Archive for July, 2022

Embracing an Agile Mindset

July 15, 2022


FountainBlue’s July 15 Front Line Managers Online program on the topic of ‘Embracing an Agile Mindset’. Please join me in thanking our panelists. 

  • as a Business Leader – Louise Lamb, Coupa
  • as a Program Leader – Mona Hudak, Cisco
  • as an Engineering Leader – Pooja Agrawal, Renesas

Our Agility panelists represented a wide range of roles, organizations and backgrounds, but they have much in common:

  • They navigated their career with agility and grace.
  • They build deep networks and relationships which transcend roles, organizations and opportunities.
  • They embrace challenges as opportunities and stalwartly march forward to learn and grow, facilitating success for their teams, their products, and their organizations.
  • They are passionate and eloquent communicators who enjoy sharing their wisdom and advice.

Below is a compilation of best practices on how to embrace agility.
Be Strategic

  • Be purposeful and intentional about what you do and why you do it. 
  • Be open about the challenges in front of you and inclusive and collaborative as you address them head-on.
  • Welcome opportunities to fail quickly, and to fail forward, learning what to-do and what not-to-do along the way.

Manage Through Change 

  • Align everyone to a common purpose, but be open about HOW each person or group might implement/perform their tasks. 
  • Focus on your performance, but also on the perception others have of you, and the politics which may complicate your ability to perform well.
  • Accept that change will always happen, and be positive and constructive when facing these changes. 
  • Focus on delivering the business imperatives as you integrate changes. 

Overcome Obstacles to Change

  • Identify and address the root causes for the problems and challenges in front of you.
  • Encourage everyone to be resourceful problem-solvers and data-centered decision-makers. 
  • Break problems into smaller pieces so that you don’t boil the ocean.

Overcome Objections to Change

  • Distinguish between practical and emotional resistance to change so that you can better manage the adoption of necessary changes. 
  • Be empathetic and supportive to people who are change-resistant, and provide training, support and information so that they can better accept change. 
  • Be patient and persistent and positive as you agilely manage others through change.
  • Be positive, dynamic and proactive as you lead through change. 

Change is a constant, but agilely and resourcefully responding to the need for change will help yourself and your team deliver business results which satisfy customers. 


Collaborate to Innovate

July 8, 2022

FountainBlue’s July 8 When She Speaks program was on the topic of ‘Collaborate to Innovate’.  It was inspiring and innovating to hear the wisdom and best practices around innovation and collaboration from our esteemed panelists. Below is a compilation of their advice and best practices for collaborative innovation.
Be Purposeful

  • Invite creative problem solving and focus on producing functional results which wow customers. 
  • Create and grow a culture where your leaders and innovators feel connected and important, designing and delivering solutions which serve others well.
  • Have a plan to collaborate and innovate, but also be willing to prove yourself wrong if the input, data and experience reflects that’s the case.
  • Proactively invite synergistic opportunities between people, between product lines, between geographies, between groups, etc., 

Bring Out the Best in Others

  • Be intentional about how time is used, and respectful of everyone’s stress levels and conflicting needs in this time of great change. 
  • Distribute ownership, empower others and invite engagement from a wide range of potential innovators, even if they are not necessarily the key engineering/technical staff.
  • Be fully present (rather than multitasking) when interacting with others, so that they feel important, that their words are important, and that the work they do is important.
  • Reward and recognize risk-taking and experimentation, making it safe to fail forward.
  • Accept that there are many valid ways to collaborate and innovate, and that everyone has a right and responsibility to participate in the process, not just people with the right title/experience/gender/role etc.,

Make the Business Case

  • Measure and report on the internal or external value for collaborative innovation projects.
  • It’s hard to make a business case to solve tomorrow’s problems, but having open conversations full of healthy dialogue, and leveraging past successes and market data to inform strategies might help you do just that!

Connect Silos 

  • Invite opportunities to build bridges between different people, products, locations, etc., which lead to diversity in thought, in perspective, in ideas, in experience, etc.,
  • Include non-tech leaders at all levels to contribute to innovation challenges or brainstorming/ problem-solving meetings where appropriate.

