Archive for December, 2022

Men Who Open Doors

December 9, 2022

FountainBlue’s December 9 When She Speaks program was on the topic of ‘Men Who Open Doors’. Please join me in thanking our hosts at Reputation and our esteemed nominees and awardees:

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I was honored to facilitate such an inspiring and thought-provoking program celebrating men opening doors. Our nominees and awardees shared their thoughts on the business and personal benefits for opening doors and best practices on how to open doors for others. Below is a summary of their remarks.Our panelists spoke eloquently about how opening doors for others facilitates both innovation and leadership for the recipient and for all those they, in turn, touch. 
The ‘Men Opening Doors’ Awardees had much in common:

  • They each recognized how both men and women opened doors for them throughout their career and expressed a desire to give back and do the same for others.
  • They are sincere and authentic communicators who truly care about the important people in their lives, and are deeply committed to the success of people they touch.
  • They wholeheartedly believe in the power of innovation and collaboration and facilitate that culture into the teams and organizations they lead.

Our awardees discussed the merits of:

  • providing access to opportunities to a wide range of high-potential candidates
  • expressing their confidence in the abilities of others, 
  • making strategic introductions to new networks, and in general, 
  • supporting the growth and expansion of others around them for the benefit of all.

Below are some best practices shared by our Men-Who-Open-Doors Awardees:

  • Provide stretch assignments to promising people and support them in building confidence and developing competence so that they can succeed.
  • Be open-minded and invite diverse people and thoughts into the team and organization, for that is the foundation for innovation.
  • Measure track and report on successes to support the business case for opening doors for promising others.
  • Align your thinking, speaking and actions and communicate as an authentic, purpose-driven, passionate leader and continue to incrementally deliver on goals while building relationships.
  • Put your people first – show up for them, be there for them, deliver for them, and work with them to address and manage both opportunities and challenges.

On reflecting on what I learned from today’s interactive and inspiring conversation, I realized that no matter where one sits in an organization, no matter what your gender or role, we should each strive to be that difference-maker, someone who makes a difference for a person, a project, a team, an organization. In this way, we can each do our part in making the world a better place.

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Smart Cities, Smart Buildings

December 9, 2022

FountainBlue’s December 9 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘Smart Cities, Smart Buildings’. Our executives in attendance represented a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, roles, industries and organizations, but they agreed on many things.
Foundational to the success of smart cities and smart buildings is the collaboration and infrastructure to 1) design, create and deliver a wide range of connected sensors, 2) integrate these sensors with the tools and applications which will track, measure and disseminate the volumes of data generated by these sensors in a secure and efficient manner, and to 3) create, implement, and sustainably deliver actionable real-time dashboards leveraging the most relevant information. It takes leaders and innovators working in collaboration throughout the process to envision, manage, integrate, implement, maintain each piece of this puzzle.
Below is a summary Smart City and Smart Building use cases provided by our executives in attendance:
Smart Cities:

  • Proactive management of transportation systems can lead to more reliable, more efficient, and more popular commuting options.
  • City-wide adoption of sustainability and Net Zero standards can be supported by a host of tracking, measuring, reporting, and usage applications. The trick is to determine which solutions provide the most useful data, which dashboards will lead to timely decision-making, and which stakeholders can collaborate to achieve win-win results. 
  • Tools and solutions which leverage AI and ML can make predictions on autonomous cars for example. With large adoption and implementation, traffic may be improved with more functional, useful cars and more plan-ful maintenance of all vehicles on the road. 
  • Disaster management may be supported at the city-wide level, again with the adoption of collaborative solutions which benefit all stakeholders. 

Smart Buildings:

  • Detailed metrics on energy usage can help track and report on current and projected future usage, with the intent of reaching sustainability goals.
  • Managing, tracking and integrating various IT solutions and applications within buildings can help manage energy and water usage as well as carbon emissions goals.
  • Automated solutions can help manage wasteful use of energy and water, as well as optimize heating and cooling, in order to better serve employees and residents.
  • Proactively designing office space for the hybrid, collaborative, and flexible workforce of the future supports the bottom line, while also better serving employees. 
  • Proactive building management might also focus on the safety of residence – protecting from gas leaks, unapproved access, and even IT and data privacy and security breaches.
  • Studies around the ‘fingerprinting’ of individual water and energy usage patterns can help operators and managers more proactively serve building renters, owners and lessors. 

