This evening I attended an event hosted by Techwomen at Juniper Networks in the Bay Area. Symantec has been a sponsor for Techwomen since 2011 when I was a technical mentor in the inaugural class of the program.
TechWomen is an Initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is managed by the Institute of International Education’s Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives. TechWomen empowers, connects, and supports the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from Africa and the Middle East by providing them the access and opportunity needed to advance their careers, pursue their dreams, and inspire women and girls in their communities.
Dr. Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO of the Institute of International Education gave some thoughts regarding the program followed by Lee A. Satterfield, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Subsequently, Sheila Casey from the US state department led a panel discussion comprising of 3 mentors and I mentee from Jordan who went back and started an online eCommerce company. It was exciting to hear their experiences with the program.
To learn more about Techwomen or get involved visit:
For those in Mountain View, Techwomen is accepting Technical Mentor applications Through June 1. Cultural mentor applications are open from June 1 through August 1 via the website above.
For a program or business transformation, effective change management is critical for success. We sometimes are immersed on getting to the finish line without paying attention to the impact the deliverables will have on an organization. Effective change management could significantly impact the outcome.
Some key points to remember are the following:
10. Reward the desired behavior/response to change. It will encourage adoption.
9. Have the right metrics in place to measure success along the way. Course correct if you see risks.
8. If training is required for adoption, plan, prepare, build, pilot test and rollout.
7. Recognize and manage resistance to change. Timely action is required if resistance comes from influencers.
6. Ensure the right resources to manage the change lifecycle are available. These include people, technologies and processes.
5. Explain what the change means for each impacted party. Take the time to do this well as it directly impacts adoption.
4. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. We can never have enough of this. Use all mediums available; newsletters, blogs, social media used in your environment, collaboration tools, town hall meetings so that folks can ask questions.
3. Build a stakeholder map and align with them. Ensure they are engaged, informed and supportive during the change lifecycle.
2. Reason for change. The Why? Take the time to explain the reason for change. Why it is necessary? How it will benefit the organization?
1. Executive sponsorship for change is important. You need a strong leader to champion the cause and help drive. You may need assistance to address resistance if its impact hinders change.
Reading References – How to Implement Successful Change in our Personal Lives and Professional Careers by Jeffrey M. Hiatt
I started mentoring when I started my first job. Since I felt blessed, I made a commitment that I would always help in some way and give back. In the course of my career, I have had some awesome mentors who helped shape my life. I still exchange Christmas cards with my first manager and mentor from 20 years ago. She is such a powerful, fearless leader who taught me some lessons that I remember to this day.
Hence, it is never too early to start mentoring and giving back. You learn and grow from each mentoring experience. As you help someone with less experience in your area of expertise, you will also gain a fresh perspective. What can give you greater pleasure and joy than making an impact in someone’s life?
Here are some tips to assist you on your journey as a mentor.
10. Put the interests of your mentee above your own biases. Be committed to serve in the relationship. Be realistic in what you can provide and achieve.
9. Facilitate your mentee’s thinking process to find one’s own answers. Coach. Avoid being prescriptive. It encourages thoughtful analysis. There is greater ownership in results if one participates in the decisions made.
8. Be a good, empathic listener without judgment. In the words of Mark Goulston and John Ullmen “learn to listen into other people to discover what’s going on inside them. It’s listening on their terms, (not yours) to understand where people are coming from that establishes genuine rapport”.
7. Invest in being a SME (subject matter expert) in the area relevant so that you can direct your mentee to specific resources.
6. Point out your mentee’s opportunities for constructive development. Challenge and motivate. Be frank, and respectful.
5. Put yourself in the mentee’s shoes and experience their dilemma if there is one. It will foster being supportive.
4. Respect confidentiality. The mentee may share information in confidence that may be required for the mentorship. Share your story. It builds trust.
3. Prepare for each meeting/interaction. Each meeting should have a purpose, agenda and outcome that are tied to the overall objective and schedule. Track and celebrate progress.
2. Put a schedule for the learning experience. Plan the phases with outcomes, and metrics that can be measured.
1. A mentorship should have an objective, mission, and goals that are agreed upon at the beginning.
Reading References: Effective Mentoring by Dr. Norman H. Cohen
NCWIT: National Center for women in IT. http://www.ncwit.org
According to Jon R Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith, “A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable”. Teams are the fundamental unit for getting work done in high performing organizations. Success depends largely on the collective contributions of the team members towards a mutually agreed outcome.