Our panelists have challenged us all to think outside the box on how we can all better collaborate to be part of something bigger, for both collaboration and innovation are foundational to changing the world for the better.

Please join me in thanking our hosts at Samsung and our esteemed panelists for FountainBlue’s July 8 When She Speaks program was on the topic of ‘Collaborate to Innovate’:

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Chinmoyee Deshpande, Digital Supply Chain – Transformation Strategy Leader, IBM
  • Panelist Sanchita Gupta, Senior Director Human Resources Business Partner, Samsung Research America
  • Panelist Kate Mulligan, Communications & Innovation Programs, Strategy & Innovation for the Office of the CTO, Lam Research
  • Panelist Stacey Moser, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), GE Digital Grid Solutions
  • with introductory remarks by Roxanne Dos Santos, Director, Workforce Communications and Engagement, Samsung Research America 

Next Generation Hardware

July 8, 2022

FountainBlue’s July 8 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘Next Generation Hardware’, with opening remarks by Honda. Please join me in thanking our executives in attendance for their remarks and input.Collaboration and integration were both themes in this morning’s far-ranging discussion about the next generation of hardware. Hardware must integrate with software and processes to deliver full-featured customized solutions which add value, are safe, protect privacy, and, ideally, also be cost-effective, efficient and sustainable. This is no small task, but our experienced and dynamic executives in attendance shared many best practices on doing this well.

  • Embrace carbon-neutral, sustainable solutions because the customers demand it and because it’s the right thing to do.
  • Look for interconnections between solutions, problems, customers, etc., as it may be a basis future innovations.
  • When designing hardware prototypes, understand the stressors which would impact the integrity of the hardware, including temperature variations, SW integration requirements, power needs, etc.,
  • Accept that managing material availability and supply chain challenges is part of the hardware innovation challenge.
  • Optimize for efficiency and effectiveness while ensuring low-failure rates, sustainability, reliability, and compatibility. 
  • When designing and producing prototypes, assume that speeds will continue to double and that there will be a shorter time to market.
  • Differentiate on user experience and ease of use.
  • Work with researchers as well as engineering, business and operations staff to address the design, prototyping, manufacturing, production, and distribution challenges inherent with hardware innovations.

Below are some thoughts on some hardware innovation ideas to watch for:

  • Scenario-based, photo-realistic renderings are driving real-world innovations
  • Optimization for power consumption
  • Novel memory processors which don’t require additional capability, packaging or overhead
  • 3D Printing options which minimize risk and optimize for efficiency and functionality
  • Digital Twin technology to do prototyping with software to better inform hardware design and layout, hardware requirements and even hardware development and integration.

The bottom line is that hardware innovations are continuing to evolve at breakneck speed, and it’s the innovative leaders, like the ones in attendance, and their organizations who are collaborating with others to stay in front of the curve.

Growing Your Emotional Intelligence

July 1, 2022

FountainBlue’s July 1 Front Line Managers Online program on the topic of ‘Growing Your Emotional Intelligence’. Please join me in thanking our panelists. 

  • as a Business Leader – Sheri Simmons, Philips
  • as an HR Leader – Roxanne Dos Santos, Samsung Research America
  • as a People Leader – Susan Norton, BOLD
  • as a Product Leader – Ashwini Lahane, Freshworks

Our EQ panel represented a range of organizations and roles, but had much in common:

  • They humbly navigated their career up, down and sideways, always looking to learn and grow and become a larger and better version of themselves.
  • They are highly aware of their impact on others, and leverage their power and influence for the greater good, driving bottom line results while also developing their people.

Our panelists spoke extensively about Daniel Goleman’s five components of emotional intelligence, as profiled in his Sept 2005 book entitled Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.

