FountainBlue's January 2024 Newsletter
If you’re like me, you look upon a new year with hope and a bit of trepidation. Change is certain, but change is a double-edged sword.
How do you adapt to upcoming changes so that it’s in your favor?
In 1987, the U.S. Army War College was challenged to understand and manage the complex multilateral world that emerged following the collapse of the USSR and the end of the Cold War. Drawing upon the leadership theories of Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus, they introduced the term ‘VUCA’, an acronym for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity.
The premise is that if we consider Velocity, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity as vectors we can proactively manage, and 1) better shape our strategy, 2) better influence outcomes, 3) better empower internal and external partners, and 4) better facilitate alignment with our mission, value and purpose.
When we isolate variables using VUCA, we can more easily assess options and potential scenarios. This ultimately allows us to optimize for a future we can’t predict, and more agilely respond to the rapidly evolving and interconnected market, technology and geo-political shifts.
As we enter into another post-pandemic year, full of hope and endless possibilities, I’ll be sharing more on this theme while presenting to the IBDC.D community on January 24 at 11 a.m. PST on the topic of ‘The VUCA Vectors: The Art and Science of Seeing Around Corners’.
Executives, entrepreneurs and investors in the FountainBlue network may request a guest pass for this webinar, but spots are limited!If you’re like me, you look upon a new year with hope and a bit of trepidation. Change is certain, but change is a double-edged sword.
Notes from last month’s When She Speaks Online Program
FountainBlue's December 8 When She Speaks program was on the topic of 'Sixth Annual Men Who Opens Doors Awards'. Please join me in thanking our esteemed panelists.
It was inspiring and humbling to honor this year's men-who-open-doors awardees. They represented different backgrounds and experiences but had much in common:
They align in the way they think, speak and act - advocating for women and the under-represented.
They speak eloquently to the business imperatives as well as the social and practical benefits for making proactive choices to empower and engage their people.
They are strategically minded, plan-ful, and persistent in their approach for including and involving others.
Below is a summary of their thoughts and advice for opening doors.
Consider the business benefits for opening doors when you open doors for others:
Help build a pipeline of managers and leaders
Support training and retention objectives
Stimulate innovation agenda
Improve decision-making and problem-solving capabilities by including more diverse perspectives
Strategically plan for 'multiplier effects' when doors are open, with impact far beyond the one action
Increase the likelihood of delivering on product and revenue milestones with more diversity on the team
Adopt the concept of 'opening doors' into your mindset.
Proactively and consistently decide to invite others to the table, creating and bringing chairs where possible, giving up your own chair if necessary.
Be consistent and strategic, including and involving a wide range of people.
Associate opening doors as a growth/abundance mindset, facilitating a culture that *wants* to grow and change, rather than a culture which fears change as a threat.
Our panelists shared some strategies to help their people:
Help people feel more comfortable, and better envision and deliver on greater possibilities - both because it benefits the team and the organization, but also because it benefits themselves personally.
Model the way, open doors, and encourage and support people to pay it forward as well.
Identify, track and report on metrics on the impact of opening doors.
Make sure that even the quiet, reserved voices are heard.
Contemplate the privileges you personally have and how your current successes can help others who are less privileged to also succeed and grow.
Encourage curiosity, humility, courage and openness as you walk through a door opened for you, and help your people deliver once the door is opened for them.
Support and offer, but don't insist that someone walks through a door you can open (for whatever reason and no reason).
Be the ally when your people are in the room, but more importantly, advocate for your people even when they are not in the room.
The bottom line is that men who open doors help make more opportunities for everyone. Let us celebrate this year's honorees, and leverage their wisdom and advice so that we can all better open doors for others.
Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue LLC
Men Who Open Doors:
Marc Farber, Senior Director, Cisco Managed Services, Cisco
Zachary Logan, Head of Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Coupa
Colm Lysaght, Vice President Corporate Strategy, Hitachi Vantara
Ravi Ravichandran, Senior Director, ISV Technology Adviser, Salesforce
Heather Felts, Director, Cisco Managed Services, Cisco
Kristi Gay, Engineering Training & Education Sr. Manager, Coupa Software
Shveta Miglani, Head of People Strategy and Experience, Micron
This month, we ran custom programs in lieu of a Front Line Managers Online Program. Themes included:
Managing through rapid change - finding your fit in the shifting sands
Stepping into management and leadership roles - the why, the what, the whether
Communicating clearly on progress, roles, and responsibilities
Prioritizing the must-dos against the should-dos and the wanna-dos
We look forward to our 2024 programs, now taking place on Thursdays in the early mornings and late afternoons PST, to accommodate an international audience.
Notes from last month’s VIP Roundtable Online Program
FountainBlue's December 8 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of 'Smart Cities, Smart Buildings'. Our executives in attendance represented a wide range of perspectives and backgrounds, but had much in common:
They have deep knowledge and expertise around technology and a track record for delivering personalized solutions which make cities and buildings 'smarter' - more comfortable, more responsive.
They are collaborative leaders adept at building win-win alliances and partnerships so that they can better anticipate and deliver on customer needs.
Below is a summary of the conversation.
We have the computational power, technology expertise and leadership needed to gather more data from sensors so that we can deliver smarter solutions for rooms, buildings and cities providing:
comfort management - creating actionable dashboards to manage everything from temperature, humidity and filtration to vibration, pressure, stability, and light;
proactive management - anticipating and responding to natural or man-made disaster management;
power usage projection - analyzing past and projected future patterns of energy usage so you can proactively plan for energy distribution;
Below is a list of some opportunities ahead:
integrating sensors into everything from vacuums to refrigerators to collect more data
upgrading antennas to be more flexible and adaptable, working with multiple connectivity standards and sensor and data requirements
making connectors and cables more sophisticated and customizable, to work with complex circuits and more demanding requirements
capturing digital files in order to proactively manage a building's energy usage
creating solutions which support a city's infrastructure so that people are safer, people are more comfortable, people are more digitally connected
integrating software which works with a range of hardware to optimize construction, retrofitting, building optimization
There are exciting opportunities using Generative AI for scenario planning:
leveraging AI/ML to predict major climate occurrences which would impact consumers, businesses, cities
projecting the impact of extreme weather for buildings and city and building more support/responding more quickly from incidents
using what-if scenarios to help optimize building heating/cooling/filtering systems
Our bottom line is that the technology is there, and leaders are open to collaboration. But there are concerns that the labor pool and regulatory hurdles might make adoption and expansion more difficult, as we continue to develop smart building, smart city solutions.
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