Archive for the ‘When She Speaks’ Category

Leveraging Social Media for Work and Play

July 12, 2014

July11Panel

FountainBlue’s July 11 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Leveraging Social Media for Work and Play. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have a wide range of perspectives for our panel, women leaders representing marketing, strategy, management, diversity, and social responsibility. They are impacted by social media through their daily work and working with internal staff, executive management, as well as customer communities. Their vision and leadership drive social media successes for their companies, and they generously shared their advice and wisdom with the audience.

1. Social media will forever change the way we communicate – respect its power and its impact, and integrate it into your everyday work and play.

  • There is no avoiding social media. People will use it and develop an opinion and perspective because of how you and your company are perceived. So embrace it and learn how to integrate it into your daily life.
  • Communication is two-way and immediate – more a conversation than a mandate.
  • Impact is probably broader than you intended.
  • Impact is immediate and can spread rapidly.
  • Impact will probably live longer than you expected.
  • Messages will reach people you don’t know.
  • Whether or not you know someone, he or she will have an opinion of you based on what you communicate on social media.

2. Given the above, be strategic about how you leverage social media in work and in play. Make sure that the message is clear, is in alignment with your values and your goals.

  • Leverage social media to get the word out, cost-effectively, engaging communities strategically.
  • Know your audience and be clear what your message is to that audience, and what results and engagement you’d like from that audience.
  • Focus on the business objectives for the social media campaigns/messages and deliver measurable results.

3. Leverage the power of social media and the analytics behind it to amplify the voice of the customer, to translate their desires to your internal teams, to connect one with the other.

  • Know what you’re measuring and why. Communicate that to the right people and plan accordingly.
  • Don’t count on automation and reports for making judgment calls about the community and what they are saying.

4. If a social media message brings negative response:

  • Develop and communicate a social media triage plan.
  • Leverage your relationship with the people who are responding badly.
  • Understand where they are coming from, and make them feel heard.
  • Diffuse the situation.
  • Decide whether it’s best to take a conversation offline, respond directly, ignore it, etc.,

5. Respect the person delivering the message.

  • Don’t try to control or over-manage the way people communicate. Let her/him have an authentic voice.
  • Do help them keep in alignment with corporate policies and strategies.

6. Train your internal staff to embrace social media.

  • Have clear policies in place.
  • Set up templates.
  • Provide materials and examples.
  • Encourage execs to lead the way.
  • Leverage what they are already doing, already comfortable with to bridge into social media communications, brand and message.
  • Refresher courses and ongoing tips would help most people more successfully embrace social media.

7. Build engagement and involvement within the communities, connections across communities.

  • Nurture your most involved community members and convert them to become advocates.
  • Deputize members of your team to represent different perspectives in the community. For example, having developers manage developer communities would make sense.

8. What you say across social media platforms will impact your brand, how others perceive you, so be proactive about understanding, communicating and managing your brand.

9. Connect with a larger group of people – across generations, across cultures, through the power of social media.

10. Create campaigns that leverage the power of communities and social media to spread the word, while saving money and increasing impact.

The bottom line is that social media is not a fad, it’s here to stay, changing the way we communicate and connect with each other, blurring the lines between personal and business, between employee and customer, and broadening and expanding and engaging all.

==========

Please join us in thanking our hosts at Visa and our panelists for FountainBlue’s July 11 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Leveraging Social Media for Work and Play:

Facilitator Natascha Thomson, MarketingXLerator, Co-Author of 42 Rules for B2B Social Media Marketing Book

Panelist Christina Gleason, Director, Global Digital Strategy, Visa Inc.

Panelist Pegah Kamal, Social Media Marketing Manager, Aruba Networks

Panelist Petra Neiger, Senior Director, Integrated Marketing, Polycom

Panelist Keren Pavese, Program Manager, Western Division Office of Sustainability, Community Outreach & Diversity Councils, EMC Corporation

Panelist Mary Anne Petrillo, Strategic Marketing and Media Partnerships for Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility

Millennials In Our Midst

June 14, 2014

June13Panel (1)FountainBlue’s June 13 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Millennials In Our Mids. Please join us in thanking our speakers for taking the time to share their advice and thoughts and to our gracious hosts at EMC. Below are notes from the conversation.

Our panelists represented a range of tech companies, with leaders from many backgrounds and roles, representing different generations – working with and as millennials, all with experience at many different levels within and outside tech organizations and start-ups and consultancies. They have worked with a range of people, leaders, teams and companies, and have generously shared their wisdom and advice.

