Archive for November, 2022

Mentorship Best Practices

November 10, 2022

FountainBlue’s November 10 When She Speaks program, on the topic of ‘Mentorship Best Practices’. Please join me in thanking our hosts at Coupa and our esteemed panelists.  We were fortunate to feature pairs of mentors and mentees who spoke passionately about the personal benefits and the business value for mentorship relationships. Below is a compilation of best practices.

Thoughts About Mentorship

  • Treat mentorship like a two-way street where all parties learn and benefit.
  • Consider mentorship an opportunity to learn about the past and learn about the future. 
  • Be open to mentoring those around you formally or informally.
  • Pay it forward, in return for all those who paved the road for your own current successes. 

Suggestions on How to Support Your Mentor/Mentee

  • Shine the light on what she/he is doing/can do.
  • Provide opportunities for her/him to stretch into new ways of thinking/speaking/working.
  • Help your mentee/mentor leverage their past experiences to succeed with current challenges and opportunities. 
  • Work with your mentee/mentor to strategically create and expand a network of contacts and supporters.
  • Be humble, personable, vulnerable, and practical as you work with your mentee/mentor to better address their questions and challenges.
  • Be specific and plan-ful about the logistics so that the mentor/mentee relationship can be fruitful. 
  • Share colorful stories about your own challenges and opportunities so others can learn from your experience and perspective.

Keep Reaching for Stars – as an individual and as a mentor/mentee

  • Always listen and look for opportunities to grow and expand. 
  • Challenge yourself to keep raising the bar and learn from all around you.
  • Be constantly open and curious.
  • Get good at giving and receiving feedback.  
  • Model the way for others around you, in front of you, behind you, for you never know who’s watching and learning from you!

Advice about Creating and Growing a Mentorship Program

  • Make the business case to secure resources and funding.
  • Recruit an executive sponsor who is passionate about mentorship and influential within and outside the organization.
  • Invite a wide range of people from diverse backgrounds to participate, for the benefit of all involved.
  • Collaborate with HR and L&D and ERGs to deliver excellence in the mentorship program.
  • Consider helping mentees transition to mentors, and sponsor mentors into stretch roles with the support of coaches. 

The bottom line is that we must all make the time to mentor and support others around us, for that is what helps each of us to learn and grow.


Data is the New Black

November 10, 2022

FountainBlue’s November 10 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘Data is the New Black’. We were fortunate to have such an experienced and diverse group of executives for this month’s VIP Roundtable. They both exclaimed at how far we have come over the past few decades and also the challenges for further progressing our collection, management, and productive usage of data going forward.

Our executives agreed that our future will continue to be fueled by data – it will be prominently used in every industry and seamlessly integrated into our day-to-day lives at work and at home. There was a clear description of the evolution of data over the past several decades. We have quickly evolved from a period where executives and companies did not understand how data helps their organizations get more done, serve more companies, and provide more value to a period where we embraced the need to quickly develop the technologies, infrastructure, and solutions which make it easier for everyone to gather and store data.Indeed, we have evolved to the point where we are overwhelmed by the volume of data generated, the multitude of devices generating the data, and the need to manage and track that data.

The requirements and mandates around security, privacy, protection, relevancy, usage, access, etc., provide additional challenges to the strategic management and integration of data, and the sheer volume of generated data makes that management and integration more difficult.  But forward-thinking companies are adopting strategies and techniques to better ensure compliance with security and regulations while also filtering data for most relevant usage, based on customer requirements.It’s no wonder that today’s top companies collect, store and manage large volumes of data representing a large range of use cases for a broad swath of customers. 

The headwinds and tailwinds posed by the Data evolution (and revolution) provide many opportunities and challenges:

  • Software for managing the high-volume streaming of unstructured data will continue to add immense value and even more successful use cases.
  • The hardware and software solutions which were adopted decades ago are now outdated, and it will be difficult (but not impossible) to migrate from those solutions to more progressive, modular, flexible, sustainable, reliable solutions. 
  • There will continue to be more sophisticated AI and ML solutions around the data, allowing organizations to better build, manage, store, distribute, filter, and integrate data for specific use cases. 
  • Data can provide contextual awareness while driving, operating machinery and doing medical procedures.
  • Image/video processing in public places can proactively help identify threats, personalize experience or manage natural disasters.  
  • Historical data in business and financial decisions can help identify and predict market trends.
  • Solutions leveraging algorithms and automation around data capture, storage, management, filtration, distribution, etc., will continue to add value.