10. Depending on the outcome expected from the team, an optimal size with the right mix of complementary skills is important. It will enhance constructive collaboration, communication, and participation from all members. For complex deliverables a size of 6-10 members is optimal.
9. There must be implicit trust amongst members of the team. An environment that fosters dealing with honesty and integrity will nurture great work.
8. The team should feel comfortable in dealing with conflict.
7. Select a deviant on the team to encourage divergent thinking and making the right choices.
6. Well defined, documented, efficient processes shared will ensure the effective utilization of team resources. This addresses “how” work gets done.
5. Members should be held personally accountable, and empowered to hold each other to their commitments.
4. A successful team helps each other achieve ones’ goals in times of crisis.
3. Clear transparent communication is at the core of high performing teams.
2. Leadership is a shared role in high performing teams. The org chart could have a named leader.
1. It is important to have a vision, values, charter, goals, with specific measurable metrics that matter that is embraced in by all members. This addresses the “why” and the “what” aspects of teams.
Reading References – The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
On Teams – Harvard Business Review
The Encyclopedia of Leadership by Murray Hiebert and Bruce Klatt
The Wisdom of Teams by Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith
Thanks to a colleague, I came across this presentation on slideshare that provides lessons from Steve Jobs on building captivating presentations. Jobs was a master at “Keeping it Simple Stupid” that captured the hearts and minds of the masses. Have you seen toddlers that cannot read use the ipad intuitively?
Would encourage you to go through this presentation and learn some of the tips mentioned here when you prepare your next one.
Pay attention to the following:
- Tell a story
- An image is worth a thousand words
- Build on emotions
- Answer the why, how, what
I know the hardest part for me is 30 hours each to craft the story, build and rehearse.
During a given day how much time do we spend at meetings? How effective are those meeting in achieving outcomes? Did the meeting make optimal use of the time spent by the participants? To ensure we conduct effective meetings …read on. (in chronological order for relvance)
1. Separate frequent tactical meetings (topics that are short term operational focused) from strategic ones that are less frequent (with topics that have a longer lasting impact).
2. Publish an Agenda organized by importance that clarifies the purpose and measurable outcomes.
3. If relevant, provide reading material ahead of time so the participants can come prepared.
4. Invite participants with the right capabilities to achieve the outcomes.
5. If necessary, assign roles for participants, e.g. scribe, facilitator.
6. Set ground rules agreed by the team, for participation at the meeting.
7. Start and end on time.
8. Encourage disagreement/discussion, challenge participants to innovate, summarize and review decisions.
9. Stick to the Agenda to achieve specified outcomes. Post spontaneous topics on a “Parking Lot” to be addressed during another forum.
10. Publish summarized meeting minutes (preferably in 24 hours), focused on results achieved. Include action items with owners and ETAs (estimated time to accomplish).
Reading References: The Encyclopedia of Leadership by Murray Hiebert and Bruce Klatt;
Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni
Generating and implementing new ideas is essential for survival in business. Innovation is the catalyst that stimulates new thoughts. Successful organizations build innovation as a foundation in their culture. Promoting a passion for collaborating to build innovative solutions is critical. Attached is a capability map for Innovation in pdf format.
10. Focus your products/services, on offering/enhancing value for the customers to complete “jobs”. Customers must be willing to pay for the value offered.
9. Decompose customer jobs into respective processes, capabilities and explore “key moments of truth” that can be improved.
8. Build customer intimacy and look for inefficiencies. Challenge “status quo”. Imbibe a “cycle of continuous improvement”.
7. Explore “reverse innovation” – solving customer pain in emerging markets with early adopters; build, test, learn then expand to other global markets.
6. Encourage, promote, reward innovation with formal venture planning processes across the value chain to source, fund, develop, productize, monetize and share ideas throughout the organization.
5. Allocate time for experimenting across all levels within the organization.
4. Promote working with limited resources/constraints; it breeds innovative/creative solutions.
3. Explore new business models applying new and existing technologies to form new solutions.
2. Enhance collaboration within departments, between departments and between companies and partners. Engage stakeholders.
1. Foster an entrepreneurial culture of taking risks, dealing with ambiguity, failing fast, learning and moving on.
Reading Reference – Inspiring and Executing Innovation – Harvard Business Review