Discover more from FountainBlue
FountainBlue's October 2023 Newsletter
Have you ever wondered why two different people with similar skills, opportunities and backgrounds can have two very different results?
Many things come into play - from exposure to relationships to timing, skills, resilience, agility, to just plain luck. This blog is about how persuasion is both an art and a science.
Persuasion can be that difference-maker. If you’re persuasive, you can achieve access to opportunities big and small. In my own life and career, I’ve learned how to leverage persuasion to create new opportunities, to open doors, and to build networks.
The way I see it, it’s a matter of blending the left and the right brain - persuasion is both a science and an art!
Think of a drill sergeant chanting with the Rights and the Lefts…
RIGHT: It starts with the right brain. It’s your heart or your gut that tells you that you must persuade someone in order for something to progress. If your gut and heart are ‘in’, go to the next step, using your left brain.
LEFT: With your left brain, you can assess whether it’s the right time and a viable option to make that persuasive request. If it’s a ‘yes’, go to the next step.
LEFT: Once approved, the left brain can then create the framework or guardrails so that you can think through HOW to best make the ask. Setting up criteria for who to ask, what the goals are, how everyone will benefit, when to ask, etc., strategically positions you for a successful ask. Pass this framework to the right brain.
RIGHT: With this framework in place, the right brain can strategically and creatively brainstorm options for persuading specific people to undertake a specific task or action in order to make progress toward a specific goal. That list of options is next passed back to the left brain.
LEFT: With these options identified, the left brain can select the most strategic plan, clearly understanding why each person, reason, timing, goals, incentives, communication style was selected.
RIGHT: Before you implement, ask your right brain, ‘Does your conclusion make sense in your gut? Is it worth the effort?’ If yes, proceed, if no, stop, if unsure, research further before deciding.
LEFT: Allow your left brain to oversee the tasks and plans, with the intent of delivering results.
RIGHT: With your right brain, evaluate how you did beyond the results - with the relationship, with the overarching goal, with the process, with the timing.
LEFT: With your left brain, evaluate the quantitative and qualitative results and consider what’s next to progress your goal.
I hope that this post helps you think through how to blend the science and art of persuasion in order to authentically progress toward your goals through partnership.
Notes from last month’s When She Speaks Online Program
FountainBlue's September 8 When She Speaks program was on the topic of 'One of the Onlys'. Please join me in thanking our esteemed panelists.
It was my pleasure to facilitate a panel of empowering, original, and dynamic women leaders. They not only rose to management and leadership roles as 'one of the firsts' and 'one of the onlys', but they also broke ground to make those who work with them, and those who follow them, more likely to succeed.
Although our panelists represented varying backgrounds, perspectives and opinions, they had much in common:
They are lifelong learners who communicate with passion and humility.
They are self-aware leaders who always raise the bar for themselves and those around them, for the betterment of all.
They have deep experience as 'one of the onlys', yet their strength, courage and resilience helped them to not just persevere, but also to succeed.
They don't just dole out advice, they walk the talk and model the way!
Below is a compilation of their advice.
Know your strengths and weaknesses, and make choices which would help you leverage the one, and build and grow the other.
Manage your buttons and your triggers so that you can best learn from the people and challenges around you.
Have the confidence and the courage to welcome your own differences, so that these difference can become a value-add for all.
Know your value and understand others' motivations and backgrounds.
Ask questions with an open mind.
Connect with allies to help you understand and manage any given situation.
You can't win them all, so choose carefully what battles and challenges are worthy.
Build good will and solid relationships with those around you.
Be curious about others and their backgrounds and perspectives.
Use humor to help build bridges between people and teams.
Be vulnerable and authentic, transparent and clear.
Communicate and collaborate with others in a way which builds trust and connection.
We brainstormed on 'What should you do if you feel like one-of-the-onlys in the room':
Get to the meeting early and sit in the middle, forcing yourself to participate
Wear something or do something to make you feel physically good
Know that you’re not alone
Be Prepared/know your value
Getting people’s understanding
Have a meeting before the meeting
Map your allies
Plan what you want to get out of it
Engage allies outside the meeting
Identify the ‘king-makers’
We closed with a challenge to dream big, then work backwards, reaching high and believing in yourself, even if you're one of the firsts, one of the onlys.
