Archive for February, 2021

The Urgent Need for Inclusivity

February 22, 2021

FountainBlue’s February 19 Front Line Managers’ Online meeting was on the topic of ‘The Urgent Need for Inclusivity’. My thanks also to our panelists for their participation. 

  • Shobhana Viswanathan, Automation Anywhere
  • Ronald Goossens, ASML
  • Tejal Thakkar, Rimini Street

We were fortunate to have experienced panelists with original and well-thought-out perspectives on the importance of inclusivity. Below is a summary of their thoughts and suggestions and attached is the deck.

Inclusivity as a Differentiator

  • There’s a difference between ‘old-tech’ companies who have been around for more than ten years, and who are not attracting Gen Z talent, ‘old tech’ companies like those who are part of FAGMA who are attracting Gen Z talent, and new companies who have mostly Gen Z talent. Watch for the companies which are in general attractive to that multi-generational workforce.
  • Progressive companies are making the question of age matter of fact, profiling senior leaders who are much older and/or much younger than the norm, and opening up discussions questioning our unconscious biases around age (and other qualities).
  • Companies that proactively invite original thinking and innovation from every part of the company, independent or role, level, background, ethnicity, geography, orientation, etc., are more likely be more original and innovative, AND also better decision-makers and problem-solvers.

Below are best practices for embracing inclusivity.

  • Make It Safe: Develop a culture of psychological safety, openness and transparency so that ideas and thoughts are welcome, errors are accepted at learning opportunities, leaders at all levels think, speak and act in alignment with personal and corporate values.
  • Embrace Your Purpose: Collectively make a difference as an organization, and as an individual, contribute to the difference you’re making as an organization. 
  • Raise the Bar for Yourself and Others: Consciously and gently call each other to a higher moral and ethical standard, while achieving business objectives. 
  • Adopt a Process which invites input from all, and ethical execution: Invite input from all, clearly, transparently and openly communicate decisions made and rationale for decision 

The bottom line is that inclusivity facilitates innovation, leadership, collaboration, and ultimately a business advantage. Moreover, it’s leads to more pleasant and productive working conditions and it’s the right thing to do.



Career Agility in the Age of Digital

February 12, 2021

FountainBlue’s February 12 When She Speaks women in leadership series program was on the topic of ‘Career Agility in the Age of Digital’. Please join me in thanking our hosts at Lam Research and our esteemed panelists.


We were fortunate to have a remarkably talented and centered group of panelists to speak on the career agility topic. They had a wide range of perspectives and backgrounds, but agreed on many things about career agility.

  • Embrace opportunities for continuous learning.
    • ‘Learn from every opportunity, good or not so good.’
  • Know yourself – what your skills are, what you’re looking for, what you enjoy doing, how you’d like to grow, what’s fulfilling for you. This increases the likelihood that you will seek a role which best fits your current and projected needs.
    • ‘Know what you don’t know, what you don’t like.’
  • Seize the opportunities to stretch yourself so that you can grow strategically in a direction which meets your needs.
    • ‘Make the unexpected stepping stones to what’s next.’
  • Solve a problem presented by your team or organization, even if it’s not your problem to solve, even if you don’t yet have the skills to solve the problem.
    • Become known as someone who has the skills to solve a problem, not someone with a specific title.
  • Work for a greater purpose a deeper cause.
    • Be a passionate world-changer, working with people who also want to make a difference.
  • Stop comparing yourself negatively to others. Be uniquely you.
    • ‘Pretend that your career path to date is something that you meant to do, even if it’s not.’
  • Accept that you are where you are, where you are meant to be. There’s time to reach higher, be better in specific ways.
    • Make each career step an opportunity to learn about yourself and make a difference for the team and organization.
  • Work with leaders and colleagues you like and respect.
    • Build relationships with quality people and deliver results consistently for them.
  • Never settle.

The bottom line is that the pace of business, the pace of technology is rapidly increasing, and we must all be resilient enough to withstand the ugly side of change and agile, courageous and bold enough to keep reaching for what’s next despite the shifting landscape.


Bigger Solutions with Smaller Devices

February 12, 2021

FountainBlue’s February 12 VIP Roundtable on the ‘Bigger Solutions with Smaller Devices’ topic included executives representing a wide breadth of backgrounds and perspectives, but they agreed on many things.

