Front Line Managers Online Meeting Follow-up

Linda Holroyd

Hi Everyone, someone who attended our July 19 Front Line Managers Online program requested referenced by Roxanne at the meeting. She has obliged by including the below information. Please e-mail her directly with your own ideas.
And I hope to see everyone for this Friday's program on the decision-making topic!

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Roxanne Dos Santos <r.dossantos@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 3, 2020 at 12:07 PM
Subject: RE: Front Line Managers Online Meeting Follow-up

Hi Linda and Monica,


Thanks for reaching out!

Happy to share ideas around employee engagement during COVID … feel free to share and R&D (Rip-off and Duplicate)

These ideas may not necessarily be something that would work for your organization…depends on size of group, culture, audience etc.


Please send your ideas my way too J Thank you.



Roxanne Dos Santos

Samsung Research America

  Follow us:      verticalStarRating


Let me know anything that you try J


1.       Design and send a Monthly Newsletter

2.       Plan and conduct live/virtual all hands – maybe quarterly? (does not have to be interactive, but employees like to hear from and see leaders)

3.       Work with Exec Admins, check in weekly, give them ideas and encourage them to keep their teams engaged. Ask for their ideas also.

4.       Create a WFH Guidelines, Tips & Resources Page on company intranet

5.       Have a dedicated Wellness Resource Page on physical, emotional and financial well-being (employees really want help with financial during these times)

6.       Offer Wellness Webinars from experts.

7.       Have company President/Sr. Leaders record video messages and email to employees

8.       Survey your employees to get feel for how employees feeling

9.       Offer employees a way to give feedback, ideas, comments, suggestions and ask questions ANONYMOUSLY

10.   Suggest managers/HR Business Partners do virtual coffee chats

11.   Offer many wellness webinars (How to Communicate at work and at home during COVID, art of leading remotely, etc.)

12.   Suggest leaders use their team-building budget to send small gift ($25 e-gift cards) to employees to show appreciation

13.   Weekly WFH Themed Photo Contests (Individual, Team and Pet categories!)

a.       Show us Your Creative Workspace. How have you transformed your WFH space into a workspace?

b.       Which pic will you submit? Your Zoom Audio-Only or Zoom-Video?

c.       Cooking From Home while Working From Home - What's your "Go-to" food? Are you experimenting with new recipes?

d.       Vacation from Home (VFH) while Working from Home (WFH) Where will you go next?

e.       What word or hashtag would you use to sum up your COVID experience?

f.        Show us Your Best Face…Covering!

14.   Let’s Get Real – Share your WFH Story

15.   Set up a “CRACK_A_JOKE” channel on SLACK (People could post meme’s and jokes)

16.   Weekly themed virtual Cocktail/Mocktail Happy Hours (3-4 pm or 4-5pm)

a.       What Do You Do For Fun?

b.       Family Feud

c.       Jeopardy

d.       Wheel of Fortune

e.       Beverages and Bingo

f.        Cooking/cocktail Mixing Lessons

g.       Show and Tell (Singing Talent! Significant Other/kids, art, photos, etc.)

h.       Personality tests - see below

i.         Will be trying House Scavenger Hunt or “Zoom Around the Room

17.   OR, Lunch time & bring a lunch (How to Sane During COVID IDEAS)

18.   If don’t already have one, launch a Peer-to-Peer Recognition program. If have one, promote it during WFH!

19.   Design ways for employees to recognize each other virtually: High Five Club (via Slack)

20.   Propose an Employee Appreciation Week

21.   Offer Meeting Free Fridays during COVID as way to show appreciation to employees

22.   Do Employee Spotlights on your company intranet

23.   Form employee Taskforces to look at how to improve current processes etc.



Attached is the 30 Bingo Cards - Can get more if needed online.

-          each person only needs 1 unique card

-          can play multiple games (line, X, then keep going for full card)

-          can incentivize or just bragging rights

-          What would be really fun is to have a bingo cage thing with the balls in it that you spin! Or, just write the numbers on paper, cut and put in bowl (B1, B2, B3)

-          There is a bingo calling card included if you have access to a printer, then cut them.




See images below

Fun part was having team “make predictions” before “reveal” – shows diversity of teams

See attached spreadsheet could use to track



- Your Singing Talent!

- Your Significant Other

- Your kid(s)

- A piece of art

- A photo

- Something you made

- Something you baked

- Your Animal Impersonation

- Anything goes (well...keep it "clean" :-))



Sample email below

What they collected, they compiled in a powerpoint and shared in video call



Maybe someone on your team who likes cooking would be willing to try this with your team?

