Author Archive

Balancing Privacy, Security and Access

August 11, 2017

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FountainBlue’s August 11 When She Speaks event was on the topic of Balancing Privacy, Security and Access.  

We were fortunate to have such a passionate, experienced and diverse set of panelists, who covered a broad range of areas around the privacy, security and access topic. They shared some common characteristics:

  • They are curious about both the technologies and the business models, and industrious, intelligent and flexible enough to embrace new learnings and experiences so that they can fully explore business opportunities, and add value for their teams, their products, their companies, their industries.
  • They are forging new ground in many ways in the short term and for the long term, so that those who follow will be better prepared to successfully balance privacy, security and access.
  • They regularly navigate a delicate balance between being both philosophical and practical, both prescriptive and fluid, both confident in existing best practices and curious about how to stretch the envelope to the next level, and are both consistently principled and innovative. 

Below is a compilation of their thoughts and advice on how to best balance privacy, security and access.

Consider the career and business opportunities ahead.

  • The technologies, the business models, the leaders are changing rapidly. There are tremendous opportunities ahead for every company, in every industry. 
    • We have so quickly gone from wired to wireless, from wireless to mobile devices, from mobile to phone to IoT and are rapidly evolving still. We don’t give up the old technologies, but do keep embracing the new ones!
  • Think about solutions that reach traditionally non-tech sectors. These are great, practical use cases for technology solutions.
  • In considering new opportunities and solutions, think about how technologies like Blockchain, Artificial intelligence, machine learning, IoT, might factor in.
  • Consulting and specialized services in this area may be on the rise, in response to the growing and complex demands.

Embrace best practices in managing the balance between privacy, security and access.

  • Define the norm, the standard processes and procedures in detail, in collaboration with other business and technology stakeholders. Clearly defining baseline requirements, worse-case scenarios, rapid-response protocols and the like, will help ensure that you keep your customers happy, your company compliant, your product secure. It will also help position your company for success, making good choices in the short term and for the long term.
  • Nurture partnerships and relationships to build a community of supporters representing a range of needs and motivations.
  • Communicate clearly, often and transparently. Opening the kimono and speaking candidly and authentically and inviting collaboration can work wonders in building empowerment and engagement, thereby distributing responsibility, commitment and ownership.
  • Speak to the overarching need for complying to processes and procedures as well as the implications for divergence from accepted norms. Speaking about consequences in logical, non-emotive terms will more likely build cooperation than rantings and threats to those making questionable choices.
  • Be ever plan-ful and strategic, while also allowing teams to innovate quickly and maintain access with minimal hassle.
  • Be customer focused. Customers will help you define direction, and your internally policies will help you create a solution which is safe, secure and scalable.
  • Consider outsourcing some of these solutions to specialists if it’s not a core competency.
  • Assume positive intent, but plan for external infractions and attacks and for user negligence.

Manage your career opportunities in this space.

  • Keep stretching yourself and providing value. Be open to new roles and responsibilities and positions in this hot and emerging space.
  • Consider both entrepreneurial and corporate opportunities.
  • Be open to taking classes. Technical coursework and certifications would allow you to drill deeper, business classes would help you get a broaden perspective. Both are important.

It’s inevitable that we must continue to leverage tech to fight tech hacks and vulnerabilities so there’s an ocean of opportunity ahead! Make sure that you, your team and product, your company and industry, are well equipped to stay above water and swim underwater. 

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FountainBlue’s August 11 When She Speaks event was on the topic of Balancing Privacy, Security and Access. Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Palo Alto Networks and our panelists!

Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue, Chief Revenue Officer, 888 Steps
Panelist Shruti Gautam, Cofounder – Firecode.io, Senior Software Engineer, eBay
Panelist Sujata Ramamoorth, CSO, Cloud Platform and Services, Cisco
Panelist Geetha Rao, CEO, Springborne Life Sciences
Panelist Paola Zeni, Global Privacy, Senior Director, Palo Alto Networks

Balancing Privacy, Security and Access

August 4, 2017

PrivacySecurity

FountainBlue’s July 28 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Balancing Privacy, Security and Access’. Please join me in thanking our executives in attendance and our gracious hosts at Palo Alto Networks. Below are notes from the conversation.

As a responsible customer, government official, executive, vendor, partner, consumer, parent, citizen, we must continually look at balancing the need for convenience and access with the need to remain secure and compliant, the need to get things done efficiently and the need to protect against malicious and unintended negative consequences.

