- Understanding what customers are looking for and how companies are serving their needs is fundamental to selecting a company and a role where you can be successful.
- Technology will be core to providing scalable value for all successful businesses, no matter what industry you’re in. So companies who get this precept will be more likely to embrace and integrate technology in serving their customers.
- Understanding the market trends will help you predict which company and which leaders to join, and why they have an edge over others.
- After selecting the right leaders and company, you can focus on what you’re passionate about and how you can make a difference.
- Deciding what you really enjoy doing is a superset of what you’ve enjoyed doing in the past, plus what you would like to do, if you were given a chance to do it. Often this involves including a creative element, which had not been previously encouraged.
- Don’t ignore your needs or your passion – it will help you find both happiness in the short term and for the long term.
- Skills are important, but consider the market opportunities and your passions before looking at your skills set. Too many people focus on just building the skills, and not knowing which skills the market would demand and/or which skills are of interest to them.
- Focus on building generalizable skills in leadership and communication as they will be core, no matter what position you will assume.
- Understand enough about technology to know how that supports the needs of the customer and helps the company better serve the customer now and in the future.
- Considering the market first, then the passion and the skill will help you find a position and role which would satisfy all three needs. But the career path is a journey, not a destination.
FountainBlue’s June 12 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Millennials in Our Midst. Below are notes from the conversation.
We were fortunate to have wise and inspiring panelists representing a range of roles and functions, education and perspective, and companies and generations. Please join us in thanking our panelists for so candidly sharing their thoughts and perspectives on how to work with millennials in producing win-win, measurable results, engaging the full workforce.
Millennials will represent a progressively larger percentage of the workforce, a workforce which still includes four different generations with different backgrounds and perspectives. Considering the needs of each worker and focusing on strategically recruiting, retaining and developing them, while building bridges between them will be an ongoing challenge of forward-thinking leaders like those on our panel.
Born between 1980 and 2000, Millennials grew up surrounded by technology, the internet, social media. They are generally competitive, yet collaborative, passionate, yet easily distracted and disengaged, career-minded yet focused on making a difference, driven yet fun-loving, always-reaching for instant gratification, while also insisting on work-life balance.
Millennials are great at creative problem solving, and have the confidence to see things through, despite obstacles. Their can-do attitude, collaborative style, irreverence for titles of authority and fearless approach to problem-solving make them dynamic, energetic staff members who can add energy and diversity to a team, when managed well, and discord and hard feelings and fractionism if managed badly.
It is a challenge for corporate leaders recruit, retain and develop them. Some successful strategies include: 1) creating a culture that’s energetic and exciting, and work that is meaningful, 2) creating challenging opportunities for advancement and growth, while making a difference, 3) offering the ability to work flexible hours and work from home, to accommodate the interests and travel schedules of millennials, 4) providing opportunities for connections to leaders at all levels, and mentorship and growth opportunities that would stretch them, and 5) promoting and supporting the short-term advancement and growth of millennials. With these generalities in mind, remember that every company and every individual is different and as managers and leaders who factor in the needs and opportunities of individual team members will most likely succeed.
Below is advice offered by our panel on how to best manage and work with millennials:
- Although stereotypes and understanding classes of people help in some measures, stop over-generalizing who millennials or any other class of people are. Treat everyone as individuals who have the same focus – being successful and happy, and help each one get from here to there. Help each person focus on delivering on their short-term goals while keeping an eye on their long-term goals.
- Explain how each role and function contributes to the bigger picture, the larger goal for the team and company and industry.
- Teach them the value of staying humble, and model the way.
- Encourage them to accept leadership opportunities for community groups and causes for which they feel passionate.
Below is advice for leaders from all generations:
- Make the time to build relationships at all levels, across both genders, across all generations, inside and outside of work.
- People who give 110% effort in all assignments and produce measurable results stand out in a good way over those who give half-hearted efforts. They will be the ones who will be given progressively more responsible and interesting roles and tasks.
- Be proactive and take initiative, but also be sensitive of how others might interpret it if you are overly eager and enthusiastic.
- Be eager to contribute, yet patient about getting the opportunity to do so in a way that would stretch you and best contribute.
- In communicating your brand and considering social media, use your best judgment and put your best foot forward. In addition, focus on what you want, not comparing yourself necessarily with others.
- Take the time to know yourself and your strengths and aspirations. Use the magic of who you are to communicate your value-add and reach for those stretch opportunities that would help you grow.
- Build on your transferable skills which can be taken into many different roles, functions, companies and industries, including: Communicating, Problem-Solving, Customer Service, Presentation, Skills, Management, etc.,
- Know your long-term goal, but also accept that there will be a circuitous path to get there.