We started the conversation talking about what a millennial is and what they had in common. Our panelists agreed that although we should not stereotype millennials or any generation group, and we should not mistake lack of experience with traits of being a millennial, and we should not think that all millennials are equal, millennials do have some similar traits.

  • Millennials like to chase ‘bright, shiny objects’, in the work context and outside it. To motivate a millennial on the team, speak about projects so that they are motivated to participate, and allow them to move between and within groups to help retain and develop them within the company.
  • Millennials are known by some as the ‘trophy’ generation, where they are used to being winners. When reality hits in the work context, and they are no longer winning at everything, or winning because they show their best efforts, it would take some getting-used-to for them. So, sandwich criticism and help them embrace feedback as learning opportunities while continuing to stroke their egos.
  • Millennials creatively problem solve collaboratively with others. Give them big picture descriptions for meaningful projects (focus on the why), and avoid telling them what to do and how to do it.
  • Millennials love technology and devices, and communicate and connect differently than those of other generations. So accept that they communicate differently, but help them brand and message who they are and what they do in a professional manner. However, when a millennials’ love-of-devices makes them appear unfocused and un-engaged in meetings, someone should help them understand how he/she is coming across and make different choices.
  • Millennials may be more experienced and less fearful of trying new things, especially around technology, so use this to your advantage.
  • Millennials have an entrepreneurial streak, and enjoy both technical and business challenges.
  • Millennials love to continuously learn and grown. The other side of that is that they need to feel continually challenged in new ways, so they may hop from job to job, role to role. But if you understand that, you can create those roles for them and help them navigate through different jobs within the company.
  • Millennials tell it the way it is – they are clear and transparent and direct in general. This is great, but some may need a lesson in strategy or tact, in order to be perceived as a respectful team player.
  • Millennials want to know the why of things, and want to see the metrics and the data. Explaining projects with this context will help them understand its relevance and impact.

Our panelists espoused these truisms, regardless of which generation you represent:

  • Communicate, collaborate and connect with each other – build a relationship, work as a team.
  • Accept other viewpoints and perspectives will help us all learn and grow.
  • Customer-focused people, teams and companies win business.
  • Find your passion, and work with those who share that passion.
  • Communicate and message your brand, what you stand for, in a way that resonates with others.
  • It’s all about the attitude – be willing to work with the team, do what it takes, learn as you grow, work with others to make something great.

Advice for getting millennials integrated into your workforce:

  • Have millennials do a shadowing visit before they join, so they get to know who’s in the company, what the culture is like, and what the work is like.
  • Do cross-generational mentoring, especially if it would help bridge disconnects between engineering and sales, for example.

Resources:


 

Please join us in thanking our hosts at EMC and our speakers for FountainBlue’s June 13 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Millennials In Our Midst:

Facilitator Camille Smith, Work In Progress Coaching

Panelist Lori Burningham, Manager, University Programs [UP]Community & Learning, eBay

Panelist Kim Chrystie, Sr. Manager, Advertising & Brand Strategy, EMC

Panelist Pegah Kamal, Social Media Marketing Manager, Aruba Networks

Panelist Almitra Karnik Sharma, Senior Product and Solutions Marketing Manager, Twilio, Inc.

Panelist Amy Papciak, IT Project Manager, Cisco

 

Standing on the Shoulders of Mentors

May 12, 2014

May09Event (1)May09Event (7) May09Event (5)May09Event (2)

FountainBlue’s May 9 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Standing on the Shoulders of Mentors. Below are notes from the conversation. Our mentors represented a range of tech companies, with leaders from many backgrounds and roles, all with experience at many different levels within and outside tech organizations and start-ups and consultancies. They have worked with a range of mentees and mentors and generously shared their wisdom and advice. Know what you want

  • A mentor is different than a coach, who focuses more on mostly your business goals. It’s different than an executive sponsor, who may have the influence and authority to help you advance in your career, open doors and navigate the politics. It’s different than a boss, who focuses more on your job performance and goals. A mentor goes beyond that and is generally a longer term (beyond a task/project), more inclusive (beyond work) relationship.
  • A mentor stretches your perspective and horizons – first listening deeply to you, and then offering information and perspectives that stretch your comfort zone and the range of possibilities for you, in work and in life.