Below are suggestions and best practices for managing data:Be Strategic

  • Understand and report on the costs and exposure for not proactively managing your data. 
  • Think about the local as well as global implications around data usage, while also considering privacy and security requirements.
  • When managing data, consider the ‘WWWWH’ – the who, what, when, where, how the data is used. 
  • Look not just at how data was used in the past and projecting/extrapolating how the data would be used in the future based on market trends and customer preferences. 
  • Treat the data management and optimization solutions as not just operational and infrastructure costs, but also business opportunities. 

Be Operationally Excellent

  • Policy, regulation, security, access, and other data management compliance issues will continue to surface, so partnering with an ecosystem of trusted others will help leaders and organizations stay in front of the trends and requirements.  
  • Simplify how processes are done, how data is collected and managed. It might be painful in the short term, especially for slow-moving industries with outdated systems which must be all 24×7, but the upgrades are necessary.

Look to the Future

  • Embrace digital transformation solutions in all industries. 
  • Invest in start-ups and entrepreneurs with groundbreaking ideas and solutions for enterprise customers in particular. 


The bottom line is that we have seen incremental changes over the past few decades, and will continue to witness and drive these digital transformations worldwide, across all industries, for Data is the New Oil. 

Embracing Gratitude

November 4, 2022


FountainBlue’s November 4 Front Line Managers Online program on the topic of ‘Embracing Gratitude’. Please join me in thanking our panelists. Our energetic, positive and proactive panelists spoke eloquently and passionately about how to embrace gratitude. Below is a summary of their advice.

Thoughts about Gratitude

  • Gratitude is in the attitude. Nobody can control and manage all that happens, but we can each choose to have the latitude to respond in ways that are more positive and constructive.
  • Gratitude is not necessarily a mindset you’re born with. It’s a choice you can make, a strength you can nurture, a quality you can spread for the betterment of all.
  • Maintain your inner peace no matter where the winds might blow at the moment.

Choose Gratitude

  • Make time for the people you love, the things you like to do.
  • Embrace a grateful, positive, constructive energy as you speak and act. 
  • Surround yourself with people who are appreciative and positive, projects which are productive and worthwhile.
  • Invite exposure to people, projects, plans that are very different from yourself and what you’ve done, so that you better appreciate the differences.
  • Adopt a can-do/must-do attitude and really stretch yourself, expressing gratitude for the opportunity. 

Express Gratitude

  • Let important others in your life know what they mean to you and how they’ve helped you.
  • Pause to feel, express and embrace gratitude.
  • Encourage and reward your team for choosing gratitude for themselves and expressing gratitude for others. 

Be Open and Curious

  • Be grateful for the learnings in the opportunities and the challenges.  
  • Be grateful for opportunities to learn in chaotic, emotional circumstances, letting your left brain lead if necessary, so you’re not overwhelmed and unproductive. 
  • When failures happen, embrace the learnings, applaud the courageous, reflect on what can be done differently and better next time. 

Gratitude is a Journey

  • Don’t expect to be grateful 100% of the time for everything that happens. But do be grateful for the incremental challenges and the learnings and opportunities ahead. 
  • You can’t always win, but you can always try to fail forward, learning with every opportunity. 

Nobody can live in a perfect world, but we can ALL choose to live a life of gratitude and spread that grateful energy, words and tasks to those around us.


November 1, 2022

Happy November – the month of gratitude, a time for family and community, an opportunity to connect and reflect. I’d like to offer some thoughts on feedback and hope that you will receive them as a gift which I hope supports you personally at work and at home.  

  1. Direct – Provide direct (rather than oblique/indirect) feedback and align your intentions to meet that impact.
  2. Transparent – Be transparent about how your feedback will benefit the team or organization. Hide no agendas.
  3. Authentic – Courageously speak with sincerity, vulnerability, and honesty, armed with data and details. 
  4. Respectful – Respect the receiver of the feedback by considering the intellectual, social, political and emotional impact they may face upon receiving the feedback.  
  5. Clear – Be clear about the feedback, providing specific examples and guidance where appropriate. Oftentimes this means being more detailed in your explanation than what initially feels necessary. 
  6. Curious – Be curious before and while delivering feedback. If you seek to understand the larger context for a particular behavior, attitude or action, you will have a better chance of creating long term change for the better. 
  7. Kind – Consider the possibilities that you are missing pieces of the full picture or that you have no idea what someone may be going through. Deliver feedback with empathy and grace from a place of humility.
  8. Productive – Provide feedback with the intention of supporting the receiver and the team in being productive. 
  9. Timely – Provide the right feedback at the right time in which all parties benefit optimally.. Find a time in which you can have 100% of the receivers’ attention so your message is fully received. Ideally they are relaxed, open, and undistracted.
  10. Positive and Celebratory – Frame feedback around how current successes and progress are benefiting the program/team/project and how additional words/actions/strategy would produce improved results for all. 

I hope that you give and receive much valuable feedback in this month of appreciation. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.