OR, if you have budget, there are several online that you could purchase to have a “professional” conduct J

1. $29-$39/”device” ie. pp

a.       Immunity Boosting Food (example details below)

b.       Handmade Sicilian Pasta

2. $19/”device”

a.       Gin: Beyond the Martini

b.       Fun with Bourbon





Let Us Know


“what do you do for fun”



Send a Picture

Or describe your pastime


I built a replica of the Eiffel Tower using toothpicks!





Please respond by Friday, July 17th

Thank you for your participation

L&D Taskforce:



One of the things I do for fun is cooking! Greek, Indian, Canadian – whatever goes!

Love planning the menu, shopping for fresh ingredients, and then the prep. (Usually with a glass of vino close by)

Especially enjoy cooking in my kitchen on Jackass Hill and then eating outside on our front porch with a spectacular view!

I tell guests it’s the Best Restaurant in Sonora J













From: Linda Holroyd [mailto:linda.holroyd@...]
Sent: Monday, August 3, 2020 10:31 AM
To: Monica Kaldani <MKaldani@...>; Roxanne Dos Santos <r.dossantos@...>
Subject: Re: Front Line Managers Online Meeting Follow-up


Hey Roxanne, please meet Monica Kaldani, who is an HR executive in attendance when you spoke so passionately and creatively about engagement strategies you successfully used.

Would you kindly share your notes with her, copied here?

Is it OK to share it more broadly to others in the network?

I love the Rip-off-and-Distribute mindset. The more great ideas, the better for all!




Front Line Managers Online Meeting Follow-up

Linda Holroyd

Everyone, thank you for joining this afternoon's Front Line Managers' Online meeting on the Building Engagement topic. My thanks also to our panelists for their participation. 
  • Enable, Measure and Report on outcomes, Linda Holroyd, FountainBlue
  • Optimize the Employee Experience, Tammy Sanders, Lam Research
  • Walk the Talk, Talk the Walk, Preethy Padmanabhan, Freshworks
  • Be Aligned on a Corporate Purpose Which Resonates in the Market and with the Staff, Roxanne Dos Santos, Samsung
Below are some thoughts on how to pivot and manage your goals.

Engagement is the great differentiator - companies which engage their people are much more likely to succeed.
Of course, you have to be in the right market, have the right leaders and products, have that diverse team, etc., but even if you have all that, if you can't engage your people, it's much more difficult to succeed.
We were fortunate to have some fun, diverse and experienced panelists speak to the topic, and share their wisdom and ideas, which are synopsized below.

Have a Diverse and Inclusive Leadership Team
  • Model the behavior you seek, the leaders you've admired.
  • Say what you'll do, do what you say.
  • Involve everyone, even when it doesn't feel comfortable sometimes to do so.
  • Be open, authentic, transparent, consistent and sincere in your communications.
  • Don't expect to be perfect, but do be clear in your communications, taking responsibility when things don't go as planned, and learning and correcting behaviors and practices.
  • Align your diversity and inclusive efforts around corporate values. 
How to be more fair/focus on meritocracy
  • Measure to help ensure hiring, development, promotions are fairly distributed
  • Be clear on expectations for promotions
  • Be clear on responsibilities for each role, each product
  • Be clear about performance criteria, and fair in performance reviews
Below are best practices for building engagement:
  • Encourage and reward initiative and creativity. 
  • Invite all voices, all perspectives. Make it 'safe' to speak and contribute.
  • Sincerely ask for input. Then respond to that input and take action to address the requests made. (Be heard, We heard) 
  • Advise others to look beyond themselves, beyond their teams, beyond their organization to get a broader perspective.
  • Practice and encourage self-awareness.
  • Push yourself to be your best self.
  • Have a 'same badge' mindset and empower and engage everyone.
  • Make each success a team effort.
  • Share engagement best practices with your team with other teams.
  • Have competitions on best engagement practices. 
Ideas for building engagement:
  • Game Nights
  • Cooking together
  • Trivia/Emoji 
  • Adult Science Fair - team sharing
  • Competitions and pitch events
  • Scavenger hunts
  • Picture sharing
  • Beverage Bingo
In conclusion, the best way to build engagement is to work with people you like and trust and trust the people you work with, aligning on doing work that makes a difference for others. 