Notes from last month’s Front Line Managers Online Program
FountainBlue's August 31 Front Line Managers Online program was on the topic of 'Negotiating for a Win-Win'. Please join me in thanking our panelists.
as an Operations Leader - Bhavya Vaidya, Lam Research
as a Marketing Leader - Matthew Robinson, Contentsquare
Our esteemed panelists had a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. They are masterful chess-players who focus on both delivering bottom line results while also building relationships, networks and ecosystems of contacts.
Below is a compilation of thoughts and strategies they shared on how to better negotiate.
Consistently communicate with patience and respect, especially when emotions run high.
Accept that it's not always easy to negotiate, but it's always a part of work/job/life, so find a way to respectfully remain engage through negotiations.
Know yourself, your abilities, needs and interests.
Manage your emotions and your triggers, remaining centered, positive and professional.
Start with the end in mind and work backwards from there.
Factor in short-term and long-term objectives.
Consider the timing and the battleground.
Remain centered on and mindful of the overarching goals.
Communicate Transparently and Clearly
Communicate with authenticity and transparency.
Clearly spell out implicit and explicit needs.
'Peel the onion' to better understand the root cause for a stated position.
Package how you communicate your offering/position.
Confirm that everyone is on the same page.
Continue ongoing communications throughout the negotiating process.
Leverage the Network/Work the Relationship
Develop and grow relationships of trust, for that is foundational for successful negotiations.
Escalate up the chain to someone with the authority to respond and support a negotiated position.
Use your political capital wisely.
Identify and work with the 'king-makers'.
Balance the giving and the taking, ensuring that the relationships are valued, as they are more important than any one negotiation.
Build relationships, networks and ecosystems before you have an urgent need.
Understand the perspective and motivations of all parties involved.
Keep peeling the onion to identify the root cause of a stated position.
Speak to the Data
Define what success looks like based on specific metrics.
Leverage the data to make the case for your position.
Include data throughout the negotiations for 'without the data, it's just another opinion'.
Consider consulting a neutral party if both sides are entrenched.
Be open-minded about other approaches/out-of-the-box ideas for reaching a win-win agreement.
Bundle what you're negotiating.
Offer a 'sacrificial lamb'.
The bottom line is that negotiating is a part of life, and strategically planning and executing on a negotiation will ideally create win-win scenarios for all parties involved.
Notes from last month’s VIP Roundtable Online Program
FountainBlue's September 8 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of 'AI/ML Enterprise Solutions'. Our executives in attendance represented a wide range of backgrounds and experiences but agreed on the following:
The concept of AI has been around for decades, but the recent development around ChatGPT has made it go mainstream with rapid mass adoption across roles, functions and industries.
AI does not only benefit customers, but it also supports internal teams and functions, helping everyone become more productive and efficient.
We asked questions which can be couched as opportunities for AI/ML Enterprise Solutions:
How can we more efficiently filter information gathered on the edge, using low-power tools?
How can we better collaborate to enable AI at scale?
How can we better leverage natural language processing, machine learning, predictive analytics, computer visioning, etc., to solve real and anticipated problems?
How can we more quickly process increasingly larger and more complex structured and unstructured data sets?
What are the tools which will help everyone develop robust enterprise AI solutions?
How can we ensure the volumes of data we have can be trusted/is validated/is relevant?
How can we leverage AI/ML to educate/train/secure the AI-enabled the workforce - not just developers?
Below are thoughts to consider as we develop AI/ML Enterprise solutions:
How can we maintain the safety and privacy of individuals and companies and customers?
How can we better architect solutions leveraging AI throughout a product design, development, delivery and integration process?
How can we support individual departments while also better coordinating and communicating between departments?
How will clustering help support the processing of data?
How can we better predict outcomes, manage costs, plan maintenance?
In closing, there was agreement that AI and ML Enterprise solutions will only get bigger and more prominent, with endless use cases. The challenge then becomes discerning the hype, from the practical and useful enterprise solutions which leverage real-time, relevant data to make us more productive and efficient.