In the end, the millennials will affect the way we work and live, just now reaching 50% of he workforce. The workforce will be forever changed – it will be more informal, more collaborative, more innovative and creative, with fewer organizational layers. How will these changes impact YOU?
Please join us in thanking our speakers for FountainBlue’s June 12 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Millennials in Our Midst and our gracious hosts at Juniper.
Facilitator Pat Cross, Cross Apps
Panelist Gina Diaz, Director, License Management Services – Enterprise Accounts, Oracle Corporation
Panelist Camila Franco, Manager Product Management, StubHub
Panelist Marjorie Glover, Regional Director, Inside Sales Americas, Dell
Panelist Van B. Nguyen, Program Manager – University Talent Program, Juniper Networks
Panelist Christine Nguyen Vaeth, Global Services Marketing, Workday
What sets leaders apart is not so much their role or authority, their gender, size or affiliation, but rather it’s how they make others feel and what kind of measurable results are produced. And listening is key to ensuring that the other party feels good and that the intended results are delivered. It therefore follows that being a better listener will make you a more effective leader, no matter what your role is and where you intend to go. Below are some strategies to help you listen better, deeper and more effectively.
- Be more interested in what they are saying than what you’d like to communicate.
- Consider how the background and motivations of others impact what is said.
- Ponder not just what is said, but what is meant.
- When in doubt, ask if you are reading the communication and the intention accurately.
- Factor in how tone of voice and body language impact the message conveyed.
- Encourage others to continue the conversation, going deeper and broader into a wider range of topics. The deeper you listen, the deeper the relationship can become.
- Listening is even more critical when emotions run high. Listen closely for the direct and implied communication if emotions do run high.
- Making the other person feel heard helps keep heated conversations manageable.
- Assume positive intent in any communication, unless you know otherwise.
- Commit to being present in every interaction, being engaged in every relationship.
You will find that you already do some of the above, and also that you have other suggestions for becoming a better listener. But I think that you commit to listening better, you will also be better heard. Enjoy the journey.
FountainBlue’s May 8 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Standing on the Shoulders of Mentors. Below are notes from the conversation.
Our panel was varied in terms of backgrounds and experience yet they consistently: 1) clearly communicated the value of mentorship, 2) candidly shared their experience and knowledge in ways that were inspiring as well as practical, 3) showed their openness, persistence and passion around both people and leadership, 4) consistently chose to embrace the serendipitously opportunities which arose and 5) modeled the way for fearlessly and courageously and continually raising the bar for themselves and those with whom they connect.
Below is advice they have regarding how to leverage mentorship to support your career and life goals.
- Know what you want and why you want it and then decide with whom you should connect. Being specific about what you need to optimize work, behavior and communication etc., while keeping an eye on your overarching goal might help you with both your short-term and your long-term goals.
- Know your blind-spots and areas of weakness/less preference and complement yourself with people who can help you fill the gaps.
- Be authentic and genuine in your communications. Focus on building relationships based on trust to a wide variety of people.
- Accept all stretch goals within reason, and if you have a purpose for it. It will help you see yourself and your world in a different way.
- In the same token, embrace diversity – people and things around you who are not-like-you. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but it can have the up-side of being another kind of stretch goal for yourself.
- For example, every company has a different DNA, so if you move companies, embrace the opportunity to meet peers and others who can help you get integrated with the-way-things are done.
- Another example is that Millennials have so much to teach us in their team orientation, in their perspective about the leaders-in-charge, in their sometimes forward, unapologetic approach to solving problems. There are learnings there, especially if their mindset makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Be ever open, ever persistent, ever out-wardly focused, ever focused on paying it forward.
- Take the perspective that you can learn something from everyone.
- Be ever influencing who is in your sphere and how you are influencing others in your sphere, while expanding your reach selectively.
- Find and speak your voice, for the purpose of growing and sharing your knowledge, wisdom, brand and network.
- Look for different kinds of mentors, sponsors, coaches and allies, and leverage them for different reasons, while always keeping an eye out on ‘what’s in it for them’.
- Always look for and create win-win experiences for all. This is much more important than whether it’s a structured or unstructured mentoring relationship.
- Change is hard and inevitable. Having the right people with you and for you – those who help you embrace who you are *and* who you’d like to become – supports the journey for all.
In the end, YOU are the person who owns your career path and your success. So shape your experiences, plans and outcomes and take responsibility for it.
