Leadership in a Time of Accelerated Change


FountainBlue’s December 9 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series was on the topic of Leadership in a Time of Accelerated Change. Below are notes from the conversation.
Whether our panelists represented a household-name tech company or an emerging start-up, were part of an executive team or the CEO, they had many traits in common:
• They consistently and consciously embraced change, and are often times the instigators for change.
• The change they advocated was always in a forward direction, for themselves, for their teams, for their organizations, for their industry.
• If change did not happen in a productive way, they found a way around, through, across and over the obstacles.
• They made a business case for each change, and worked with all the stakeholders so that they can embrace that change.
• They are authentic and human. It’s not that they never had self-limiting beliefs, but they focused on pushing past that; it’s not that they’ve always succeeded, it’s that they keep growing and learning from every experience.
• They each knew their ‘walking points’, junctures in their lives and careers where they made a conscious choice in a new direction for a strategic reason.
With all that said, leading change is never easy, particularly at a time when standing still and being complacent, something that previously worked for some, can be a death sentence now. Below is advice our panelists shared about how to embrace change:
• Accept change as a way of life, the real constant, and learn from every change.
• Lead change in a direction which makes sense strategically for yourself, your team, your organization, your industry.
• Leverage your strengths and relationships to make changes stick, to show the results of change, to continue to drive change and build engagement around it.
• Embrace change especially when it’s uncomfortable. There may be many more advancement opportunities during a down-turn or a downsizing than during a time of rapid growth for the company or in the economy overall.
• See the opportunity in every change, and the changes with each opportunity.
• Change is a given, but misery is optional, so it’s how you look at change and manage it.
• The constants of love, relationship, intimacy, community, the need for money will always be there, even if the tools, the environment and methodologies may change rapidly.
• As change accelerates, focus on the view from the customer and provide products and services which serve their current and anticipated needs.
• Lean forward toward your passion.
• Drive efficient, measurable results and convince others it’s in their best interest to do so.
• Find the sweet spot where innovation, business and technology intersect, and develop practical and sustainable ways to deliver quality products and services to your customers.
• Be strategic about what you do for whom (your prioritized customer base), and get feedback on your plan from trusted, knowledgeable others.
• Embrace and learn from failures for success is the enemy of change.
• It is far easier to embrace change that you create, than change imposed on you by others, but it may be better for all to do the latter.
• Listen to your customers about any changes they may request with your products or services and take the time to understand why they have these specific requests or needs.
Our panelists had the following predictions about technology trends, and invite us to think about the implications of these trends on ourselves and our organizations.
• There will be many more touch screens used in so many different ways, and cursors and keyboards may be less prominent.
• There will be ever-increasing demands for immediate response to customized needs, leveraging software and devices.
• Users will be more demanding, and those who consider what the user experiences and how to best serve the user’s comfort, interests and needs will best succeed.
• Users can more quickly engage with trusted communities in targeted ways.
• Entertainment will meet mobile will meet social media in many ways.
Recommended Reading:
• Play to Your Strengths: Stacking the Deck to Achieve Spectacular Results for Yourself and Others by Andrea Sigetich and Carol Leavitt
• The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business by Clayton M. Christensen
• The Innovator’s Dilemma: Meeting the Challenge of Disruptive Change by Clayton Christensen and Deaver Brown
• The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
• First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
• Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton
Please join us in thanking our speakers for taking the time to share their advice and thoughts and to eBay for hosting us.
Facilitator Amy Gonzales, Director, Women Unlimited
Panelist Erna Arnesen, Head of Global Services Channels and Alliances, Cisco
Panelist Deepika Bajaj, Marketing Director, Fierce Wombat Games, Inc.,
Panelist Elisa Jagerson, Founder and CEO, Speck Design
Panelist Leila Pourhashemi, Director, Technical Services, PayPal, an eBay company


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