Follow a process for selecting and working with a mentor

  • Know what you want to do and why before you reach out to identify a mentor.
  • Be worthy of mentoring – show intelligence, trustworthiness, integrity, competence, promise.
  • Consider the task you need help you, the time you need for support, and the scope of support you need before reaching out to identify a mentor.
  • Select a mentor/mentee you respect who is competent and trustworthy. The relationship will be longer term and will cover work as well as life issues, so you want someone competent and trustworthy on both sides of the mentoring table.
  • Mentees need to take ownership and drive the process and relationship, embracing opportunities to learn and grow, especially when it’s uncomfortable.
  • Be organized, on top of things, punctual, respectful of the mentor’s time and advice and connections.

Make the relationship rewarding for both sides

  • Everyone’s time is valuable – make the mentoring experience a positive, thought-provoking experience for both sides.
  • A mentoring session is not a gripe session. Find others for that type of support.
  • Embrace the opportunity to learn and grow in areas you want to focus on, but also take advantage of serendipitous opportunities to learn and stretch.
  • Celebrate your relationship, your progress.

The bottom line is that mentoring is a two-way street. Make sure that both parties benefit and grow from the relationship and interactions.


Please join us in thanking our speakers for  FountainBlue’s May 9 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Standing on the Shoulders of Mentors, and to our gracious hosts at Aruba. Facilitator Pat Obuchowski, MBA, CPCC, PCC, CEO, inVisionaria Panelist Marta Beckwith, Vice President of Legal, Aruba Networks Panelist Karen Borden, Senior Director of HR, Lam Research Panelist Laura Danckwerth, Director of Social Engineering, Stub Hub, President of eBay Women In Technology Panelist Martha Galley, Vice President, salesforce.com, Advisor, ASTIA

Building and Reinforcing Your Executive Brand

April 12, 2014

April11PanelApril11Panel

April11Panel2

April11Volunteers

FountainBlue’s April 11 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Building and Reinforcing Your Executive Brand. Below are notes from the conversation.

Whether they came from technical or marketing backgrounds, or took the college path after they started their career; whether they have worked at the same company throughout their career or switched industries and roles across companies, our inspiring and talented panelists thought carefully about how they came across to others, and how to message what they do for whom, making the message appropriate for their goals and their audience.

Whether they were coaching execs and team and others to help them present who they are in the appropriate context and language for the audience, or whether they were positioning and shifting their own brand as they evolved their career, they each recognized the importance that branding has on the trajectory of their career. Below is some advice they shared about building and reinforcing your executive brand.

Be Self-Aware and Authentic

  • Know who you are, what you stand for, what your strengths are before you communicate it. Always act in alignment with same.
  • Authentic, genuine communications will take you a long way in building relationships and resolving conflict.
  • Don’t covet the educational and technical pedigree or titles and salary of others. Build success on your own strengths and terms.

Be Strategic

  • Know with whom you’re communicating and the purpose of same prior to connecting with them.
  • Be other-centric. Listen more than you speak.
  • Know where you’re going and why, and be strategic, folding in the right support, mentorship, education, and results to help get you there.

Build Relationships

  • You can’t make friends during a crisis, and it’s hard to plan the timing for a crisis, so make a network of friends and contacts prior to any crisis.
  • Collaborate with responsible parties to focus on the fixes, not complain about the problems.
  • Know the political landscape without playing politics. Don’t be threatening to people, but do tell it straight, without an agenda. Know with whom to connect when to make those fixes happen.
  • Make those around you successful and look good, as that’s good for everyone.

Make a Stand

  • Promote for yourself in a way you feel comfortable about. Being too self-deprecating and unassuming may leave you out of the running, as someone who may not be interested enough or skilled enough or passionate enough to reach higher.
  • Have the integrity and vision and fortitude to do the dirty work, be the leader, even when it’s difficult. Make a stand, without attacking anyone and be authentic to who you are.
  • Have an educated opinion, based on your experience and outlook and background. But be willing to change your stance and opinion if necessary. Speak and tweet on points that may support your stance.
  • When you stick your neck out and have an opinion, sometimes you stand out and are a target. This can’t always be comfortable. So get support, resources, network and grounding to increase your likelihood of success.

Manage Yourself

  • Manage the emotional side of you so that you come across as rational, gracious and team focused, even when things don’t quite go your way. Sometimes it’s just a test to see how you would handle a difficult situation or decision.
  • Invest in yourself and your success, while supporting that of others in your group.