FountainBlue’s May 8 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Standing on the Shoulders of Mentors, and featured:
Facilitator Jacqueline Wales, Advisor, Author, Speaker, INNERFLUENCE and The Fearless Factor
Panelist Shaya Fathali, Sr. Manager, Technical Communications, Altera
Panelist Tonie Hansen, Senior Director, Corporate Responsibility, NVIDIA
Panelist Yasmeen Jafari, HR Business Partner, Intuitive Surgical
Panelist Leila Pourhashemi, Head of Product Operations, eBay Marketplaces
Panelist Ching Valdezco, Director, Strategy and Planning, HP Enterprise Services
Panelist Shobhana Viswanathan, Director of Product Marketing, Neustar, Inc.
Please join us in thanking our speakers for taking the time to share their advice and thoughts and to our gracious hosts at eBay.
Everyone has an opinion. Everyone has a personal story. Everyone is touched by healthcare issues at the deepest level, day in and day out. It may not be in your face at the moment, but we’ve all lived that moment when something quietly in the background becomes a prominent first-priority, drop-everything, in-your-face TODO.
But what *is* the problem with healthcare?
Is it the amount of information available?
No, you can get huge volumes of information free online for anything from the drugs you’re taking (RxList, drugs.com) to the conditions you have to the symptoms you’re experiencing (WebMD, Lumiata), and even support groups with communities of experts and caregivers who provide support and information. You can get opinions and input on how to treat symptoms and conditions, when to go to the hospital, how to get the support you need. But how do you know that the information is accurate and relevant and unbiased? How do you know that what you’re searching for and reading about is helpful to you?
Is it the cost?
According to the Center for Disease Control, between 2000 and 2010, total personal health care expenditures grew from $1.2 trillion to $2.2 trillion. During this period, the average annual growth in Medicare expenditures was 9%; for Medicaid it was 7%,for private insurance 6%, and for out-of-pocket spending 4%.
Is it the lack of access and use of preventive care services?
According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2011, 69% of children aged 19–35 months had completed a combined series of childhood vaccinations.
So most young children are getting access to physicians and vaccinations.
Is it the amount of emergency care services?
According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2011, 20% of persons reported at least one emergency department visit in the past year, and 7% reported two or more visits.
In 2009–2010, 81% of emergency department visits were discharged for follow-up care as needed, 16% ended with the patient being admitted to the hospital, 2% ended with the patient leaving without completing the visit, and less than 1% ended in the patient’s death.
In other words, most people are not going to emergency, and those that are are generally discharged for follow-up care rather than admitted.
Is it the lack of access to specialists?
According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2010, 19% of office visits made by children under age 18 were to specialty care physicians, as were 37% of visits by adults aged 18–44, more than one-half of visits by those aged 45–64, and nearly two-thirds of visits by those aged 65 and over.
The bottom line is that all age groups who make office visits are using specialists to some degree.
Is it the lack of insurance? Not really. The Affordable Care Act has helped make costs more manageable for many people, whether it’s ending pre-existing condition exclusions for children, keeping young adults covered, guaranteeing the right to appeal or ending lifetime limits on coverage.
Among adults aged 18–44, the percentage with private coverage declined from 70% in 2001 to 61% in 2011, while the percentage with Medicaid coverage doubled from 6% to 12%. The percentage of adults aged 18–44 who were uninsured increased from 22% to 25% during the same period. Similarly, between 2001 and 2011, the percentage of adults aged 45–64 with private coverage declined from 79% to 71%; the percentage with Medicaid coverage increased from 5% to 8%; and the percentage uninsured increased from 12% to 15%.
The bottom line is that although there are now fewer privately-insured adultsMedicare is taking up some of the slack, only 22% are uninsured.
Is it the shortage of doctors?
The Beckman Hospital Review does report that there will be a the nation will be short more than 90,000 total physicians by 2020 and 130,000 physicians by 2025.
But today, unless you you live in rural areas or are limited by your health coverage, it is not the shortage that is impacting our access to care.
Is it the use of and cost of prescription drugs?
According to the Center for Disease Control, in the United States, spending for prescription drugs was $259 billion in 2010, accounting for 12% of personal health care expenditure.
Between 1988–1994 and 2007–2010, the use of three or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days increased for all age groups of males and females. Some of the most commonly used prescription medications were asthma medicines and central nervous system stimulants for children and adolescents, antidepressants for middle-aged adults, and cholesterol-lowering and high blood pressure control drugs for older Americans.
However, between 2001 and 2011, the percentage of adults aged 18–64 who did notreceive needed prescription drugs in the past 12 months due to cost increased among those with private coverage and the uninsured and was stable among those with Medicaid. The range was 25-35% for uninsured, 11-14% for Medicare and 5-9% for those with private insurance.
