborate to execute seamlessly.
Communicate outcomes and raise the bar so everyone learns how to improve incrementally while celebrating successes.
With that Said, Shift with Agility
Embrace the uncertainties and even see them as opportunities.
Create and maintain an infrastructure which would empower everyone across your ecosystem to pivot seamlessly with agility and efficiency.
The bottom line is that leaders can vacillate between the long term vision for success and the shorter term objectives for plan-fully and strategically executing. But whether they are focused on one or the other, it's always centered on how do we better enable the people we touch across our ecosystem? The more we're connected with everyone across our ecosystems, the more nimbly and effectively we can all respond to the new reality.
Below are notes from last month’s second Front Line Manager Online program, delivered at an Asia-friendly time.
FountainBlue's February 23 Front Line Managers Online program on the topic of 'Managing Up, Down and Sideways'. Please join me in thanking our panelists.
as a Business Leader - Kavita Shah, SunRise Memory Corp.
as an Operations Leader - Vicky Watson, Lam Research
as a Product Leader - Nancy Moreno, Adobe
as a Program Leader - Amber Barber, Jade Global
It's clear that this month's panelists have deep expertise and experience managing up, down and sideways. It has proven to be very useful throughout their careers, but especially with all the changes brought on by the pandemic. Below is a summary of their advice and suggestions.
Dare to Lead
Step up and step in to the roles and responsibilities your customers, clients, staff and executives need, no matter where you're sitting at the table and in the org. Don't wait for someone to give you an invitation, for someone to provide you with the credentials and certifications to solve the problem at hand.
Negotiate with partners and allies to help ensure that everyone has the skills, abilities and talent needed to succeed.
Speak first to the WHY (the purpose), then to the WHAT (the task), then to the WHO (who does what) before focusing on the HOW.
With that said, ensure that the parameters for the HOW are clear, while not defining exactly HOW something should be done (as that would be micromanaging).
Hire people smarter and better than you are yourself and help them to deliver results in alignment with strategic goals.
Communication is Key
Know your audience and speak so that you get heard. In general, executives want top-down/big-picture communications, without drilling into details while technical colleagues want detailed reports and information.
Be humble and open and invite input, feedback, advice and guidance to help build engagement and connection with others on your team and beyond.
Be authentic but direct, transparent and clear in your communications.
Let your left brain lead when emotions run wild, being curious about why the thinking, words or actions triggered yourself or others you touch.
Build Deep and Broad Relationships Based on Trust
Connect deeply with those around you, taking the time to understand not just what they do at work but who they are as people.
Treat everyone as individuals, respecting everyone's unique motivations, challenges, abilities, skills, triggers, and perspectives.
Make the time to connect socially over lunch or coffee, to connect as humans, not just work-mates.
Be worthy of the trust of others, and insist that those you trust are worthy of that trust.
Consistently Deliver Measurable Results
Focus on making an impact, and supporting your executives, staff and team so that everyone is aligned on delivering measured impact within required timelines.
Collect and report on dashboards of data which help track and analyze progress. Then use those dashboards to take informed actions to help ensure continued progress.
Sometimes you and your team have to shift and change in order to continue delivering results. Communicating that 'what got you here isn't going to get you there' might help the team to embrace a new way of getting things done.
Be open and curious about why things don't go as planned and focus on the learning rather than the blaming.
The bottom line is that communicating, connecting and collaborating will continue to be key to successful management and leadership. Connecting with those around you who feel the same way will help each of us better serve those we touch.
Below are notes from last month’s VIP Roundtable.
FountainBlue's February 17 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of 'Supply Chain Optimization' with opening remarks by Lam Research. Our executives in attendance represented a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, roles, and organizations, but they each have extensive experience working with supply chain challenges, particularly during the pandemic. Below is a compilation of their thoughts on supply chain optimization.
The headwinds of the pandemic wreaked havoc on our political, environmental, social, technological, legal, and educational (PESTLE) systems, but as leaders, we persevered and navigated the challenges in front of us.
Supply chain hiccups have not in the past presented the type of problems we've recently witnessed. (We have been more used to production or sales challenges.) Below are a highlight of learnings to optimize the supply chain:
Diversify your supplier base.
Build deep trust-based relationships with the whole network of suppliers.
Once you've secured the materials, ensure that they are stored and transported efficiently to you - or we may revisit the scenario when we had huge amounts on ships that are idling at ports or at sea, waiting to unload.
Proactively prioritize which product/team will receive limited resources.
Create access to more local resources so that you're not relying too heavily on global suppliers.
Don't just make plans for natural disasters like earthquakes and fires, but also for man-made challenges like trade wars and invasions.
Below are some thoughts on better plan and manage supply chain issues:
Consider focusing more on software and services so that you're not dependent on materials and manufacturing.
Embrace technology solutions like AR/VR and conferencing to deliver immersive support experiences when you are supporting customers remotely.
Build a dashboard for intelligent operations so that you can model scenarios and responses.
Consider offering software and services add-on solution, leveraging a customer's existing hardware and infrastructure.
Leverage alliances and collaborations for win-win returns and results. Your friend might be your customer, your competitor, your partner!
I learned so much listening to our executives this morning. My bottom line is that it's leaders and innovators like the ones present today who will help us all address the supply chain optimization challenges and opportunities ahead.
We hope to include you for this month’s online programs as well.
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