Articles and Resources:
  • McKinsey May 2020 Article: Understanding organizational barriers to a more inclusive workplace
  • McKinsey May 2020 Survey: The pivotal factors for effective external engagement
  • McKinsey June 2020 Article: COVID-19 and the employee experience: How leaders can seize the moment

  • McKinsey June 2020 Article: Communications get personal: How leaders can engage employees during a return to work

  • ==========
    About FountainBlue
    FountainBlue is a management consultancy which supports leadership and innovation for tech companies by providing strategy and execution consulting services around markets, products and people. 
    Launched in 2005, FountainBlue has served thousands of innovators and leaders through our monthly When She Speaks series (launched in May 2006), our VIP roundtable series (launched in Dec 2013), and our Front Line Managers Online program (launched in May 2020). 
    In response to the pandemic, starting March 2020, all FountainBlue programs will be held online, even after the shelter in place mandate is lifted. This will provide the opportunity to serve a larger and more global network of innovators and leaders. For more information, visit

    About FountainBlue's Front Line Managers Online Series
    FountainBlue's Semi-Monthly Front Line Managers Online series features a panel discussion of HR leaders presenting on leadership and innovation topics of interest to front line managers. Participating attendees are invited to send their questions to the panelists through email prior to the meeting or through chat during the meeting.
    Our meetings are conducted online from 11:50 a.m. - 1 p.m., generally on the first and third Fridays. Each meeting features articles and research on topics of interest for Front Line Managers in the network, along with additional input and advice from participating HR leaders within the FountainBlue network. 
    Corporate partners also receive a half hour of support which can be applied to coaching, planning, workshops, interactive discussions at individual companies, and similar activities, as approved. A list of upcoming online programs is below. 
  • August 7, 2020: Decision-Making Best Practices 
  • August 21, 2020: Performance Review Best Practices
  • September 4, 2020: Uncomfortable Conversations 
  • September 18, 2020: Centered Leadership
  • October 2, 2020: Common Management Challenges 
  • October 16, 2020: Stress Management Best Practices
  • November 6, 2020: Productivity Hacks
  • November 27, 2020: The Gift of Feedback
  • December 4, 2020: The Next Normal
  • December 18, 2020: HR Leaders' Predictions for 2021
  • As a follow-up to our July blog entitled 'What One Thing Can We Do to Support Black Professionals?', FountainBlue will launch a 'You Can Too' program, which will provide up to 20 You-Can-Too Summer Scholarships for youths and young professionals to attend our semi-monthly Front Line Managers Online programs from July-September, and includes a fifteen minute online coaching session once a month for three months. 
    Your thoughts and input are welcome. We hope to include you in the next Front Line Managers Online program scheduled for Friday, July 17 from 11:50 a.m. - 1 p.m., on the topic of 'Building Engagement'.


    Linda Holroyd
    CEO, FountainBlue
    650-646-1117 text and cell

    Front Line Managers Online Meeting Follow-up

    Linda Holroyd

    Everyone, thank you for joining this afternoon's Front Line Managers' Online meeting on the Embracing Agility topic. My thanks also to each of you for your attendance to our panelists for their participation. 
    • Adopting an Agile Mindset - Berylann Paz, FireEye 
    • Pivoting the Strategy, the Processes, the Target Goal – Tracy Meersman, Skybox Security
    • Aligning Short Term and Long Term Goals – Megan Cheek, Anatomage
    • Training an Agile Workforce - AJ Elias, Meriwest Credit Union
    • Leveraging Tools to Optimize Performance and Communication - Krista Pavlakos, Renasas
    • Measuring and Monitoring Differently - Indira Joshi, Micron
    Below are notes below from the conversation.

    Embracing Agility is a core leadership skill, particularly in times of great change. Below are some thoughts on how to become more agile as a leader, as a team, as an organization, as a human.
    • Have foundational values which you share with people from work and in life. These values will shape your attitude, your thinking and your behavior.
    • View change as an opportunity, even when it's posing a great challenge.
    • Embrace ambiguity as an opportunity to learn, grow and excel.
    • Choose to have less ego, to be more open, less attached, less judgmental.
    • Those who accept that change will happen are more likely to accept the change, and roll with it to seize the opportunity with each change.
    • Be customer-focused, and flexible/agile enough to shift with the needs of the customer in order to address their changing needs.
    • Have the self-awareness to know current and expected responses and reactions will help you better manage the changes in front of you, regardless of whether they are anticipated.
    • Rise above the emotional reaction and stay calm and focused. Model the way.
    Below are some thoughts on how to pivot and manage your goals.
    • Make your goals SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. 
    • Start and end with an overarching goal in mind, and work backwards to identify the short-term and long-term goals and the relevant milestones which support that overarching  goal.
    • Know what to measure and assess. Communicate measurements to all stakeholders. 
    • Know who's getting which reports, and what kind of information is most important for what reason.
    • Keep things moving forward. Err on the side of action.
    • Understand the dependencies and assumptions which impact tasks, milestones and goals.
    • Leverage tools to optimize communication and performance.
    Below are best practices for helping your staff become more agile.
    • Accept and respect that people have different backgrounds and experiences and therefore their response to change will be different. Listen to them and work with them to improve their likelihood of success. 
    • Create and build on a culture of trust as we walk our shared, change-filled path together.
    • Having a diverse team helps the team to be more versatile and more agile. You can leverage a broader range of experiences and skills, you can get empathy for people with different perspectives.
    • Communicate in an authentic, transparent, honest way.
    • Deeply connect with people, and help them connect with each other.
    • Truly care about your people, what's important to them, what motivates them.
    • Provide your people with the knowledge, tools and resources to shift with the needs of the customer and the company.
    • Help people to be more customer focused.
    • Empower and train people to take care of the needs of the customer - focusing on training generalists rather than specialists.
    • When appropriate back off and let your people find a new way of getting things done.
    Through this time of unprecedented change, when work becomes integrated with life, when change is happening so pervasively and so fast, and nobody knows what will happen next, we all need to be more communicative, more patient, more human. 
    Your thoughts and input are welcome. We hope to include you in the next Front Line Managers Online program scheduled for Friday, July 3 from 11:50 a.m. - 1 p.m., on the topic of 'Embracing Agility'.