In other words, even though the costs of prescription drugs and the amount of prescription drugs have increased, MOST people are managing to pay for these medications.
Is it the prevalence of chronic diseases and costs for their treatment?
According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2009–2011, 6% of children under age 18 had an asthma attack in the past year, and 5% had a food allergy. Ten percent of children under age 5 had three or more ear infections in the past year. Among school-age children aged 5–17, 10% had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and 6% had serious emotional or behavioral difficulties.
In 2011, the percentage of noninstitutionalized adults who reported their health as fair or poor ranged from 7% of those aged 18–44 to 29% of those aged 75 and over.
Between 1988–1994 and 2007–2010, the prevalence of uncontrolled high blood pressure among adults aged 20 and over with hypertension decreased from 74% to 49%. Between 1988–1994 and 2007–2010, the percentage of adults aged 20 and over with a high serum total cholesterol level (defined as greater than or equal to 240 mg/dL) declined from 20% to 14%.
So although chronic and severe conditions impact people of all ages, most people are not impacted and the numbers are trending down.
But with all that is wrong with healthcare, there *are* ways we can make it work, if we all work together. It’s good for business, it’s good for patients and all stakeholders. Let’s lobby for solutions that are:
1. Providing information which is:
2. Informing stakeholders in a manner that is:
- Easily and readily available
3. Connecting stakeholders in order to:
- Inform all
- Document condition and treatment for future reference
- Facilitate collaboration
- Facilitate access to support and resources
- Coordinate on treatment
- Coordinate on coverage and payment of service
4. Providing comprehensive services:
- Recommendations for proactive health – diet and exercise
- Condition-based recommendations for proactive health
- Access to information, to consultation, to ongoing support
- Referrals to specialists as necessary
5. Supporting the pro-active health goals of patients:
- Goal-based, patient-identified, condition-based, diet and exercise recommendations
- Access to personal support network
- Access to community of others
6. Facilitating communication:
- Between patients, providers, physicians, care-takers
- Empowering all stakeholders with access to real-time, relevant, vetted information
- Facilitating communication throughout the diagnosis and treatment phases
- Providing ongoing support to facilitate proactive health choices
7. Providing access to service:
- Real-time access to vetted information
- Funneling the patients to the right providers and specialists
- Same day virtual consults
- Connections to specialists
8. Offering secure and compliant solutions:
- HIPAA Compliant
- Permission-based Access
9. Focusing on the care and well-being of patients/ Optimize the time providers connect to patients:
- Streamline coverage and payments and paperwork
- Partner with insurers, pharmacists and care-givers
- Providing the right information at the right time (see above)
- Facilitate communication and collaboration between a network of providers (see above)
- Focus on proactive health (see above)
- Provide access to comprehensive services (see above)
10. Offering cost-effective choices
- Optimizing insurance: both for In-network providers and Out-of-network providers
- Supplementing insurance with: a) Vetted, detailed, relevant, real-time information and b) Same day access to virtual consults
- Access to medications and treatments
- Access to proactive health support
We each have a role in solving the problem with healthcare:
- As employers, proactively supporting the health of your employees and their families makes good business sense:
- Having real-time access to the right time of care leads to fewer procedures requiring escalated treatment, fewer emergencies, fewer ongoing health problems, and ultimately lower cost of care.
- Better work-life integration leads to a happier, more productive, more loyal workforce.
- As patients and caregivers, you get information and peace of mind, so you feel empowered and productive during each health episode, and more proactive in between:
- Get vetted, real-time information on condition, treatments and symptoms.
- Receive timely advice from proven professionals on what to do about it.
- Connect with providers, insurers, caregivers and other stakeholders to focus on the health and well-being of the patient.
- As providers, you get to focus more on the ongoing care of your patients:
- Spend less time on process and paperwork, more time with patients.
- Leverage technology so that you can provide more information to a larger community and better personalized care for your individual patients.
- As insurers, efficiently providing access to providers, medications and services serves your customers well.
- Streamline which patients get what access to which networks of providers and services saves time and money and improves the service you provide to customers.
- Coordinate with networks of providers to optimize service, specialities and access.
- As policy-makers, focusing on policies that lead to individualized, real-time, cost-effective care of your constituents makes them happy, more likely to vote for you, and a more effective administration.
- Create policies that help all stakeholders focus on the health and well-being of all citizens.
- Create policies that ensure the secure and compliant transference of private medical information.
What are your thoughts on the problems with healthcare and fixes around that? What are healthcare challenges and stories you’d like to share?