  • Hardware will continue to become smaller while gathering a wider assortment and larger amount of data real-time. Software will become bigger to optimize functionality and performance around the data and ensure its ongoing usefulness for all stakeholders.
  • The Future of Work will be remote, and hardware and software options need to fit the functionality, accessibility and security requirements of the (internal and external) customers. 
  • Optimizing managed services will help enterprise IT departments focus on the employee needs and the employee experience, rather than on the infrastructure functionality like privacy, security and access.
  • Enterprises need to proactively update and integrate all in-house and partner solutions, especially legacy solutions, to ensure their ongoing usability, performance and security. Reactively responding to issues could waste a lot of time and money and reflect poorly on the corporate brand.
  • Enterprise and government infrastructure must be enablers of the hardware and software functionality adopted by staff and citizens, and this infrastructure must be upgraded to meet the ongoing needs of these customers.
  • The functionality will expand with the demands of the customers, demands of the market. Form factors such as the body or a car offer guardrails for the range of solutions created – they must fit the user/target! But the connectedness between the solutions and the functions themselves can be more adaptable and fluid. 
  • Solutions may become much more complex, but users still want the solutions to be easy to use and customers expect a great immersive experience.

Below are some opportunities in this space.

  • As we provide more software functionality into smaller form factors, the phone and other ubiquitous devices must provide even greater functionality – including healthcare monitoring applications, decision-making of real-world devices and equipment based on real-time reporting, and other functionality. This is particularly true with the roll-out of 5G.
  • There will be an increasingly HUGE appetite for optimized hardware and software solutions which are high-performing, scalable, true-to-spec, and even self-monitoring/self-correcting. 
  • We will all continue to develop hardware solutions which are flexible, small and sleek, with a shape and size that would fit the target destination. 
  • Individual hardware solutions will be integrated with multiple software solutions to optimize functionality, usability, and form factor. 

The bottom line is that the hardware will get smaller, the software will get more integrated, more scalable, more versatile.

Efficiency in the Next Normal

February 5, 2021

FountainBlue’s February 5 Front Line Managers’ Online meeting was on the topic of ‘Efficiency in the Next Normal featuring:

  • Bruce Berkoff, LCD TV Association
  • Kris Kelly, Renesas
  • Luciana Vecchi, Amazon Web Services
  • Aaron Wruthmann, ROAMSEC

Below are notes from the conversation.

Our panel this week represented a wide range of backgrounds and interests. We agreed that we were all impacted by the events of 2020, and will continue to be impacted in the next normal. Below is a summary of their advice on how to be more efficient, more effective in this next normal.

Be Strategic

  • Be Agile with your Strategy, Planning and Execution. Nobody knows what the future will hold, but we know that being agile, plan-ful and flexible will help you better succeed.
  • Adopt Collaborative, Ecosystem Approaches to optimize the ability to deliver to the needs of your customer. Having a consultative style of communication will help yourself and your team better understand the problems faced by our customer, and better partner with them to address their needs in the short term and for the long term.
  • Manage the risks involved and fund the risk mitigation strategies.
  • Do the research and gather the data, the input, but draw a line in the side and make a choice, select a direction, erring on the side of decisiveness. Nobody can predict the future, but making a calculated choice will give you feedback and more information, and can help you better understand what’s next.

Support Your Team

  • Empower your team to better communicate, better deliver on measurable goals. 
  • Help your team create healthy boundaries between work and life, supporting them to resources and services which would help them better manage their work loads. 
  • Engage your team in collaborative projects. 
  • Connect regularly with your team members.
  • Help your team members address emotional and logistical challenges of working from home. 

Provide a Secure and Efficient Infrastructure  

  • Train your team on how to keep work laptops secure and private. Provide resources, including housing so that your junior team for example has private space to perform their work tasks at home in a secure environment. 
  • Create an expectation that everyone is responsible for the security of the network and devices and data.
  • Leverage bots and devices and processes to efficiently and securely serve our hybrid workforce.

Build Long Term Relationships through Consultative Sales 

  • Build long-term relationships with your customers and collaborate with them and with other partners to continue providing exceptional service to these customers – understanding where they want to go, brainstorming how to get there, iterate on the deliverables in getting there.

The bottom line is that we must all facilitate the Thinking, the Planning and the Execution to be more efficient in the next normal.