    Linda Holroyd
    CEO, FountainBlue
    650-646-1117 text and cell

    Front Line Managers Online Meeting Follow-up

    Linda Holroyd

    Everyone, thank you for joining this afternoon's Front Line Managers' Online meeting on the Diversity Imperative topic. My thanks also to each of you for your attendance and participation. Please see the notes below from the conversation.

    FountainBlue's Front Line Managers' Online meeting on the Diversity Imperative topic drew from a McKinsey May 19, 2020 article, entitled 'Why Diversity Matters' and included the thoughts from HR leaders from FountainBlue's Front Line Managers community.  

    Diversity is at the center of five important things, from the war for talent to the quality of decision-making, from increased innovation to employee motivation and corporate image. Please join me in thanking our speakers who shared their thoughts in detail.
    1. Opening Remarks on the Diversity Imperative by KT Moore, Vice President - Product Marketing and Business Development, Cadence Design Systems
    2. Win the Talent War: Shari Moore, Coherent
    3. Improve the Quality of Decision-Making: Erica Wright, Agilent
    4. Increase Customer Insight and Innovation: Monica Kaldani-Nasif, Kateeva
    5. Drive Employee Motivation and Satisfaction: Dhana Gharda, Lam Research
    6. Improve Company’s Global Image: Yvonne Thomson, former Symantec
    Like a five-pointed star, each point is important, and collectively all five lead to stronger organizations.

    Our speakers agreed that we live in un-precedented times, and encouraged us all to look at the up-sides of these strange times:
    • the ability to take things more slowly, to appreciate the little things;
    • the beauty of nature and the environment, which is responded in a good way to the changes all of us are going through, which are putting less of a strain on them;
    • the opportunity to feel more connected with our loved ones and with total strangers;
    • the opportunity to more quickly leverage technology and innovation to help us all work and communicate together.
    Whether we are rich or poor, old or young, male or female, no matter what color of the rainbow we are, there's an opportunity for us to see beyond our own biases and come more closely together. There's an opportunity to lead by example, to empower and embolden others, to model the way.

    Diversity provides many business opportunities. 

    Having more diversity on the team helps increase the diversity of the interview candidate pool, thereby increasing the likelihood that someone with a diverse background would be chosen for a particular role. Being careful to monitor and manage the workforce will increase the likelihood that you can recruit, retain and develop key talent. In addition, working remotely can actually be a strategy for recruiting and engaging a diverse and distributed workforce.

    In many ways, have a diverse team helps improve the quality of decision-making in many ways.
    • Providing exposure to diverse perspectives, ideas and input helps teams better think through and evaluate options.
    • Having a diverse team helps to filter out irrelevant and unimportant options.
    • A broader range of options can lead to a wider, more impactful perspective, which can lead to better decision-making.
    • Including broader perspectives will increase the level of understanding of the perspectives of others impacted by a pending decision.
    • Continually inviting more diverse people to a group raises the bar for all participants in general, while it also specifically improves the decisions made overall.
    Diversity can help us better understand the needs of the customer, and help with the innovation process. For example, inviting people with diverse backgrounds to provide input on product discussions, on customer projects can lead to thoughts and ideas the usual product/engineering/ sales staff had not considered. Encouraging a customer-centric culture, rewarding collaboration and out-of-the-box thinking can lead to a diversity of thought which better serves customers, and better leads to innovation.
    Diversity may also help drive employee motivation and satisfaction. It's a magical thing when a diverse team comes together, feeling like they are part of something bigger together. But leaders must work hard to facilitate that all-one culture, and must model the way, walk the talk. Celebrations are also important, but they must not feel like obligations.

