Archive for July, 2017

Stretching the Technology and Business Envelope

July 28, 2017

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FountainBlue’s July 28 VIP roundtable, on the topic of ‘Stretching the Technology and Business Envelope’! Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Texas Instruments, who on-site support and joined in the interactive discussion. Below is a compilation of their ideas and thoughts for stretching the Technology and Business Envelope.  

Be Strategic

  • Have a core strength and value-add and build on that strength.
  • Strategically target markets and leaders with specific needs you can address.
  • Understand how your offering stands out from the competition. 
  • Strategize on which markets to approach and how you can build momentum.

Operationalize for Success.

  • Create an infrastructure and platform and partner with clients to launch products and services.
  • Identify the pain and provide reports with dashboards of information the customer defines as important.
  • Identify the earliest root causes for a known problem and notify stakeholders when these scenarios occur.
  • Understand the policies and mandates and their implications for your target industries and customers.

Support Innovation and Creativity.

  • Balance structure and requirements which sets the direction with flexibility and fluidity to welcome creativity and innovation.
  • Design opportunities to innovate from within, using corporate funding and resources and channels and incorporating entrepreneurial teams and ideas.

It All Comes Down to Leadership.

  • Invest in the seasoned leaders who can deliver the software requirements and the hardware needs.
  • Be creative, persistent, courageous, while also being prepared and strategic.
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Lean In and Level It UP

July 22, 2017

FountainBlue’s July 21 When She Speaks event, on the topic of Lean In and Level It UP! Below are notes from our conversation.

We had an energetic, experienced and fun panel who shared their wisdom and stories about leveling up within an organization. They had a wide range of experience and backgrounds, but they had much in common: 1) they succeeded despite their reservations, 2) they stretched themselves at every level regularly, 3) they learned from their experiences, 4) they share their experience and learnings with those around them, and 5) they have a passion and curiosity which fuels them internally. Below is their composite advice on how leaders can rise and succeed within an organization.

Be strategic.

  • Choose to be comfortable when you need to be, and to push for change if complacency sets in. Don’t just go through the motions!
  • Raise a flag for a cause that would benefit yourself, your team, your company, your industry.
  • Don’t wait for the right role/title/assignment/invitation to solve a pressing problem.

Make positive and proactive choices.

  • Be passionate about what you do, and confident that you can do it well.
  • Be curious about why some things work and some things don’t. It may lead to serendipitous results!
  • If a jerk thinks you’re a failure before you’ve started or if a bozo throws you under the bus or your boss won’t give you the resources to succeed – see that as a positive opportunity to succeed despite the odds.
  • Embrace failures as learning opportunities. 

Empower your people.

  • Communicate the ‘why’ and the ‘what’ and empower others around you to figure out the details.
  • Get the energy and support you need so that you can get out of your own comfort zone. 

Work your network.

  • Choose to work with people who are not like you.
  • Look for the best of everyone around you. Learn from others. Emulate the best qualities of others.
  • Work and grow your network. Make it deep and broad.
  • Manage your self-talk and other things  and people which may limit your ability to succeed.
  • Be a great listener – learn from what the staff, the customer, and other important people are saying.
  • Find a way to fit the style of those you work with.

Our panel’s closing thoughts are to ‘Dream BIG. Dream ON!’


Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at BigCommerce and our panelists!

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue; CMO, 888 Steps
  • Panelist Maranda Dziekonski, Vice President, Customer Operations, HelloSign
  • Panelist Angela Griffo, VP, 10Fold
  • Panelist Linda Tong, VP of Innovation, AppDynamics
  • Panelist Andrea Wagner, Head of Design, Bigcommerce

Conflict Resolution

July 17, 2017

FountainBlue’s July 14 When She Speaks event, on the topic of Resolving Conflict When the Stakes are HighBelow are notes from the conversation. 

We were fortunate to have such a fun, experienced and practical group of panelists, representing a wide range of companies, projects, educational backgrounds and perspectives. They also shared much in common: their competence and leadership got them noticed by important people, their successes and results facilitated introductions to larger-impact opportunities, their passion and leadership helped them serve their team, product, company and industry, and their practical experience made them the wise leaders they are.

They deal with a wide range of conflicts: 

  • the engineering vs business unit conflicts which pit developers against business unit managers and sales and marketing leaders;
  • the finance vs product vs operations vs sales/marketing conflicts around costs, timelines and deliverables; 
  • the management vs staff conflicts around the strategic direction and how and when it is implemented;
  • the merger-mergee integration conflicts which come with all M&As;
  • the generational conflicts across age groups;
  • the cultural conflicts across geographies, and/or cultural conflicts within the same physical geography;
  • the personal conflicts at home, the personal conflicts brought into work . . . 

Conflicts are everywhere. Below is a compilation of advice for resolving conflict.

Accepting Conflict within Companies 

  1. Accepting this fact, and embracing the learnings and opportunities around conflict resolution is the first step to positive, constructive conflict management.
  2. Align to corporate goals and missions.
  3. Assume positive intent.
  4. Embrace the opportunities to learn from others not-like-you, to experience things beyond your comfort zone.
  5. Choose your battles – not all conflicts are worth having.

Being Fact-Based

  1. Make decisions based on data – what are the pros and cons for all stakeholders? Identify the factors for each decision. Have each stakeholder give weightings for the importance of each factor.
  2. Quantify the inefficiencies rather than pointing a figure at who is causing the inefficiencies.
  3. Focus on areas of compromise.
  4. Collaborate with stakeholders to deliver tangible win-win results. 

Managing Emotions

  1. Make everyone feel recognized and important. Encourage and support their engagement.
  2. Stay away from personal attacks and judgments.
  3. Know and manage your own hot buttons.
  4. Give yourself and others a cooling-off period when emotions run high.
  5. Give the object of contention a time out, so no parties get access.

Managing People and Networks

  1. Be curious about motivations.
  2. Identify all stakeholders.
  3. Understand the other perspective.
  4. Build networks of relationships you can trust.
  5. It is more important to respect the feelings of the other party then to be ‘right’.
  6. Be a great listener. 
  7. Lobby for buy-in, rather than mandating it.
  8. Stand behind your team/product/company, and do all you can to help it succeed.

Communicating Clearly

  1. Communicate clearly and transparent and directly, especially when things are not going well.
  2. Try this formula for gender (or other) conflicts: 1) Call attention to the behavior. 2) Associate a feeling with the behavior. 3) Request an alternate behavior. 4) Check for understanding and commitment.
  3. Spell out assumptions. 
  4. Spell out boundaries for discussion.

The steps to resolving conflict can be summarized in 5 steps: First gather the data. Next recognize the motivations and feelings of all stakeholders. Then deliver measurable results and lastly communicate successes. 

Resource: The Culture Map by Erin Meyer


FountainBlue’s July 14 When She Speaks event, on the topic of Resolving Conflict When the Stakes are High. Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at NVIDIA and our panelists!

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue, CMO, 888 Steps
  • Panelist Vicki Sam, Chief of Staff/VP, EFI
  • Panelist Joy Taylor, General Manager, Product Line Director, Texas Instruments
  • Panelist Prajakta “PJ” Gudadhe, Director Software for Consumer Products, Virtual Reality and Mobile, NVIDIA
  • Panelist Liming Wang, Sr. Director, Manufacturing Finance, Western Digital