Linda Holroyd is founder and CEO of FountainBlue, which coaches executives and advises start-ups, including tech-driven healthcare start-ups like HealthTap.
FountainBlue’s April 9 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.
We were fortunate to have inspiring, authentic, practical, courageous and resilient panelists who spoke so candidly about their brand and their work challenges and experiences. They ran the gamut, representing marketing, legal, sales, HR and everything in between, and they came from all walks of life, a myriad of life experiences.
It was remarkable when they spoke of their initial business experiences and the learnings they had from those experiences. It showed how women like those on the panel paved the way for the rest of us, and also that we have come so far so fast in the business and leadership world, so there is much to celebrate!
From their personal and professional experiences, they each began to understand and articulate their brand, with the intent of becoming more effective at what they wanted to become, what they wanted to achieve. The road was rocky at best, but resilience and perseverance were a hallmark of strength for each of our panelists, as they model how we can each remain consciously authentic to our brand, while also remaining in alignment with the goals of our company and our team.
They each advised in different ways that we should seek alignment with the company we select, so that we can bring out the passion in ourselves and in those around us. Alignment is not an easy thing to keep, especially when there will be others who will challenge us and push us to doing something with which we don’t feel comfortable. But finding the support, resilience and strength to stand by your values and principles will lead to your internal happiness and also to a more positive perception others have of you, and the effectiveness and value you bring to the table.
The panelists ended by speaking about the business and technology trends ahead: Expect that the pace of change will accelerate, so be agile and embrace the chaos. Be nimble, transparent and open.
So whether you stumble into your brand by consistently being who you are, or consciously shift your brand as you move from one place/position/role/company to another, make stretch goals for yourself and those around you and authentically pursue those goals, accepting that fear is a given, and failure sets you up for the next success.
- The Start-up of You – Reid Hoffman
- Multipliers – Liz Wiseman
- Four Portals to Power – Dean Herman
- Difficult Conversations – Douglas Stone / Bruce Patton
- Personal Branding for Dummies by Susan Chritton
- Laura Owen’s blog about the event http://community.polycom.com/t5/The-View/Polycom-Hosts-When-She-Speaks-Women-in-Leadership-Panel/ba-p/71663
Please join us in thanking our speakers for FountainBlue’s April 9 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Building and Reinforcing Your Executive Brand, and our hosts at Polycom:
Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
Panelist Barbara Adey, Vice President of Business Development, HP
Panelist Amy Rubin Friel, Marketing Director, Nokia Technologies
Panelist Margaret Hughes – Sr. Director, NA Field & Channel Marketing, Dell Cloud client-computing
Panelist Laura Owen, Chief Human Resource Officer, Polycom
Our panel represented leaders from many different backgrounds across education, companies, industries and cultural backgrounds. But they have all consciously and proactively managed their careers, choosing and creating different roles and opportunities along the way. They generously shared their advice and kernels of wisdom.
- Know yourself – who you are, what you’re good at, what you’d like to do, where you’d like to go, consciously stretching yourself as you go. Consciously build a skillset and a mindset so that you can move quickly and agilely and land on your feet.
- Learn from your mistakes, and use those learnings to be wiser and stronger. Learn from mentors, advocates and supporters and also from people who don’t-think-like-you.
- Support the growth of others around you, for their success benefits all.
- Build relationships at all levels at all times. Lean toward working for someone who understands your core competencies and strengths, and believes in you and supports you in doing something new.
- Be open to the opportunities that appear in front of you, and also to opportunities which you could create yourself.
- Change will happen – you will change, the management will change, the technology will change. Be nimble and agile enough to manage and even anticipate changes in everything from technology to management.
- Be good at what you do, using effective, transparent communication, hard work and persistence to generate measurable results.
- Embrace the opportunity to learn from people across regions, across cultures, across roles, across industries . . . As a good listener, we can address the motivations and desires of the wide range of people we serve, no matter what our role or title is.
- Integrate the needs of the family, with that of their own professional goals, career opportunities will come and go but family is here to stay. In fact, having a child helps you raise the bar at work – it’s got to be a fulfilling, worthwhile job to be worth the time away from your kids.
- Position yourself for doing what’s new, based on what you’ve successfully done before, and purposefully stretch in new areas so that you can continue to grow.
The tech industries is evolving more quickly now, so agility will become much more critical going forward. Knowing what technologies are hot, what industries are worth pursuing, where you fit with the market and customer needs will help you proactively navigate your career.
Please join us in thanking our panelists for our Agility – The Key to Building a Successful Career, and our hosts at Cypress.