  • Emotional self awareness: Knowing what one is feeling at any given time and understanding the impact those moods have on others is a foundational quality of emotional intelligence. Staying attuned to your feelings and sensitive to how others are responding to what you’re thinking, saying or doing will help develop EQ.
  • Self-regulation: Putting up filters to control, redirect or otherwise manage one’s emotions supports one’s emotional intelligence. In addition, anticipating consequences before acting on impulse helps ensure smooth interactions and communications and build relationships and rapport.
  • Empathy: Awareness of and respect for the the emotions and feelings of others is another core EQ quality. This other-centeredness helps build understanding and connections between people, even when they are very different.
  • Social skills: Leveraging EQ skills can help manage relationships, inspire, empower and engage others to participate in the larger cause. 
  • Motivation: Leaders with high emotional intelligence can better achieve goals, enjoy the learning process and persevere in the face of obstacles, and mobilize those they touch to do the same.

Below is a compilation of advice on best practices for growing emotional intelligence:

Stretch Yourself

  • Embrace challenges as learning opportunities and grow from each experience.
  • Have the courage to invite and accept feedback, and the fortitude to grow and learn from it.
  • Manage your ego, which may not respond well to the thoughts, words and actions of others. 
  • Be aware and manage the triggers and buttons which may not bring out the best in yourself, and lead to less than desirable responses to others.
  • Know when to Endure, when to Engage, when to Embrace the challenging situations (and people) in front of you. 
  • Challenge yourself about your perspective, about your pace, about your areas of focus, about the processes adopted, about the scale you’re striving for.
  • Do what you need to do to keep centered and balanced, including journaling, meditating, reflection, education, etc.,

Challenge Others to Also Grow

  • Have the compassion and grace to support others as they also navigate challenges during these times of great change.
  • Help others to feel safe and supported while raising the bar for them, and providing them with the resources and support to feel engaged, empowered and successful. 
  • Be direct with your feelings, but in a non-emotional way. Try this formula when you face people not-like-you, ‘When you do X, it makes me feel Y. Could you do Z instead?’ 

Grow the Team and Organization

  • Proactively manage your own emotions so that you can optimize for a productive and constructive response and relationships with the team and the organization. 
  • Help your team tie passion to purpose and collaboratively drive toward measurable outcomes.

The bottom line is that your EQ will always be more important than your IQ, and growing your EQ will grow yourself and all you touch.

The Choice Is Yours  

July 1, 2022
The Choice is Yours.

It’s often difficult to choose to be optimistic and productive, especially now when so much is changing and the future is uncertain,but making a proactive choice can help you remain centered and productive while staying happy and resilient.

  1. Rather than fantasizing on what’s next and what you need, focus on moments of  happiness and gratitude.
  2. Rather than comparing yourself to others or to an idealistic version of yourself, celebrate the journey you’ve been on, and the many facets of yourself which have developed along the way.
  3. Rather than begrudging a colleague for a success you’ve coveted, find inspiration in their example, celebrate what’s possible, and channel your inspiration into productive thoughts and actions.
  4. Rather than catastrophizing world news and events, focus on the local impact you can make and stay informed on how we can optimize making a difference. 
  5. Rather than belaboring all the things that went wrong, celebrate all the learning opportunities and knowledge which make you a bigger version of yourself. 
  6. Rather than coveting more new and novel shiny objects, appreciate all the things already within your grasp – material, physical, emotional and spiritual.
  7. Rather than bemoaning a lost opportunity, be curious about the unique opportunities offered by the options in front of you.
  8. Rather than spiraling on the overwhelming challenges out of your control, focus on the projects, tasks and people you *can* influence for the better. 
  9. Rather than settling for a project, role or task to simply fill time, get curious about how you can integrate your real dreams and passions into life by doing what you deeply desire. 
  10. Rather than enumerating all the things you want to change about yourself, find compassion and acceptance for all that you are as you would a friend or family member, and celebrate the opportunity to continue evolving.

The old adage is true – it’s not what life dishes out to you, it’s how you frame it and how you respond to it. Choose to see the gifts in every experience and respond with optimism, positivity and fortitude.