The bottom line is that your executive brand is the perception others have of who you are, and needs to be actively managed. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but the way you handle the brand messaging mis-haps will be also a part of your brand. So be bigger, stronger, and better with every mis-step, and connect with those who will support you in that journey.

See also Katja Gehrt’s blog about the event at http://sv.iabc.com/building-your-own-brand/.

Thanks also to our hosts at eBay, who have posted a video of the event.

===================================

Please join us in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s April 11 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Building and Reinforcing Your Executive Brand:

Facilitator Jerri Barrett, VP of Outreach, SENS Research Foundation

Panelist Shaya Fathali, Senior Manager, Technical Communications, Altera

Panelist Katja Gagen Gehrt, VP Marketing, General Catalyst Partners, former Senior Executive Communications Manager for Cisco’s President, Development & Sales

Panelist Tamara Lucero, Director of Inside Sales, Cypress

Panelist Emily Ward, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, eBay

Thank you also to our gracious hosts at eBay.

Agility – The Key to Building a Successful Career

March 22, 2014

March21PanelMarch21Panel2FountainBlue’s March 21 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Agility – The Key to Building a Successful Career. Below are notes from the conversation.

Our humble and accomplished panelists spoke eloquently about the career choices they made, and their leadership journey in the high tech world. They were a diverse panel, representing marketing, training, HR, and management, and they had various levels of education and background, from technical training to business degree. But they had many things in common: they embraced opportunities at every turn, and succeeded at many levels through many different kinds of work. They consciously made career choices, *and* they serendipitously accepted opportunities as they arose. Collectively, they share these kernels of wisdom to those of us seeking to be more agile with our career.

Know Yourself. Be confident and accepting of who you are.

1)    Know yourself and what’s important to you, and make strategic decisions based on what you know about yourself. Recalibrate as your needs and interests will change, but always measure opportunities based on what’s important to you.

2)    Double down on your strengths.

3)    Have the confidence to reach for stars, even if you don’t feel quite qualified and ready to do something.

4)    You don’t have to have a privileged background and the right education and money to make it to the top. You do have to do a great job and work well with others though, no matter what your background is.

5)    Don’t judge yourself and put restrictions on yourself.

6)    Question the restrictions and limitations others put on you too.

7)    Surround yourself with people who believe in you, and help you believe in yourself.

8)    Have the confidence to speak your mind, share your opinion, even if you think others around the table may be more qualified to opine.

Your career is a journey.

9)    Your career, like life, is a journey: Learn from your mistakes; fail forward; don’t walk in the same river twice.

10) Choose to be self-sufficient and in charge of your own future.

11) Be strategic if and when you’d like to facilitate a career change. Do the research, ask questions, make connections, communicate your interest to others.

12) Wherever you next find yourself, you will find your way if you persevere, work hard, work smart, and are good with people.

13) Be clear about your motivations and intentions, and welcome the universe to provide you with serendipitous opportunities, while telling everyone you know what you want to do and why.

14) If you accept an opportunity which isn’t quite what you’re looking for, you may open up a whole new world of opportunities which might better fit your sweet spot.

15) Career change is often a multi-step process. Many people get frustrated that they can’t make the change they want in one foul swoop. Consider making one change at a time – either role or industry for example, pay your dues in that interim step, and plan for the longer term success of your career.

Support others.

16) The more we support ourselves, the more that we support the others around us.

17) It’s always about the people. Know who helped you get to where you want to go and show your appreciation. Consciously help others also to succeed.

18) Believe in others around you, and offer the kind of unconditional love and acceptance which helps you yourself to succeed and change and grow.

19) Lean in, share your challenges, your power, your experience.

20) Give generously in ways that energize you yourself.

In the end, remember that your career is more a jungle gym than a ladder. You may go lateral and around in circles. It may not be plan-ful, but you can see the equipment as a way to maximize exposure, learning and growth, in order to benefit all that participate.