    Authentically embracing diversity can also be good for the company brand - provided that it is proactively managed, authentically and consistently communicated across the organization. A corporate brand takes years to build and when it's done well, reflecting a diverse perspective and team, it is well worth the effort.

    The bottom line is that leaders at all levels must adopt a people-first mindset to build connections with others on the team and in the company. Leaders must show passion and purpose for a common cause. Although leaders aren't required to be perfect, they do need to communicate transparently and consistently align to stated goals, stated values. And they do need to respect and appreciate the diverse thoughts, feelings, emotions and needs of staff members, partners, customers, and everyone else in the ecosystem.

    Your thoughts and input are welcome. We hope to include you in the next Front Line Managers Online program scheduled for Friday, July 3 from 11:50 a.m. - 1 p.m., on the topic of 'Embracing Agility'.


    McKinsey May 19, 2020 | Article
    Diversity still matters - Inclusion and diversity are at risk in the crisis—but are critical for business recovery, resilience, and reimagination.
    By Kevin Dolan, Vivian Hunt, Sara Prince, and Sandra Sancier-Sultan



    Linda Holroyd
    CEO, FountainBlue
    650-646-1117 text and cell

    Antibody Testing and COVID Testing

    Linda Holroyd

    Hi Everyone, I hope that you're keeping well.
    Much of the COVID-related discussion has been around the testing and the vaccines. In the next week, I'll be doing antibody testing through a blood test provided by LabCorp (to see if I ever had COVID, I've been asymptomatic) and also COVID testing through Verily, a Google offering.
    If you're in the Bay Area (and even beyond), check out these sites if you're also interested in getting tested.

    Linda Holroyd
    CEO, FountainBlue
    650-646-1117 text and cell

    Heads Up! Hearings on Future After Reopening Online, Paycheck Protection Program Extended

    Linda Holroyd

    FYI Everyone, in case you live in Santa Clara County and haven't received this information, I thought it would be of interest.

    Panel discussion relating to recommendations regarding the safe operation of manufacturing, construction, life sciences, grocery and other industries that are open or partially open.
    a. 3C1 - Infinera
    b. 3C2 - Fujifilm
    c. 3C3 - Genentech
    d. 3C4 - Building Trades
    e. 3C5 - Blach Construction
    f. 3C6 - Sunpower
    g. 3C6 - Sunpower Corporation
    h. 3C7 - Silicon Valley Auto Deaership Association
    i. 3C8 - UCFW
    Panel discussion relating to recommendations regarding the safe opening of office workspaces.
    a. 3D1 - Pinger
    b. 3D2 - Cisco
    c. 3D3 - Santa Clara County
    d. 3D4 - Community Solutions
    e. 3D5 - Pure Storage
    f. 3D5 - Revised Pure Storage Final
    g. 3D6 - SEIU USWW
    Panel discussion relating to recommendations regarding the safe opening of elementary schools, preschools, childcare facilities, and summer camps.
    a. 3E1 - FIRST 5 Santa Clara County
    b. 3E2 - SCCOE
    c. 3E3 - YWCA
    d. 3E4 - YMCA
    e. 3E5 - Walden West
    f. 3E6 - Gilroy Unified School District
    g. 3E7 - Franklin McKinley School District
    Panel discussion relating to recommendations regarding the safe operation of retail and restaurants.
    a. 3F1 - Simon Management
    b. 3F2 - KBM-Hogue
    c. 3F3 - Westfield Valley Fair
    d. 3F4 - Sushi Confidential
    e. 3F5 - Paper Plane, Etc.
    f. 3F5 - Revised Paper Plane, Etc.
    g. 3F6 - Ada's Cafe
    h. 3F7 - Din Tai Fung

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Supervisor Cindy Chavez <SupeChavezNews@...>
    Date: Jun 8, 2020, 4:00 PM
    Subject: Heads Up! Hearings on Future After Reopening Online, Paycheck Protection Program Extended

    View this email in your browser
    Monday, June 8, 2020

    In This Edition:

    Video of Hearings on Reopening Available Online
    I hope this finds you well.

    On June 5 and continuing today, the Board of Supervisors held special hearings on the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

    We heard from 92 leaders in 22 major sectors of our community and economy about what they need to reopen their businesses or organizations and what assistance they need from all levels of government in order to reopen successfully and thrive going forward.

    The presentations were extremely informative. You can view the video from the June 5 hearing, and see copies of the Power Point presentations that each of the panelists made, here.

    Today’s Power Point presentations and video can be seen here.
    Paycheck Protection Program Extended Through 2020

    On Friday, the federal Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act became law providing some additional assistance to small business owners who have been impacted by the pandemic.

