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FountainBlue's September 2023 Newsletter
Pivoting through Change
So you’ve decided to change, you’re clear why that change needs to happen, and you’re successfully navigating that change. Maybe part of you thinks that you’re there - you’re done. It was a heavy lift for everyone to accept the change and even more difficult to work together to navigate it.
But change is a journey, not a destination. So deciding to change and working toward that change doesn’t automatically lead to successful outcomes. Below is a framework to help think through and explore whether you and the team need to shift your objective, goals, process, or formula etc. to optimally integrate the change and its potential repercussions.
Does the change objective and process align with corporate and customer goals?
Is the change in alignment with shifts in the market?
How do your returns compare to industry average?
Is the change producing the expected and anticipated value for your customers and to the bottom line?
Are the costs reasonable, given the resources and energy required?
Are the changes in alignment with corporate values, mission and goals?
Is your internal and external messaging in alignment with the expressed/agreed goals?
Are all teams in alignment with the changes?
Are leaders at all levels being inspiring and authentic, advocating for the change?
Are partners and collaborators benefiting in expected ways from the changes made?
Are your partnerships through the change benefiting all parties equitably (not necessarily equally)?
Can additional partners benefit all parties?
Are the changes providing specific, measurable outcomes, as planned?
Are planned or unplanned resource constraints affecting the plans for change?
Are partnerships and collaborations affecting results as planned?
I hope that these and other questions help you and your team think through the large and small pivots we all have to make, while integrating change.
Notes from last month’s When She Speaks Online Program
FountainBlue's August 11 When She Speaks program was on the topic of 'What He Said, What He Meant'. Please join me in thanking our esteemed panelists.
Our panelists represented a wide range of backgrounds, perspectives and upbringings, but they had much in common.
They embrace an abundance mindset, genuinely believing that the enabling and empowering of others benefits us all.
They are inquisitive, open-minded, and hard-working, dedicated to the success of their organization and their team.
They humbly and energetically tackle the tasks and challenges in front of them, collaborating with others to meet goals and expectations while embracing the values, mission and vision for the organization.
Below is a summary of their thoughts and perspectives on how to better connect and communicate across genders.
Work as a Team
Embrace the challenges and opportunities in front of you, collaborating with others on your team to deliver results.
Create safe spaces and networks so that people can share and learn from each other.
Be Open and Communicative
Be respectful curious about miscommunications and misunderstandings, and courageous enough to ask questions with an open mind to understand.
Be respectful and productive, even if you have to call someone on something.
Practice active listening with an open mind.
Be courageously direct and curious when someone says or does something which makes you (or someone else) uncomfortable.
Know when to make a stand and when to let something go. (Connect with trusted others who can help you decide what to do if you're not sure.)
Listen to your gut if it can guide you into make a good choice for a relationship or a project. With that said, also look at the data about what the gut is saying to you, and don't in generate act and speak when flooded with emotions.
Be sincerely apologetic when you mis-step, and humbly and quickly learn from these missteps.
Build Networks and Relationships
Build ongoing allyships and relationships rather than counting on developing a relationship when you need help.
Accept the mentorship and support from those who see your potential and pay them back by backing and sponsoring others that follow you.
Manage yourself when emotions run high to honor your brand, your network, your relationships.
Be Productive and Resilient
Be hardworking and purposeful growing and learning, and flexible and nimble about your path to that career.
Challenge yourself to stretch to the next level, leveraging the learnings, experience and relationships from your past experience to add value.
We ended with a list of what men (or women) in charge can do to be better mentors and sponsors for others:
Adopt an abundance mindset, believing that the empowerment and engagement of everyone serves us all.
Create guardrails and expectations centered around the values and beliefs of the organization and gently point to these guardrails when someone crosses a line.
Be the mediator and translator when there are miscommunications and misunderstandings so that you can all work as one team.
Gently stand up for others on your team and across the organization when an action or behavior damages the culture you're building.
Notes from last month’s Front Line Managers Online Program
FountainBlue's August 3 Front Line Managers Online program was on the topic of 'Problem-Solving Best Practices'. Please join me in thanking our panelists.
as a Product Leader - Sam Gupta, Pure Storage
as a People Leader - Tammy Sanders, Lam Research
Our inspiring and experienced panelists spoke eloquently and passionately about problem-solving best practices. Although they varied in their educational backgrounds and professional experience, they had much in common.
They valued short term requirements but also take a longer-term view.
They weave between the people, process, and technology requirements to bring together leaders at all levels in order to achieve measurable outcomes.
They courageously raise the bar and speak eloquently and succinctly to corporate requirements, value, and mandates to help ensure value is added for internal and external customers and partners.
Below is a synopsis of their advice and remarks.
Be open-minded, vulnerable and authentic as a leader, and empower and engage the team to contribute to the problem-solving strategy, planning and execution.
Listen not just to the loudest voice in the room, but also to the collective community, the larger group, including those who are quiet and may represent the majority viewpoint, or a novel way of looking at a problem, or an interesting approach to solving a problem.