Recommended Resources:

===================

Please join us in thanking our generous hosts at Altera, and our speakers for FountainBlue’s March 21 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event on the topic of Agility – The Key to Building a Successful Career:

Facilitator Marsha Gastwirth, Wine Trail Escapes

Panelist Mercedes De Luca, Vice President & GM, eCommerce Sears Holdings Corporation

Panelist Jocelyn King, Head of Worldwide Corporate Marketing, Altera

Panelist Nancy Long, Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer, Hitachi

Panelist Tracy Meersman, Manager, Global Channel Learning, McAfee

Panelist Alexandra Shapiro, Senior Director, Small Business Marketing, PayPal

Expanding Your Circle of Influence

February 15, 2014

Feb14Panel

FountainBlue’s February 14 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Expanding Your Circle of Influence. Below are notes from the conversation. Our panelists this month represented a variety of backgrounds from product management to CSR, marketing to engineering, and a variety of educational backgrounds and experience – some technical, some not so much, but they all had successes in the business arena, influencing with or without authority. They were generous in sharing their advice and insights, which are synopsized below.

  1. All successful leaders work with people from a wide range of backgrounds, experiences and motivations. They take the time to understand the mindset, perspective and motivations of the people that they work with, and build a relationship with all stakeholders at all levels. They are great leaders for a cause, great cheerleaders for their team, authentic communicators to their range of stakeholders.
  2. Listen to all communications of others – the verbal, non-verbal, the things-that-said, the things-that-others-say-about-them. Use this along with direct communications to figure out what makes someone tick, what’s important to him or her, and work with her or him to create a win-for-all.
  3. People who are great at influencing others are authentic in their communication, transparent and clear about their motivations, invested in the success of the company, humble about themselves and what-they-know, and genuinely care about the people with whom they connect.
  4. Influencers embrace change, and find a way to communicate why change is good for all the constituents they work with.
  5. Leaders who influence broadly and deeply have a track record for making things happen and delivering results for and alignment toward a corporate goal. Often, they leverage data, including market research and social media data, to help influence decision-makers and implementers to align behind a vision or goal or cause.
  6. No matter what they are feeling, influencers don’t make it personal – remaining focused on the relationships and the results. This unwavering commitment, coupled with their credibility and authenticity helps instill loyalty and commitment from the people they work with, even if there isn’t yet a deep personal relationship.
  7. Rather than trying to impress others with who you are and what you do, focus instead on solving the problems of the people with whom you’d like to connect and you will make an impact on them.
  8. Help the people you work with focus on the business objectives, rather than distractions and personal agendas and platforms.
  9. Sometimes influence occurs in the incremental changes made. Make a stand for a goal, and accept every concession toward achieving that goal, especially if you can help someone take the credit for the results.

10. Above all, build trust with all the people you work with directly and indirectly, and deliver results in the name of the higher cause, rather than for your own personal motivations. The bottom line is that you should keep a bank of influencing skills ready for use, from listening to direct confrontation, from bartering to negotiating. Remember to focus on relationships between stakeholders, and delivering results in alignment with corporate goals. The successful influencer challenges the status quo, facilitates new ways of thinking and doing, and ultimately fosters change for companies and leaders, in a good way. Resources:

==================

Please join us in thanking our speakers for FountainBlue’s February 14 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Expanding Your Circle of Influence, With or Without Authority and our generous hosts at LifeScan:

Facilitator Lucie Newcomb, President & Chief Executive Officer, The NewComm Global Group, Inc.

Panelist Tonie Hansen, Director, CSR and Sustainability, NVIDIA

Panelist Karen Pieper, Director of Synthesis, Tabula

Panelist Dawn Torres, Project Manager, CLS PMO, Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems

Panelist Kelly Vincent, Senior Director of Product Management, eBay

Work Life Balance

January 24, 2014

WorkLifeBalancePanelFountainBlue’s January 24 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of How to Throw More Balls Up Higher: Juggling Work-Life Balance in Demanding Times. Below are notes from the conversation. 

We were fortunate to have a range of seasoned executives with diverse experience in varying roles across organizations, functions and cultures, all as parents of young children, and all with high-impact roles within their organization. They experienced first-hand the work-life balance questions which riddle all of us with high-responsibility jobs in tech, whether we were new to the industry and role and company, or seasoned and experienced in many different roles, whether we are busy and childless or whether our child-rearing days are behind us or overwhelming us day-to-day.