    This bipartisan legislation not only extends the Paycheck Protection Program from June 30 to the end of 2020, but also provides some much-needed fixes to the original program that was passed as part of the CARES Act in March.

    The fixes include:
    • Extending the loan term from 8 weeks to 24 weeks.
    • Lowering the percentage of loan proceeds that must be used on payroll from 75% to 60%.
    • Extending the repayment term for the portion of the loan that is not forgiven from 2 years to 5 five years.
    The Small Business Administration has a web page with more information about the Paycheck Protection Program, as well as a link to find a lender to apply for the program, here.
    County May Lose More Than $140 Million to State
    Santa Clara County could see its budgetary funds cut by more than $140 million this week by the state Legislature. These funds are necessary to support vital programs such as immigration services, supportive housing, respite care for foster families, intimate partner violence services, universal access to child care, re-entry services, and many more.

    The proposal before the Legislature would retroactively shift property taxes from counties, cities, and special districts to the State of California. This would have a direct budget impact on five Bay Area counties: Santa Clara, San Francisco, Marin, Napa, and San Mateo.

    In a time when our County is already experiencing record unemployment and reduced tax revenues due to COVID-19, losing these millions to would further harm our already precarious financial situation.

    Please make your voice heard and let the Legislature know how crucial these funds are to Santa Clara County by going here:
    Survey for Parents on Reopening Schools

    The Santa Clara County Office of Education is currently conducting a survey of parents and guardians in the County about their experiences with distance learning since schools were closed in March.

    The survey also covers what concerns they may have about school campuses and classrooms reopening for the 2020-2021 school year.

    The survey is available in English here.

    It is available in Spanish here.

    It is available in Vietnamese here.

    The deadline for taking the survey is June 12.

    The Office of Education has also released preliminary guidance for the County-wide reopening and recovery of schools in the fall. The Stronger Together Resources include a guide, frequently asked questions, an action planning template, and other elements important to the process of reopening schools. It can be found here.
    Be well,
    Santa Clara County COVID-19 Case Numbers, Hospital Capacity, and Testing Dashboards Can Be Found Here
    Copyright © 2020 Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, All rights reserved.
    You are receiving this email because you signed up for email updates from Santa Clara County Supervisor District 2

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    Linda Holroyd
    CEO, FountainBlue
    650-646-1117 text and cell

    McKinsey, May 2020: Diversity still matters: Inclusion and diversity are at risk in the crisis—but are critical for business recovery, resilience, and reimagination.

    Linda Holroyd

    Dear HR Leaders, thank you for joining FountainBlue's HR Leaders' Community and our Front Line Managers' Program!
    We are looking forward to our June 19 program on the 'Diversity in a Time of Covid' topic, a brainstorming session on how we can collectively do better to facilitate diversity, equality, communication and understanding at work. 
    See article below on how we as HR leaders can drive diversity even during this crisis.  If you would like to contribute to this interactive discussion, I'd be happy to send you the draft slide deck, highlighting the opportunities suggested below, or adding your own thoughts. 
    Yours in solidarity.

    Diversity still matters
    May 19, 2020 | Article
    Inclusion and diversity are at risk in the crisis—but are critical for business recovery, resilience, and reimagination.
    By Kevin DolanVivian HuntSara Prince, and Sandra Sancier-Sultan
    COVID-19 is confronting companies around the world with a daunting degree of disruption. In the immediate term, some face devastating losses of revenue, dislocations to operations and supply chains, and challenges to liquidity and solvency. Others are coping with enormous unexpected spikes in demand. In the medium term, we can expect material and lasting shifts in customer markets, regulatory environments, and workforce deployments. Leaders and managers will need a great deal of resolve and resilience as they seek to navigate an economically and socially viable path toward a “next normal.”
    The lessons from previous crises tell us there is a very real risk that inclusion and diversity (I&D) may now recede as a strategic priority for organizations.1 This may be quite unintentional: companies will focus on their most pressing basic needs—such as urgent measures to adapt to new ways of working; consolidate workforce capacity; and maintain productivity, a sense of connection, and the physical and mental health of their employees.
    Yet we would argue that companies pulling back on I&D now may be placing themselves at a disadvantage: they could not only face a backlash from customers and talent now but also, down the line, fail to better position themselves for growth and renewal. Some of the qualities that characterize diverse and inclusive companies—notably innovation and resilience—will be much in need as companies recover from the crisis.2 Indeed, it could help companies to unlock the power of I&D as an enabler of business performance and organizational health and contribute to the wider effort to revive economies and safeguard social cohesion. In this article, we explore what companies can do to ensure that I&D remains a core part of their agendas during the downturn, and beyond.
    The benefits of I&D are clear now—and that doesn’t change in a crisis
    Our research has repeatedly shown that gender and ethnic diversity, inclusion, and performance go hand in hand. Our latest report, Diversity wins: How inclusion matters, reinforces the business case.3 Over the past five years, the likelihood that diverse companies will out-earn their industry peers has grown. So have the penalties for companies lacking diversity. Another forthcoming McKinsey report, about Latin America, highlights the strong correlation between gender diversity and positive behavior directly related to better organizational health—which, in turn, is associated with better business performance. Similarly, our previous research found that women tend to demonstrate, more often than men, five of the nine types of leadership behavior that improve organizational performance, including talent development. Women also more frequently apply three of the four types of behavior—intellectual stimulation, inspiration, and participative decision making—that most effectively address the global challenges of the future.
    Diversity winners that deploy a systematic approach to inclusion and diversity and don’t fear bold action to foster inclusion and belonging are most likely to reap the rewards. Now is the time to be even bolder.