Our executives concluded that we have come so far, but there is so much more to do to better equip our cities and our buildings, and to better serve people living in them. It will take a human-centric, collaborative approach and progressive, proactive management by governments to ensure that the infrastructure and policies are in place so that leaders and innovators can better serve a larger swath of people living in smart cities and smart buildings.

Open Minds, Open Hearts

December 2, 2022

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FountainBlue’s December 2 Front Line Managers Online program was on the topic of ‘Open Hearts, Open Minds’. Please join me in thanking our panelists. 

We were fortunate to have such inspiring and practical advice from a diverse set of open-hearted, open-minded leaders and managers. Our panelists shared their advice and strategies for:

  • embracing the business opportunities for being open-minded and open-hearted
  • thinking, planning and executing on these strategies to produce measurable outcomes
  • welcoming the opportunities and challenges around the unknowns and
  • amplifying the ripple effect – where success builds on success

Below is a compilation of their advice:

It takes leadership.

  • See the up-sides in the challenges and courageously venture forth strategically, methodically, and collaboratively to build both relationships and results.
  • Clearly communicate the North Star – the values and direction for the organization – and inspire and lead others to collaborate and make incremental progress.
  • Focus on the long-term plans while navigating the short-term challenges and opportunities.
  • Choose to regularly perform the tasks and actions which move the needle forward, in alignment with corporate goals, market trends, and customer demands.
  • Challenge your team to do more with less, but make sure that they have minimal support and resources to succeed.

Build a culture of trust.

  • Communicate clearly and transparently in a way which connects and informs in order to build a culture of trust, where people feel comfortable stretching themselves, taking calculated risks, while learning and growing.
  • Help your team see change as an opportunity and provide them with the support, training and resources so that they can pivot and flex with the changes, both anticipated and not.
  • Adopt a can-do, positive attitude especially through challenging circumstances.
  • Be clear on the guardrails around change so people can better take measured risk and more likely succeed. 
  • Have the back of your team members as they take risks.

Stretch yourself.

  • Leverage your experience and connections to position yourself for expansion, growth and impact. 
  • Be willing to make the best of challenging circumstances – they are character-building opportunities. 
  • Choose to make an impact within and across roles, products and functions with an open mind, and an open heart.
  • Be curious about the challenges of others and sincerely offer your support.

The bottom line is that having an open mind and an open heart is the foundation for leadership and innovation, which in turn keeps companies, teams and leaders productive and successful.

Wishing You PEACE, FAITH and HOPE

December 1, 2022

In this holiday season, I wish you PEACE in your day-to-day, and FAITH and HOPE for a brighter tomorrow.

Over fifteen years ago, a ten-year-old girl told me that she always listened when I spoke because what I said was “always nice and always smart”. I can’t claim my words are always nice or always smart, but her comment made me want to do better. 

From my mindfulness and meditation practices, I’m learning the value of THINK-ing:

T – Truth – Are the words true?   

H – Helpful – Will the words be helpful or productive?

I – Inspiring – Will the words bring inspiring and uplifting energy?

N – Necessary – Are the words necessary?

K – Kind – Are the words kind?

It has helped me to similarly frame and optimize my thoughts, words and actions.  

P – Planful – Are the thoughts, words and actions in alignment with my goal, intention, or purpose?

E – Energizing – Will the thoughts, words and actions provide energy, positivity or support for others?

A – Aspiring – Will the thoughts, words and actions help others aspire to be more, do more, or deliver more?

C – Collaborative – Will the thoughts, words and actions lead to more collaboration or connection?

E – Empowering – Will the thoughts, words and actions empower more people and groups toward a common or meaningful cause?

I hope that this blog helps you THINK, SPEAK and ACT with PEACE-ful alignment with your purpose and intentions.