  1. As a whole, our panel talked extensively about finding that inner peace, that inner direction which keeps them confident and grounded, and acting for that higher purpose, guiding them in their day-to-day choices, making conscious choices for things-that-matter to them. In addition, they knew how to feed themselves inwardly and outwardly, through hobbies, exercise, social time, meditation, etc., so that they can keep that centeredness and focus.
  2. They have the self-awareness to know what they want, to know what their strengths are, and the confidence to act on what they know to be true. Grounded in their knowledge and successes, they unapologetically ignore the inevitable naysayers and judgers and political-game-players who may make others question themselves and feel guilty.
  3. They were all good at what they did – putting in the long hours, delivering a track record of results, grooming and growing teams to make a difference. And they were good at setting boundaries so that they are not overtaken by their job, while also creating opportunities for those-on-their-team to also shine.
  4. When new roles and opportunities arose, they were plan-ful and strategic about whether it’s work they want to do, what they needed to do the job well, whether it’s something they are qualified to do, and
  5. Each role and project adopted by our panelists was embraced with enthusiasm and gusto, with the focus on engaging the team and delivering results.
  6. It’s not that things always go their way, but they are plan-ful about what they want and how to go about getting it, while focusing on the life part that’s so much more important. When the emphasis shifts back to work, then they focus on re-working the plan so that it works for all.
  7. They were all adept at setting boundaries and expectations about the times that they work, the kind of work they want to do, and overall how much they are willing to do on the job, for the job.
  8. They encouraged us all take a chance and not to be too complacent and comfortable where we are – to stretch ourselves to become all we can be, not later when life settles down, but now, when you have a chance.
  9. Cherish your relationship and your time with your kids, particularly when they are young. Your work can wait, people at work can go on without you, but if you’re not there for your kids, if you overpromise and don’t do what you say, it would impact your relationship with them.

10. They are experienced, connected and savvy enough to access networks and resources and support groups to help make things go smoothly at work and at home, delegating wherever possible, focusing on actions and areas where they need-to-be, always making the people-most-important-to-them feel that they are exactly that.

The bottom line is that they knew that work keeps changing – it will always be there, it is more flexible, like a rubber ball, and life – the people like family and friends and the things that matter more to you are more fragile, and need to be nurtured more, particularly in times of need.

=================

Please join us in thanking our speakers for taking the time to share their advice and thoughts at FountainBlue’s January 24 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of How to Throw More Balls Up Higher: Juggling Work-Life Balance in Demanding Times:

Facilitator Nancy Monson, Nancy Monson Coaching

Panelist Monica Bajaj, Senior Engineering Manager, NetApp

Panelist Brenda Beiter, Supply Chain Operations Manager, Google

Panelist Heather Gordon Friedland, Senior Director Product Management @ eBay – Search & Discover Team

Panelist Jennifer Petty, Director, Operations, Cisco

Thank you also to our gracious hosts at NetApp.

Getting The Most Out Of Both You and Your Team

December 16, 2013

Dec13Event

FountainBlue’s December 13 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Getting The Most Out Of Both You and Your Team. Below are notes from the conversation. 

We were fortunate to have a range of seasoned executives with diverse experience in varying roles across organizations, functions and cultures. They worked with companies and teams large and small, had training in tech and outside, with in-depth team management experience, particularly in tech companies and start-ups. Their top ten pieces of advice for getting the most of our yourself and your team are below.

Leadership Comes From the Top

1. Have a vision and direction – the why that would motivate a team to achieve greatness, the north star which keeps everyone focused.
2. Support the executive team in modeling the values of the company. But as you think globally with great values, act locally, and providing the time and resources necessary to achieve goals.
3. If the executive team is less than supportive of a team-based model, a second option is to create a protected micro-environment where teamwork and collaboration are valued. This may not be the best long-term option, but would work for the short term.
4. Successful team leaders have functioned in many roles at many levels, working with a wide range of people. They find a way to gain the respect of those they work with, and create an environment of trust and respect and a can-do spirit, as well as a track record for delivering results.

Direct, Clear, and Transparent Communication is a Key to Success

5. Communicate directly, clearly and regularly about roles and responsibilities and measuring success. Successful team leaders are positive and supportive when things work and decisive and clear if a pivot needs to occur – communicating the what and the why.
6. Revisit and revise your goals and objectives, roles and metrics as the team, organization and project evolve.
7. Inspire, Connect, and Empower through regular communications to your network of stakeholders.

It’s Always About the People

8. Assume positive intent from people you’re working with, and take the time to know who they are and what their motivations are. Be open minded about who others are and how they do things. In fact, having people who don’t think like you on the team can actually be a *good* thing.
9. Empower everyone to lead to the best of their ability, no matter what their role or your role is within a company.
10. Facilitate the transfer of people between and within groups to help optimize their success.

The bottom line is that successful teamwork is about having great people working collaboratively to deliver clear results, serving a purpose that inspires, and an appreciative customer base.