It becomes increasingly more important to do so as technology is enabling more people access to more solutions, devices and technologies. With the increasing occurrence of alarming security breaches and astounding examples of privacy breaches, governments are implementing policy updates to protect its citizens, corporations are implementing mandates and requirements, and partners and customers, and professionals and consumers are left wondering how to proactively manage their data, their devices, their security.

It’s a fact that leaders in companies and governments and households have a larger view of the impact should there be breaches in security and privacy. However, should mandates, policies, devices and other limitations on usage and access become too inconvenient for those under management, they may be less cooperative, less complicit as their focus is more on getting something done, and not necessarily on what the implications are should a risk actually be realized.

It’s clear that companies are required to track, manage and enforce regulations and policies, but it’s also clear that they must proactively secure themselves and their staff and proactively communicate about any compromising hacks. Companies are also required to track staff information, but also be able to report information which is to be retained by the company even after her/his departure. It’s also incumbent upon the staff member to ensure that private information remains private – not on company cloud or e-mail for example.

The trick is to align all the stakeholders to agree on the larger goal – to get things done while minimizing associated risks around security breaches. It takes a combination of mandates and policies and cooperation between all parties to successfully and proactively manage that balance. 

Equally important is the ability to provide the customer what they need, and even anticipating their need, while also complying with the privacy and security requirements of the companies and the governments involved.

There’s a clear up-side to collecting data – products and services would be more customized to personal needs and preferences. It’s great when that happens as it saves people time, but there’s also a nagging ‘big brother’ feeling if the predictions are intrusive, if they are wrong, if they force customers to do something they didn’t sign up for…

Change is happening quickly, and many are weighing in to influence policies and directions are there are business, political and social implications. For example, many eyes are on the EU and the May 2018 decision for the GDPR, even for those who aren’t European residents/EU members. 

I’ll conclude with a comparison mapping this balancing act with driving. 

  • Within the US, drivers know what the speed limits are, how to drive, which side of the road to drive on, how to obey signs and signals. Although accidents and problems happen, it generally works.
    • But cars are able to go much faster than the speed limit, and drivers can generally do so without negative consequence unless there’s a ticket or an accident. Similarly, staff members may know that they shouldn’t keep private information on the company cloud, and many may do so without negative consequence, unless there’s a privacy breach.
    • Traffic rules and protocols vary outside the country and even between cities. Similarly, security and privacy policies vary across companies and countries.
  • The rules and protocols are much more clear, more accepted, more established, more supported through documentation, etc., But the rules around balancing privacy, security and access are not at all clear in many circumstances. Thus we are all feeling our way through the many variables, trying to align all the motivations involved for all the players.

It’s a complex time with many factors and many leaders and companies weighing in as this balance impacts our daily work and home lives. 

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.

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

Navigating a Multicultural Workforce

June 25, 2017

FountainBlue’s June 23 When She Speaks event was on the topic of Navigating a Multicultural Workforce.  Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have such an outspoken, fun and engaging panel to speak on navigating a multi-generational workforce. Despite their differences in academic, educational, professional, cultural background, our panelists shared an uncanny ability to make things happen, working people, products and processes, and habitually overcoming extraordinary circumstances.

When asked to speak to the value of having diversity in the workplace, the reasons ran the gamut for our illustrious panel, but the consensus is the same: Diversity in the workplace benefits the business and the people in many ways. Whether it supports market share by including staff members which represent the broad swath of users across the globe, or whether a think-differently mind set helps long-standing engineering teams to think, speak and act differently, studies and results show that including a diversity of perspective benefits all.

Whether you’re just building awareness of gender and age differences for your organization or whether you’re one of the lucky companies with strong diversity and impact figures, companies big and small are all striving to recruit, develop and retain the most talented, the most versatile, AND the most diverse workforce.

Our panel of executives and millennials had a wide range of suggestions on how to embrace that other-focused, open perspective in the workplace. 