    The bulk of this research on the business case for diversity was carried out during the past five years, when economic conditions have been mostly favorable. Yet the evidence from past crises shows that diversity can also play an important role in recovery. 

    For example, several reports have shown that in the 2008–09 global financial crisis, banks with a higher share of women on their boards were more stable than their peers. This research also suggests that banks run by women might be less vulnerable in a crisis.4 

    And we are seeing, right now, that cities and countries with women leaders are thought to be facing the COVID-19 pandemic more successfully than those without them.5 It may be, some researchers conclude, that female leadership has a trust advantage giving women the edge in certain crisis situations.6

    The challenge: Why I&D may lose momentum during the COVID-19 crisis
    Progress on I&D could slow down during and after the crisis unless companies consciously focus on advancing diversity and fostering inclusion. The importance of such continuity is quite intuitive, but it was not the norm during the 2008–09 financial crisis: although gender-diversity programs were not officially deprioritized, they did not benefit from additional effort or interest, and programs targeting all employees became a higher priority among some of the companies in our sample.7 Early signs, this time around, are not encouraging. One pulse survey of I&D leaders, for example, found that 27 percent of them report that their organizations have put all or most I&D initiatives on hold because of the pandemic.8

    Representation at risk. As the crisis makes jobs vulnerable, diverse talent may be most at risk. To be sure, we may see an uptick in the number of jobs and, possibly, in pay for some gendered occupations—such as healthcare providers on the front line of public service.9 But these effects are likely to be offset by job losses in the private sector, where low-skill, low-paying jobs in retailing, leisure, and hospitality may be hard hit.
    Furthermore, the crisis will probably intensify existing workplace-automation trends that are already expected to take a greater toll on women and minorities. While previous research from the McKinsey Global Institute has shown that automation has a more or less equal net impact on the jobs of women and men, it will vary greatly across sectors and regions. Pervasive barriers to the development of skills and access to technology must be overcome if women and minorities are to get new job opportunities, especially in the tech sector. Avenues for economic advancement will continue to be a challenge for them. And because they typically work in medium- and lower-paid occupations, and demand for such roles is expected to shrink, they are likely to bear the brunt of the transition.

    We can see this playing out already in the crisis. McKinsey research has found that 39 percent of all jobs held by black Americans—compared with 34 percent by white ones—are now threatened by reductions in hours or pay, temporary furloughs, or permanent layoffs. That is seven million jobs.

    As the COVID-19 crisis makes jobs vulnerable, diverse talent may be most at risk.

    Eroding inclusion. A second key risk is that remote-working conditions may erode inclusion. Sending staff home to work, in a bid to stem the spread of COVID-19, risks reinforcing existing exclusive behavior and biases and undermining inclusive workplace cultures. McKinsey research analyzing the lessons of remote working in China—an early mover because it was at the vanguard of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19—found that teams or whole business units working remotely can quickly become confused and lose clarity. Isolation leads to uncertainty about whom to talk with on specific issues and how and when to approach colleagues, leading to hold-ups and delays. In such a climate, there is a risk of amplifying noninclusive dynamics.

    Remote-working norms, particularly videoconferencing, could make it difficult for some personnel, such as LGBTQ+ employees, to avoid publicly sharing aspects of their home lives they might not be comfortable revealing to all of their colleagues. Working from home also may put women and minorities at a disadvantage, given challenges such as broadband access, the availability (or lack) of home-office space, and childcare and home-schooling duties.10

    The chance: Leveraging I&D in the crisis
    These challenges, if unaddressed, could undermine corporate responses to the COVID-19 crisis. Leaders and organizations will need enhanced problem-solving skills and vision to address dislocations in businesses, industries, and regulatory environments. Strategic agility—the ability to spot and seize game changers—is likely to be a mission-critical trait. It is also likely to be stronger in organizations that can draw on the full spectrum of diverse talent available to them.
    Our research and the research of others suggest that when companies invest in diversity and inclusion, they are in a better position to create more adaptive, effective teams and more likely to recognize diversity as a competitive advantage.11 Meanwhile, other companies might struggle. Their responses to I&D during the COVID-19 crisis could mirror the broader stances toward I&D described in our report Diversity wins, where three broad categories of approaches emerged.