(more…)

The Business Case for Diversity

November 11, 2013

Nov8Panel

FountainBlue’s November 8 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was the topic of The Business Case for Diversity. Below are notes from the conversation. 

We were fortunate to have a wide range of experienced and passionate panelists who provided insights, suggestions and advice for creating a business case for diversity. Although our panelists represented a wide range of perspectives from HR to strategy, from legal to program management, they spoke passionately about the need for embracing diversity, and the business implications of doing so effectively.

Our panelists had a wide range of upbringings which helped them appreciate and embrace diverse perspectives from an early age. Whether they stood out physically as an immigrant or whether they had the same superficial similarities as those around them, from an early age, they have each appreciated how different they are from others, and how every has unique perspectives to be considered.

Throughout their career, our panelists have traveled across cultures and continents, representing a range of perspectives and viewpoints and business units, always advocating for clients and staff, ever translating the communication of those swimming-against-the-mainstream viewpoints, ever looking for the business advantages for doing so. They consistently spoke not just about the importance of strategically embracing diversity, but also about how to do so tangibly and measurable so that it continually engages the needs of the customer, and serves the people, operations and processes of the company.

Our panelists today believe that strategically embracing a diverse range of perspectives will help create more robust solutions, and done well, facilitate healthy debate and engagement, as well as an environment in which those viewpoints are invited and welcomed. This type of corporate culture builds loyalty and welcome innovative, out-of-the-box thinking as well – both undebatable contributors to the bottom line.

Diversity in the workplace has become so much more important over the past two decades as technology, business, and customer needs are evolving much more rapidly than ever before and the focus is prominently on creating value for the evolving and growing niche customers globally. There were many specific examples about needing a team who can speak the language and understand the culture of global customer bases in order to understand customer needs, negotiate deals, and otherwise engage with critical partners from around the globe.

One of our panelists mentioned the different layers of diversity: the primary layer, things that we can’t (easily) change such as age, gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity, the secondary layer, related to geographic, income, work style, communication style, and the tertiary layer such as organization, position, union, management, and status. Incorporating a range of stakeholders with primary differences and engaging a range of stakeholders from different secondary levels (geography, role, styles) and then focusing on shifting the organization and the culture to embrace diversity at all levels is a worthwhile challenge for companies focused creating an ongoing business case for diversity.

Below is some specific advice from our panelists about creating a business case for diversity:

  1. Identify your niche audience and understand how to create value for them.
  2. Recruit people from your team who would understand the thinking and needs of that niche audience.
  3. Be open to those who don’t think like you, and encourage and reward others in your team and network to do the same.
  4. Create tangible results that measure success, which might include numbers around retention, sales, community and partner engagement, or other factors.
  5. See beyond the stereotypes and respond to the way people think, speak and act. Always question your own assumptions about stereotypes and embrace those situations which break your view of what’s expected.
  6. Change is difficult for some people and for some organizations. Making the business case for change will assist in transitions to new strategies and practices.
  7. Think act and speak your mind, and show how your thinking differently is good for yourself, your team and your company. Step into what is scary, and be confident that your thinking differently will make a difference.
  8. When someone makes assumptions based on your gender or looks, take the high road and prove your value.
  9. Mentors, supporters and networks facilitate the success of people who think differently. Recognize, respect and honor who has done this for you, and choose to do something every day to support others.
  10. The more diversity is successfully embraced in your organization, the more effective the business case for diversity as success begets success.

The bottom line is that diversity in the business perspective is not so much about moral and social justice, doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. It’s about being profitable and competitive *and* doing the right thing – morally and fiscally – for all stakeholders, from staff to customers to management, need to feel included, and valued and respected, and supported for our differences. The more our actions, words and thoughts reflect this objective, the more engaged and successful our stakeholders will feel, and the better the results we deliver.

(more…)

Women Leading Innovation

October 14, 2013

Oct11-2  Oct11Panelists

FountainBlue’s October 11 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Women Leading Innovation. Below are notes from the conversation.

Our panelists this month were both brilliantly eloquently and provided practical, candid and stimulating advice for us around innovation. They shared these top ten truths about innovation.