  • Lead the diversity initiative for your team and organization, no matter where you sit at the table. Choose your company wisely and work with company leaders to think, speak and walk the talk around diversity and its impact on innovation and business results. 
  • Embrace opportunities to learn many things and make broad and measurable impact. Our panelists’ breadth and depth of experience was remarkable, as was their ability to succeed under such a wide range of circumstances and requirements. 
  • Be aware of your own skill set and take ownership of your own growth. Adopt a high level of self awareness and raise the bar for yourself, while seeking to learn from and provide support for others around you.
  • Invite those who don’t think like you into your circle. Recruit team members who came from different backgrounds and perspectives and reap the social and professional benefits.
  • Facilitate social and professional connections between different people, groups, ethnicities, genders. Understanding the humanness of others who don’t think like us will help us all get a broader and more compassionate world view, which benefits everyone we touch.
  • Encourage everyone to have a voice and reward them for sharing their perspective. What the timid and reclusive say may likely surprise everyone in a good way, and encourage broader and more vocal participation overall.
  • Work with a diverse set of companies and products, and welcome the opportunity to grow a start-up. Having a varied background will give you rich and broad experience and leave you even more open to embrace new people, projects and ideas.
  • Develop relationships with partners to help recruit millennials into the workforce pipeline. Recruiting Interns is a popular strategy for test-driving and recruiting young talent into an organization.
  • Be clear, authentic, transparent and vulnerable in your communications, especially when you’re talking to a broad range of people who don’t think like you. Conflict will be inevitable, but having direct, drama-free, no-nonsense conversations will help every find a common ground, and work toward a common cause and purpose.
  • Learn the vocabulary of the millennials/boomers, and have fun doing it. Or you’re be in the dark and experience FOMO (fear of missing out) when there’s a QBR (quarterly business review) going on.

The common consensus was that it wasn’t about age or gender or role or company or industry, or any other bucket. We are all ONE, and embracing the vast differences within that broader ONE will help ALL within it to succeed.


Please join us in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s June 23 When She Speaks event, on the topic of Navigating a Multicultural Workforce and our gracious hosts at eBay:

Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue, CMO, 888 Steps

Our Executive Panelists include:

  • Panelist Tiffaney Fox Quintana, Vice President of Marketing, HelloSign
  • Panelist Helen Kim, VP of Business Operations, eBay
  • Panelist Kerry McCracken, Vice President: Flex Connect, Flex
  • Panelist Jennifer T. Miller | Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Gigamon
  • Panelist Michele Taylor-Smith, Senior Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, Nutanix

Our Millennial Panelists include:

  • Panelist Maliena Guy, Senior Product Manager-eBay Search, eBay
  • Panelist Nikita Maheshwari, Sr. Product Manager, Nutanix
  • Panelist Ama Misa, Senior Manager, Business Development, Strategic Partnerships Group, Flex
  • Panelist Claire Murdough, Content Marketing Manager, HelloSign
  • Panelist Catherine Stevenson, Human Resources Representative, Gigamon

Communicating at the Pace of Change

June 14, 2017

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FountainBlue’s June 9 When She Speaks in SF event was on the topic of Communicating at the Pace of Change. Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at 10Fold and our panelists! 

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue, CMO, 888 Steps
  • Panelist Julie Heck, Head of Marketing, Savvius
  • Panelist Alicia Johnson, Managing Director, Infrastructure Services, Accenture 
  • Panelist Fran Lowe, Vice President, 10Fold
  • Panelist Marisa Shumway, Sr Director, Marketing, AppDynamics

Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have such experienced, articulate, innovative and inspiring panelists for this event, representing different companies, roles, and backgrounds. Below are their collective thoughts and ideas which might help you think about how you can better communicate in this world of constant and fast-paced change.

Be strategic.

  • First know the vision and direction, and create messages in alignment with this shared objective.
  • The messages should be customized for each audience, factoring in their motivations, perceptions, as well as their preferred modes of communication – web, mobile, face-to-face, video, etc.
  • Most people today do their homework before they engage, researching their needs and the offerings. As a result: 1) be quick and clear about what sets your offering apart and strategies for getting from awareness to engagement to commitment, 2) offer self-selecting options and more entry points so prospects and customers can get the information and support they need, 3) work with PR teams to get the right communications to the right prospects, and 4) effectively communicate your offerings, your testimonials, your case studies.
  • We open to shifting (offering, pricing, communications and other) strategies quickly and strategically, should the customers and the data show there’s a need for you (and the industry) to do so.

Remember that you’re communicating with people. Be real.

  • Be authentic and real in all communications.
  • Build relationships, be human. People make decisions based on subjective and personal opinions, and rationalize their decisions based on facts.
  • Be crystal clear about what you do for whom and why they should care. And be prepared to communicate that to all stakeholders at any time, no matter what your role or responsibility is within the company.
  • If you consider that most people today have the attention span of a goldfish, communicate quickly in ways which resonate. To do so, identify the audience who would care and create a clear message which triggers an intended response.

Let’s talk about the data.