Facilitator Nancy McKereghan, Founder and CEO, Tangerine+
Panelist Sara Hepner, IIG Worldwide Sales Operations, Planning, and Development, EMC
Panelist Bien Irace, Senior Vice-President, Strategic Alliances and Partnership, Cypress Semiconductor
Panelist Judy Priest, Distinguished Engineer, Data Center CTO Office, Cisco Systems
Panelist Shilpa Vir, Lead Product Manager, eBay Inc
Panelist Josie Zimmermann, Director, Brand Amplification, Juniper Networks
FountainBlue’s February 20 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Expanding Your Circle of Influence, With or Without Direct Authority. Below are notes from the conversation.
We were fortunate to have a wide range of panelists to cover our influence topic, representing an educational and operational background in engineering, marketing, program management, business development, and alliances. They’ve worked in companies large and small, and with execs at all levels, including the executive suites, and across all industries, geographies and roles. Our panelists generously shared their advice on expanding influence.
- Build deep and meaningful relationships with people who matter. Understand their motivations and communicate clearly and transparently, working toward a common objective.
- Be authentic in your communication and caring in your outlook.
Communication is Paramount
- Be passionate in your thinking, communication and actions in order to engage others to do the same.
- Ask the right questions to make sure that you understand the needs and motivations of your stakeholders.
- Communication is more about listening than it is about speaking.
- Ask for the support you need to succeed.
- Using ‘I’ language is less threatening.
- Regardless of where you sit at the table, what your role and title are, what your responsibility is, etc., make a difference with what you think, say and do.
- Do your research to understand the people, the dynamics, the company, etc., in order to best understand which measurable results would most matter to customers.
- Pre-meetings before the actual meetings may help you better manage an outcome.
Focus on Delivering Results
- Communicate clearly in writing and enlist the buy-in, focused on delivering specific results.
- Put the needs of the team above your own needs in your thoughts, words and actions.
Manage Your Emotions
- Manage your emotions so maintain the respect of others, especially when stakes are high. Try rolling your tongue at the back of your teeth if you feel tears, or curling your toes and standing taller.
- Separate yourself from the situation and try to understand the feelings and motivations of others.
- Remember that what’s more important than being right is the good of the team, and the results delivered by the team.
- Sometimes when emotions run high, the best move is to let it go and carry on.
- The needs of the customer are paramount. Deliver to those needs and keep them happy.
- Speak the language of your partners – in messages and communications they can understand and respect.
- Wield Your Influence with Care. If you get things done you will get noticed and will likely influence others without your awareness.
A suggested multi-step process for influencing an outcome:
1) assess the situation – what’s the influencing style? analyst, driver, collaborator, etc.
2) remove the barriers – territory, language, biases
3) making the pitch – problem, causes, recommendation/actions, benefits (PCAN – credit Wharton)
4) getting the commitment – in writing, with an accountability element and peer/social pressure
Please join us in thanking our hosts at EMC and our panelists for FountainBlue’s February 20 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Expanding Your Circle of Influence, With or Without Direct Authority:
- Facilitator Lucie Newcomb, NewComm Global
- Panelist Ellen Butler, Director, CxO Thought Leadership & Content, VMware
- Panelist Minoo Gupta, Senior Director of Engineering, CITRIX
- Panelist Maria Schaffer, former Cisco
- Panelist Jennifer Stephenson, Software Product Manager, Altera
Social, logical, peer, market and other mis-understood factors compel us to acquiesce, to go with the flow, and accept offers and responsibilities even if we aren’t interested. Sadly, we may then locked in to paying something, doing something, making time for something that we didn’t want to do in the first place. Worse than that, it makes us easier targets for next time, and blocks us from taking the time and money and resources to focus on what we *do* want to do.
Below are some thoughts on staying centered to your purpose, along with specific examples of how others may try to manipulate and entice you to take actions which would not necessarily benefit you.
- Stay centered to your purpose. Core to understanding your power and effectiveness is to understand who you are, what your role, value and purpose are, and how that fits into where the industry is trending and what customers are looking for. When you are centered, it will be much easier to say ‘no’ and understand why.
- The Flexibility Strategy – if you are not centered on your value and direction, others may manipulate you into being more flexible than you’d like to be.
- The Ulterior Motive Strategy – without this centeredness, others may leverage your energy and resources to serve their own purposes.
- The Great-Opportunity Strategy – often, others will try to engage you in volunteering or supporting a cause or project. Ask yourself first, what’s-in-it-for-me? Does it fit your long-term or short terms goals? Why is this other person interested in having you involved?