  1. Innovation stimulates business change, offering new products, markets, processes, messages, energy and information that creates momentum and shifts the business in a good way.
  2. Innovation occurs across the organization, not relegated just to R&D teams, but also involving processes and operations, marketing and markets Innovation is a matter of timing – delivering a new product or service for an audience in need, with the ability to pay for it.
  3. It takes a village to innovate, so bring the right people in the right roles, and together focus on doing what’s best for the company in the short term and in the long term. For example, designers love being given constraints and parameters within which they can innovate, and researchers are great at identifying markets while data scientists could tell you what your innovation results are, what your aggregated and niche current and future customer base is looking for etc., Everybody has a piece of the puzzle.
  4. Successful innovation has a foundation of relationships across stakeholders, and executive buy-in, as well as engagement across the board. So develop partnerships with stakeholders across and within the organization – particularly at the executive level and facilitate collaboration and engagement across and between groups.
  5. Welcome people who think and act differently into the team and ecosystem. That uncomfortable feeling they bring to the table may be the nub of an idea which sparks innovation.
  6. Some people mistakenly think that innovation is about creating the new new. Creative and original thinking are great, but you must also have structure within which to innovate. Much has already been invented, but reusing the proven technologies in new ways for new markets provides opportunity for all.
  7. It is hard for some to embrace disruption. Some may have to stretch their thinking. Some may be uncomfortable about the impact on the brand. Some may question whether the new way of doing things can be done, or is worth being done. Sometimes the resistance is so overwhelming across the organization that innovation can’t take place.
  8. Policies and rules and protocol must be followed, particularly when you’re representing a big company, and negotiations and processes may take longer for approvals. Corporate Innovation must take place respecting these parameters. However, too much corporate processes and policies can stifle innovation, with Kodak being an unfortunate case in point. Specifically, Kodak, the company which invented digital photography got leapfrogged by other companies who could innovate in that area, and became bankrupt despite their promising early edge in a huge market.
  9. Be cognizant of the many stages of innovation, from the open plateau, sky’s the limit perspective of the start-up or early projects, to the socialization of projects through the management team, through the iteration of versions and strategic feedback of early adopters through the input of channels and alliances. Different leadership, management and technical skills are leveraged at different levels. The innovation leader must lead throughout the process, building relationships and credibility along the way.
  10. Innovation is never easy – it takes vision, perseverance, and pushing through failures in order to succeed. Succeeding in innovation process despite the obstacles is its own reward, particularly when the bottom line agrees.

Our panelists shared this practical advice for those who want to better embrace innovation across their organization.

  1. Adopt projects for which you feel passionate, for you will be working on it through thick and thin for many months and perhaps years to come. Plus the innovations you help to make happen will also certainly impact your company’s, your team’s and your personal brand.
  2. Focus on doing the right for the company in the short term and in the long term.
  3. Timing’s everything. The people and company may not be ready for an innovative idea or concept. Pick your battles. Perhaps you can pick up that same baton another day, when the market and customers and infrastructure are more receptive and ready for that new innovation.
  4. Be persistent.
  5. Be open.
  6. Lobby for support.
  7. Challenge the status quo, in a way that helps people become more open, without feeling threatened.
  8. Carry the project from beginning to end and always focus on creating measurable results
  9. Think forward about what your innovation successes will say about you, your team and your company.
  10. Have the network and resources to support you as it will never be easy, and may be a long road ahead.

In the end, our panelists concur that to be an innovative leader, you must have the vision to want to change the way something is done, the courage and persistence to lobby for it to happen, the proven results from current and past projects to show why something is a good idea, and the network and support to stand behind you, the corporate culture which would welcome this behavior, and, most importantly, the communication and leadership skills to bring it all together, with a focus on driving bottom-line business results, engaging all stakeholders, serving current and anticipated customers.

=================

FountainBlue’s October 11 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Women Leading Innovation, featuring:

Facilitator Karen Catlin, Principal, Karen Catlin Consulting; Co-founder, Femgineer; Advisor, Athentica

Panelist Marlene J. Begay, Supply Chain Director, WW OPS Supply Management, Oracle

Panelist Daniela Busse, Ph.D., Director/Design Futurist, Samsung Research America – Silicon Valley

Panelist Athena Maikish, PhD, Global Director, Business Analytics, Reporting and Data Science at StubHub

Panelist Monique Morrow, Cisco Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Services Platform Group (SPG)

Panelist Amy Warner, Business Unit Manager, Precision Analog Group, Texas Instruments

Please join us in thanking our speakers for taking the time to share their advice and thoughts and to our gracious hosts at Texas Instruments.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 386 other followers