  • When you look at data, look not just at the ‘eyeballs’, but at the bigger picture.
  • Today’s marketers have a host of tools which generate a wealth of relevant, real-time data which can be leveraged for specific campaigns, to support sales and marketing initiatives and customer requirements. Adept marketers leverage these tools to understand how customers engage, what strategies are successfully facilitating engagement, which niche audiences respond to what communications, etc.,
  • Look at the data and the facts and results to limit the emotional, irrational and reactive responses. Being fact-focused not only helps you have better judgement, but it also enhances your brand as someone who is centered and calm even during times of stress, when the stakes are high, and getting it right is critical.
  • Focus on the problem in front of you, and collect the data which would help understand the cause behind a problem, without making it personal, without pointing fingers.

It takes leadership.

  • Be all-in, in thoughts, words and actions. Commitment and dedication lead to excellent results.
  • Results do not have to be perfect every time, all the time. But when the whoopses happen, taking ownership and communicating clearly and transparently and making corrections and amends will go a long way.
  • Don’t enlist in the crap-in, crap-out mindset around data. (Almost) anybody can make (almost) any data to support (almost) any conclusion. Leaders assess the intentions of the communicators, the validity of the data, the alignment of the decision with the overarching strategy etc.
  • Use your customer-brain and your coding brain when you communicate in a tech company. Be that translator when you’re working with people who get only one side or the other side of the brain.
  • Be clear on the overarching message for your company, and support employees, staff, partners, etc. in communicating in alignment with that message.

Below are collective thoughts on trends and questions based on those trends.

  • Reporters are disappearing. Business models around communication are evolving. What does this mean for your company?
  • There will continue to be a push-pull around privacy, security and access. What opt-in strategies would best work for your customers?
  • Personalization trends will continue to climb. How will your company shift its communications and operations to address the demand for personalized solutions and services from your customers?
  • Most forward-thinking companies are adopting digital strategies around communication. What is your company’s digital strategy? How are your customers responding to it?

The bottom line is that communication is a core leadership skill. No matter where you’re from geographically, what you’ve studied at school, what types of roles you’ve adopted, what you’ve accomplished to date, how many years you’ve worked, what gender you are, etc., your ability to communicate what you do for whom will define how successful you are in achieving shared goals. 

Befriending Dragons

June 11, 2017

PrincessDragon

There was once an ordinary princess who lived in an extraordinary world. It was a world where cars were driving themselves, where remote-controlled drones performed remarkable feats, where communications spread across the globe like wildfire. It was a world where the brilliant and hard-working earned massive amounts of money, influence and credibility, where world-changing solutions made daily headlines, where happiness and world peace were just a start-up, a funding, an exit away.

The princess was told her ideas lacked merit, by those who leveraged those ideas to conquer new lands. She was told her inexperience caused discord and indecision, by those who benefited from her new approaches to solving problems. She was told that her gowns were dated, and that the house coat suited her better anyway.

She was ousted from her castle, by those who claimed her throne. She was relieved of her treasures by those who swore to care for it. She told herself she preferred to live in the cottage at the foot of the castle, and wander with the animals in the forest.

Once, in her wanderings, she came upon seven wise men, on their way to work. She greeted them with surprise and pleasure, hungering for friendship. After a brief and pleasant interchange, they parted ways, agreeing to convene later in the forest at day’s end.

The princess told her story at the evening meal, and the wise men shared their advice on befriending dragons.

Dopey said, “If you’re the princess, why aren’t you on the throne?”

Sneezy said, “It’s because of those dragons. I also have an aversion to self-serving dragons. ah-choo”

Sleepy said, “What a great story. Let me sleep on it and get back to you.”

Doc said, “The best remedy is to regain your rightful place on the throne. Let’s go befriend those dragons. We can sleep now and tackle the dragons in the morning.”

Bashful said, “Do we have to face those dragons?”

Grumpy said, “Yes, Bashful. Doc’s right, if we have to face those dragons, let’s get it over with.”

Happy said, “Find a way to be happy, despite what dragons say and do. And choose new dragons you can be happy with.”

In the morning, the princess and her wise men marched to the castle and charmed, humored, cajoled them, while outwitting, outplaying, and out-maneuvering them, and otherwise conquering, ousting or be-friending them one by one. The princess regained her rightful place on the throne for many years to come, to the delightful of the good people of the castle.