- Know your values, but don’t be manipulated by others because of the values you have. Being a principled leader is important, but beware those who would manipulate you because of the values you have. Say no emphatically to them.
- The Consistency Strategy – sometimes people will catch you in an inconsistency and use it to manipulate you into doing something you didn’t want to do. For example, if one person gets to use the special parking spot, work from home on Fridays, or <insert your favorite perk>, then others may want the same perk. So know the implications of the actions and decisions you make and make policy changes if necessary. Having a policy up-front about who-gets-what-when-and-why will also help.
- The Free-Gift Strategy – sometimes people will do you a favor, with strings attached. They may do you a favor or give you a gift, with the expectation that you would do something in exchange. They would rely on your value of fairness and generosity to manipulate you into doing something you don’t necessarily want to do, as a tit-for-tat. If that’s the case, you can see if strings are attached first, return the gift or favor, offer to do something else instead, or accept that NOT returning the favor or gift is OK with your values, given the circumstances.
- The Scratch-Your-Back Strategy – the scratch-your-back strategy does not necessarily involve a free gift, but it’s something someone offers with the expectation of getting something in return. Engage carefully with people who adopt this mentality, and consider carefully what their expectations are for the things they do for you.
- Focus on the team, but don’t be manipulated to serve the team. Of course ‘we’ comes before ‘me’ for any leader, but don’t let others cajole you into putting the team first, to serve their own interest, rather than looking out for the need of the team. See the game for what it is and just say no.
- The Team-First Strategy – Beware the person who wants to cajole you into doing something you may not necessarily want to do, for the good of the team. Investigate underlying motives for the request and implications if you go in that direction.
- The Me-Too Strategy – If all the team choose oranges, don’t feel the pressure to go with oranges when you would prefer apples. Sometimes consistency benefits the team, and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes being an individual helps the team choose variance, which could add spice to the equation, in a good way.
- The Cover-Me Strategy – If team members habitually have others cover for them, are they pulling their weight? Why are they needing cover so often? What are the underlying motivations and issues? How can you support transparent communication and equitable treatment?
- Own the timing of your decisions. Don’t feel pressure to do something on someone else’s timeline, especially when you don’t first understand where they are coming from. If you don’t have time to fully consider something, err on the side of no.
- The Hurry-Up Strategy – If you don’t decide now, you will miss out forever! This hurry-up strategy leverages the natural fear of scarcity/not-having something. Be sure it’s something you really want at the time you want it to help ensure others aren’t using it against you.
- The What-a-Bargain Strategy – For a limited time only, you can have this product or resource! Do you need whatever-it-is? Is the rate quoted what you’re willing to pay? Why is someone making you this offer? Why now? What’s the consequence of not engaging now?
- The And-There’s-More Strategy – If you engage NOW, you will get this free gift/resource/access, etc. Engage on your terms, not because of any throw-in bonuses.
- Know fact from fiction. Don’t let someone manipulate the facts to serve their own purposes. That’s a big no-no!
- The False Authority Strategy – Beware the trusted authority who makes a recommendation for you to buy something or do something, without the background and credentials to do so.
- The Biased Authority Strategy – Beware the trusted authority who may be an expert, but may have ulterior motives for making the recommendations they make.
- The Bad Data Strategy – Data can be twisted in many directions. Trust the source and their motivations before you let the data help them make their case.
- Know whom to trust. Surround yourself with people you trust, and always know the motivations of people, even when you trust them. If your gut tells you something’s missing or someone isn’t on the up-and-up, listen to it and err on the side of saying no.
- The Likeability Strategy – Some people are really charismatic and charming and inspiring. Make sure that they know what they are saying and know why they are asking for whatever-they-are-asking-for. Don’t let them use their likeability against you.
- The He-Said, She-Said Strategy – People sometimes make you take sides in a decision or argument. Knowing the facts and acting rationally while preserving relationships and putting the team and company first would then be the objective.
- The Leg-Up Strategy – Some people will have a ploy to serve their own purpose, saying one thing while thinking and acting another. These people are serving their own interests, putting themselves above yourself and others to get a leg-up. Don’t let these kinds of people win out!
- Know whom to follow when change happens. The pressure to make choices is high when change happens. Knowing what to do and whom to follow will help you remain centered and make choices effectively. Even if you follow the right people when change happens, sometimes the answer is ‘no’, so stand strong by your answer and know why.
- The I-was-there-for-you Strategy – Some people will try to cajole you into going their direction, based on what they’ve done for you in the past. This strategy is often used after you’ve declined that request. Try to do the right thing for yourself, saying no, if that’s what’s right, while retaining the relationship.
