Archive for September, 2015

The Great Pretender

September 17, 2015

OGreatPretenderne of the great fears holding back many high-potential women leaders is the fear that their greatest efforts are not enough, that they are the ‘Empress with no clothes’ and would be caught in faking competence. This fear holds back many from even making an effort, and the result is, of course, failure-through-lack-of-signing-up. In case you or someone you know may feel like one of the ‘Great Pretenders’, here are some tips to try, if you’re interested in overcoming this limitation.

  1. Fear not the fear, for that fear is what’s holding you back from succeeding.
  2. This is of course more easily said than done, so surround yourself with positive and supportive, good-energy people, and limit your time with people who are draining and questioning you (even if they think they are doing it for your own good).
  3. Assume that there will be failures small and big along the way, and embrace the learnings with every failure.
  4. Aim above your comfort zone, at least once in a while! Ask yourself ‘what’s the worse that could happen?’
  5. Let your logical, rational left-brain decide what’s good enough and tell the right-brain emotional side you *can* be good enough.
  6. Model your actions and behaviors based on those who have succeeded in what you’d like to do, and be unemotionally critical of who you’re measuring up.
  7. Secure mentors and supporters who see the promise in you, and would provide you with the feedback, contacts, resources and information you may need to succeed.
  8. There’s nothing wrong with the fake-it-until-you-make-it mindset. As long as you keep trying new things, learning new things, and delivering results.
  9. With that said, never inflate your abilities or experience but do communicate your track record, passion, and willingness to learn, while delivering incrementally positive results.
  10. Pay it forward – the more who succeed, the better for all!

The bottom line is that you should not see yourself as ‘A Great Pretender’, a hollow mask. See yourself for who you are, as it will help you be all that you can be!

Make Your Own Rules

September 11, 2015

FountainBlue’s September 9 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Women Making Their Own Rules.RulesCollage

We were fortunate to have such courageous and accomplished women on our panel, who come from many different educational levels, corporate and technical backgrounds, and frames of reference. They shared with us why there was a need to create new rules, shift current rules, question each rule, and advised us on how best to break those rules so that they benefit all.
  1. Be strong and confident with who you are and broaden your understanding of the impact you may have, no matter where you sit at the table, or even if you don’t even have admission to the event! 
  2. Be clear on your purpose and goals. Understand how the rules and processes and culture are affecting the need to achieve those goals and speak in a way where influential others will understand the logic and reasons for making changes.
  3. Communicate in a way that commands attention and respect. Speak in a language and through a channel that would resonate with your audience. 
  4. Be prepared and plan-ful, with a clear focus on delivering measurable results. Then overcome your fear, engage with influential advocates, get uncomfortable and see where it takes you. 
  5. Try hard, be open, fail quickly, and don’t let the fear of failure stop you from trying in the first place!
  6. Build a wide and broad network that would benefit all. And maintain those relationships and conversations to help you get grounded and to help build influence and credibility.
  7. Challenge yourself to do something new and different if you’re feeling a bit listless at work. Leverage what you know to get to what you can do from here. Be confident that you can deliver on something new, even if you haven’t exactly done this sort of thing in the past.
  8. Many people are uncomfortable with changing the way-things-are-always-done, even if there’s no logical reason to do things that way. To help foster change with these people and these cultures, adopt a logical, plan-ful, data-based approach for why a new system, process, method would be better for them individually, for the team and company as a whole, and for the customer. And sell the approach in a way that would best resonate with each person/group/team/division. 
  9. Represent the viewpoint of the customer and translate the needs of the customer to the internal teams that can best serve that customer.
  10. Be who you are and do things in a way that works for you. Be pure of intentions, reliable with delivery, generous with support, open for feedback and opportunities.
The bottom line is that our panelists are challenging us to be the person we know we can be – to challenge the system and rules that are holding ourselves and each other back, and to rise up and embrace opportunities to forge shifts little and big – for the good of all.​


Please join us in thanking our speakers for FountainBlue’s September 9 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Women Making Their Own Rules and our gracious hosts at Cypress:

Facilitator Nancy Monson, Nancy Monson Coaching

Panelist Jennifer Altergott, Regional Sales Director, Polycom

Panelist Raji Arasu, CTO, StubHub, an eBay Company

Panelist Stacie Hibino, Tangible UX Director for the Visual Display UX Lab at Samsung Research America, Samsung Electronics

Panelist Grace Hu-Morley, Senior Manager, Product Management of IoE Healthcare Solutions, Cisco Systems

Panelist Tamara Lucero, former Director, Inside Sales, Cypress

A Cow’s Eye View of the World

September 1, 2015

CowsEyeViewA cow’s eyes are on the sides of their head, whereas a human’s eyes are in front, so naturally, a cow would have a different view of the world.As a human, consider viewing the world from the perspective of that other person, be that a difficult customer, a deviant coder, an aloof and disengaged boss, or a wayward partner. Indeed, adopting the point of view of someone not like you will help you and your company better serve customers in an Age of Personalization. Below are tips for adopting that other perspective.

  1. Pause the judgement and the emotions. It will make you more open-minded toward that other point of view.
  2. Try to *like* that other person, even if it’s difficult at first. Embracing viewpoints of people who are different than you will help keep you fluid and flexible.
  3. With that said, you don’t _have_ to like everyone and everything. But it’s important to get along.
  4. Be curious about why they have another perspective and why they think and act the way they do. It may help you think and act differently and more flexibly in other situations.
  5. Imagine if everyone else thought like this other person. How are _you_ the one a little off?
  6. Embrace every different point of view as a potential new learning, a potential new opportunity.
  7. Ask yourself how this new way of thinking helps you think differently about other things as well.
  8. Pay attention to your little life routines and do some of them backwards. Your actions may help you put your thoughts on its head – which could be a good thing.
  9. Honor the people who have touched you and helped you to think, speak and act differently – for they have helped you see and respond to the world in a different light.
  10. Remember that thinking differently about the same or a new problem is the heart of all innovation, so embrace every opportunity to think and act differently, and fold others into your work and life who could help you to do so.

May we all see the world a bit more from the cow’s point of view!