*No dragons were harmed in the writing of this post.*

Facilitating Hyper-Growth

June 5, 2017

Concept of increasing sales from mobile online shopping

FountainBlue’s June 5 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Facilitating Hypergrowth’. Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Intel, who on-site support and joined in the interactive discussion, and to this month’s participating executives.

Below is a compilation of their ideas and thoughts on how we to facilitate hypergrowth from the people, process and technology perspectives. 

It’s always about the people. 

 

  • Create a company with a purpose and a culture of empowered leaders who are taking specific measures to achieve those goals. 
  • Look for people who are talented technically, yet also passionate about learning and making a difference. They must be challenged in a way that’s meaningful for them, stretching their thinking and their impact and their network and connections.
  • Invite initiative and input, and reward those who go the extra mile, and volunteer to participate in new and meaningful ways.
  • Look for, nurture and recruit those who are customer-centric.
  • Create an ecosystem of people and leaders from within and outside an organization, focused on a common goal and purpose.

 

Embrace a process that supports rapid growth.

  • Decide which processes help your business unit respond efficiently and effectively as defined by specific measurements. Replicate these processes elsewhere.
  • Adopt the SMURF perspective – process solutions which are Scalable, Maintainable, Usable, Reliable, Functional and Secure.
  • Decompose the processes into modules. Decide which modules should be automated and which ones should be individually customized. Design solutions integrating these modules.
  • Review and update your processes regularly to ensure relevance and effectiveness.

Adopt and Create Technologies in Demand

  • Keep an eye on the market, business and technology trends and design solutions based on those trends.
  • Hot areas for hypergrowth include IoT, Blockchain, Workflow solutions on the cloud, Security and privacy solutions for the enterprise, Software-enabled virtualization, Software-enabled networks, AI, AR/VR, Edge Networks, and unstructured data management

Below is a compilation of best practices for facilitating hypergrowth.

  • Dare to have an audacious vision for the future.
  • Enlist others to follow.
  • Embrace the thoughts and perspectives of people who don’t think-like-you, for she/he will represent a valid perspective as well.
  • Visualize the impact you can provide. Choose leaders who can help you visualize that impact. Communicate that impact in a way which would engage and enlist others.
  • Be specific on what you’d like to do, and versatile on how it could get done.
  • Act like the-little-engine-that-could, despite impressive opposition and incredible odds.
  • Lead the transformation to a digital solution, a digital culture… or risk being left behind.
  • Not everyone can get from here to there. Focus on those who will lead pivots, or are at least open to a pivot when necessary.

The bottom line is that it takes visionary leadership, exceptional execution, and continuous communication to ensure sustained hyper-growth. Select a company and a team that is poised for that hyper-growth, and contribute to the people, process and technology choices which would nurture and sustain that growth.

Better to Delegate

May 29, 2017

Better2Delegate

As a follow-up to last month’s post on being ‘Uniquely Human‘, this month, we will highlight scenarios which are best delegated to robots, tools, applications and devices.

  1. Delegate when it’s all about the facts, and the data is accurate and voluminous. With that said, make sure that humans structure the problem statement, ensure that the data is relevant, timely and accurate, and that the findings are in the right ballpark.
  2. Delegate when it’s more efficient for a system, tool or mechanism to perform a function than having a human perform that function. Even if it means that there are fewer jobs for humans. Train those humans to do jobs on top of or other than these functions.
  3. Automation of processes and production is more efficient than having humans perform redundant tasks. Having humors design and oversee the production to meet ongoing needs makes sense.
  4. Leverage robots, tools and solutions to serve people who can not do things for themselves, to ensure that their basic needs are covered, and they have the support they need 24×7.
  5. Delegate when there is high demand for repetitive processing and the need for accurate results. Humans can oversee and manage the proper functioning of the programs and ensure customer satisfaction.
  6. Delegate when it’s not safe for humans to perform the necessary task. Delegate when repetitive and strenuous tasks may result in injury and wear.
  7. Leverage software and AI and big data to get the real-time information you need to make data-based decisions.
  8. Create programs, tools and reports which help you understand the changes going on in the world, in the industry, in the market so that you can proactively respond to them.
  9. Design and leverage reports that produce data about the performance of your workforce and your products and decisions. Analysis of these reports facilitates proactive real-time, and long-term data-based decision-making.
  10. Delegate as much as possible to machines, processes, systems and tools, and know how experienced and knowledgable humans would integrate solutions as a value-add for the business.

The bottom line is that we should delegate tasks and functions to robots software and tools, and consider it an additive, not a threat to the overall job market.