Err on the side of inclusivity, embracing opportunities for diverse perspectives. Rise even above equality (the intent to invite all to participate), but on to equity, where you make it easier for all to participate despite physical, emotional, mental and other differences.
Accept that you are human and manage your own energy level, your personal desires and motivations as you also manage and oversee the needs of the team and the needs of the individuals.
Problem-Solving requires proactive and conscious planning, addressing the people, process, technology, and operational elements to optimize for results.
Don't choose to be a perfect problem-solver. Choose to Fail Fast rather than getting mired into a problem not worth solving. Choose to Fail Forward so that the attempts to solve a problem produce not-necessarily immediate results, but positive learnings and progressively incremental progress.
Prioritize the problems in front of you based on the impact to the customers you serve.
Look at a problem from the lens of the customer so that you better understand the needs, the motivations, the challenges, etc.,
Before requesting additional support and resources, make sure that the data speaks to the challenges and opportunities and succinctly report on what you've tried and what worked or didn't work. Then provide options for moving forward including additional funding, a strategic pivot, a collaboration opportunity, etc.,
As you work with many groups on a specific problem, be the translator between groups to help report on measurable progress and to help ensure alignment to corporate, team and product goals, mission and values.
As you work with global groups, support asynchronous communication tools so that teams around the world can document and inform without requiring real-time collaborations and connections 24x7.
Play the Long Game
Don't just solve for the short-term issue, but look also at the longer-term need to address the root cause of a problem. Make the longer-term plan to be more proficient, more sustainable, and more repeatable.
Make the longer-term objective expanded knowledge, increased inclusivity, leveled-one leadership rather than solving for just the problem in front of you today, which may come and go.
Build relationships with the wide range of stakeholders on an ongoing basis. Don't wait until you need to do an ask in order to solve a problem!
Build a community between stakeholders, reinforcing a culture which is open, inclusive, goal-oriented, and collaborative. They would be better positioned to address the problems of today and ones to come in the future.
Below is a list of problem-solving tools and strategies to consider:
The Ultimate Problem-Solving Process Guide: 31 Steps and Resources, Miles Anthony Smith, Jan 2022; See sample list below and full blog at https://www.initiativeone.com/post/problem-solving-process
Lean Six Sigma
Root Cause Analysis
Army Problem-Solving Process
Productive Thinking Model
Identify, Define and Clarify the Issue
Produce Variety of Solution Options
Evaluate and Select Planned Fixes
Evaluate, Monitor, Follow-Up
Collaborative Contingencies, Iteration, Course Correction
The Problem-Solving Process that Prevents GroupThink
An Innovator's Guide to Productive Thinking
Solving Problems with Your Problem-Solving
A Beginner's Guide to Problem-Solving
Our panelists agree that problem solving today is much more complex as we integrate geo-political, customer, team, organization, partner, and individual needs of our stakeholders. Adopting some of the best practices above and incrementally improving how we as leaders approach problem-solving will help enable and empower others to do the same.
Notes from last month’s VIP Roundtable Online Program
FountainBlue's August 11 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of 'AR/VR Immersion Solutions'. Our executives in attendance represented decades of experience in the AR/VR space, with experience in everything from semiconductors to hardware, and from communications to gaming.
Definitions to start - wikipedia as source:
Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience that combines the real world and computer-generated content. The content can span multiple sensory modalities, including visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory and olfactory. AR can be defined as a system that incorporates three basic features: a combination of real and virtual worlds, real-time interaction, and accurate 3D registration of virtual and real objects.
Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated experience that employs pose tracking and 3D near-eye displays to give the user an immersive feel of a virtual world. Applications of virtual reality include entertainment (particularly video games), education (such as medical or military training) and business (such as virtual meetings).
Although our executives in attendance had a wide range of roles and backgrounds, they agreed that:
Delivering an immersive experience is not just fun but also useful for consumers and practical for enterprises.
Decreasing the weight, bulkiness and form factor while increasing the power and functionality for headsets and devices will increase the customer experience, usability, and adoption.
Transitioning traditionally consumer applications into industrial use cases will create larger audiences and larger opportunities.
Advancing AR/VR solutions has taken decades, but much progress has recently been made, and many more applications will be soon adopted.
Below are some exciting opportunities for AR/VR immersion solutions:
Touch sensors to supplement seeing and hearing in AR
360 cameras with small form factors
sensors which allow for 3D perception
Beyond sensor creation and data generation, software solutions with real-time data integration capabilities
Continue to evolve and deliver industrial solutions from automotive to training, from safety and security to flight simulation
Innovations in semiconductors, power and display which would help to optimize AR/VR experiences
Content creation and editing for immersive experiences, including personalization of content leveraging AI
The bottom line is that we are just beginning to scratch the surface of what AR/VR can deliver for us, going far beyond entertainment and gaming to more practical educational and industrial solutions which affect our day-to-day lives.