- The I’m-the-Expert Strategy – When change happens, sometimes people paint themselves as the expert in the new area, or are even hired to facilitate that change because of their past successes. Are they are the real thing? How do you know?
- The Pick-A-Side Strategy – Emotions can run high when change happens, and sometimes there’s pressure to pick a side. Think through the issues and choices and implications, and also whether there’s a need to pick a side, and the timing to pick a side as well.
- Support change in alignment with industry trends. Know where the industry is trending and what customers are looking for. Say no when you’re pressured to do something that doesn’t support your own understanding of what the customers need.
- The Complacency Choice – Sometimes when change happens, there’s a camp that wants things to remain the way they were, for that was what worked in the past. There can be a lot of pressure to maintain the status quo and remain in the comfort zone, and pressure from people to keep things the way they are. But remember that saying no to the status quo is generally a path to advancement when change is necessary.
- The I’ve-Done-This-Before Strategy – Find out how to support positive change, working with the leadership team. Is the person elected to lead the change the qualified person to do so? What are they asking of you and others? Do you agree? Why or why not?
- The Fork-in-the-Road Strategy – When there’s a move to go in a new direction, what is the thinking and data behind it? What are you asked to do to support it? Is it reasonable? Know enough about markets, trends and customers to have a measured opinion about the adopted new strategy and direction.
- Choose the ‘and’. Sometimes there’s pressure to do that either-or. Try to say no to that ‘either-or’ and think of the ‘and’.
- Maybe you don’t have to choose between old and new. Maybe the old can help serve the new, or the new needs elements of the old. How can you make things bigger and better in combining the two?
- Maybe you don’t have to choose between technologies. Elements of one technology or functionalities of another may complement each other.
- Maybe you can choose this market (or product) *and* that market (or product), and maybe choosing one market (or product) will make it easier to enter the second.
- Know when to walk. Sometimes your logical response should be such a big ‘no’ that you walk away.
- Mis-Alignment with Market Trends – if you don’t believe that your company and team are acting in alignment with the market and customer needs, and there’s no opportunity to shift the direction, it’s an exercise in futility.
- Mis-Alignment with Values – if you’re working with people who don’t share your values, it’s not worth the effort.
- Mis-Alignment Between Leaders – if the leadership team can’t see eye-to-eye and puts the company in front of their egos, nobody will win. There will be much suffering and gradual decline.
We hope these thoughts help you enhance your ability to say no, and understand your reasons for doing so. May you focus on doing and achieving what you really want, while understanding the motivations of others who want to shape your decisions.
Change happens. You may be on a high-high or on a low-low, in life and in work and in relationships. Whether you like it or not is beside the point, for ‘this too shall pass’ – all material conditions, positive or negative, are temporary. So if you accept that the good or the bad will be different tomorrow and the day-to-day will vary, what can you do to embrace the change that happens? Below are some thoughts to help you start thinking, speaking and acting like you’re embracing those changes, be they good, or not so good.
- Accept that change is a part of life. Appreciate the highs, accept the lows as part of a cycle. And have the mindset and attitude to make the best of the good *and* the bad that’s dealt to you.
- Understand *why* a change is happening or about to happen may help you shape an upcoming change. But beware that you don’t start thinking that you can control an inevitable change, as control is an illusion.
- Be transparent in communication about changes you see coming, and why the change is coming, and help others to adjust to that change. This will help you build trust and culture and bring out the best in those who are impacted by the change.
- Support others in embracing necessary change, for the more you get trust, buy-in and engagement, the easier the change is for all and the better the tangible and measurable results.
- Assume positive intent and positive results from the leaders of the change, unless the data and your instincts show you otherwise.
- Know when you will not fit with an upcoming change and take measures to disengage. If a change doesn’t match your values or your goals, you may wind up just going through the motions, rather than doing something you feel passionate about, going in a direction you believe in.
- Know when you need more training and support in order to embrace an inevitable change in your job, in your company, in your industry, in life. Seek that training and support so that you can embrace that change.
- Know when change is necessary but not happening and do what you can to drive that change.
- Trust is paramount. Be worthy of others’ trust and work with those whom you can trust. Trust is hard-earned and difficult to regain and change and stress can make people do things that are out of character, so do try to be forgiving and understanding if there’s a breach in trust, while also watching your back.
- (You knew I was going to say this. You knew that it would be the most important point.) Relationships and networks matter most. It’s always about the people you connect with and how you work with each other in achieving common goals. Build a large network of contacts and a shared value system built on trust and results and together you will ride the waves of change.
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