    Diversity winners and fast movers. One-third of the companies in our data set have made significant I&D gains over the past five years and are increasingly pulling ahead of their industry peers in financial performance. Our experience with companies in this group suggests that many of them will view their existing strengths in I&D as a way to bounce back more quickly from the crisis while they actively seek to boost representation and inclusion.

    Moderate movers and resting on laurels. A middle group of companies have made only modest I&D gains in the past five years. It’s easy to imagine their continuing to tread water during the crisis, perhaps seeking to protect their gains but doing little new to build on or increase them.

    Laggards. Companies in this broadest group have progressed little, remained static, or regressed in their gender and ethnic representation in the past five years. With no momentum, most could well deprioritize I&D efforts during the COVID-19 crisis.

    The crisis, in other words, will interact with existing I&D trends. Further separation between diversity leaders and laggards is possible, and companies in the muddy middle could make huge progress (exhibit). Such organizations, by raising their I&D sights, should be able to upgrade their “license to operate” and realize the goals of recovery, resilience, and reimagination.


    For business executives the world over, this may prove to be a defining moment in their careers. They must not only protect the health of their employees and customers but also navigate far-reaching disruption to their operations, plan for recovery, and prepare to reimagine their business models for the next normal. When leaders and companies reaffirm their commitment to I&D, they can seize the moment as they stretch for gains in five key domains where, our research suggests, I&D frequently makes a significant difference to an organization’s performance.

    Opportunity 1: Winning the war for talent. Organizations can ensure that they hold onto their top talent by monitoring the demographic profile of their changing workforce and ensuring that diverse talent isn’t lost. The shift to remote working could offer advantages here. Remote working may have some downsides, as we’ve mentioned earlier, but its benefits, particularly increased flexibility, may play a more significant role in the long term of retaining women, who often shoulder a disproportionate share of family duties.12 The wholesale shift to remote working is also opening up access to a whole new array of talent that may not have been available to companies previously: working parents, dual-career couples, and single parents are all better suited to a flexible workplace and remote working.

    Opportunity 2: Improving the quality of decision making. In the face of major dislocations, enhanced problem-solving skills and vision will be needed to reappraise business models, competitive dynamics, and the external environment. Our research has demonstrated that organizations investing in diversity and inclusion are strongly positioned in this regard, in part because diversity brings multiple perspectives to bear on problems, thereby boosting the odds of more creative solutions. Diverse companies are also more likely to have employees who feel they can be themselves at work and are empowered to participate and contribute. In addition, research shows that diverse teams focus more intently on facts and process them more carefully. What’s more, “they may also encourage greater scrutiny of each member’s actions, keeping their joint cognitive resources sharp and vigilant.”13

    When companies invest in diversity and inclusion, they are in a better position to create more adaptive, effective teams and more likely to recognize diversity as a competitive advantage.

    Opportunity 3: Increasing customer insight and innovation. Research also indicates that diverse teams are more innovative—stronger at anticipating shifts in consumer needs and consumption patterns that make new products and services possible, potentially generating a competitive edge. For example, one study found that over a two-year period, companies with more women were more likely to introduce radical new innovations into the market.14 A separate study found that businesses run by culturally diverse leadership teams were more likely to develop new products than those with homogenous leadership.15 Similarly, our forthcoming research on Latin America has found that employees in companies committed to diversity are about 150 percent more likely to report that they can propose new ideas and try new ways of doing things.

    Opportunity 4: Driving employee motivation and satisfaction. McKinsey research on Latin America showed that companies perceived as committed to diversity are about 75 percent more likely to report a pro-teamwork leadership culture.16 Instead of letting remote working erode inclusion during this crisis, companies can reaffirm their commitment to I&D by capitalizing on its advantages in flexibility and access to talent. They can also use society-wide feelings of solidarity, which are growing in the crisis, to build agile, inclusive work cultures going forward. Proponents of I&D should show the leaders and managers of their companies the business benefits of I&D and the critical importance of inclusive leadership to ensure that all employees feel valued and motivated at a time of increased vulnerability. One tangible way to achieve this goal may be to consider offering hazard pay to help compensate for socioeconomic inequities associated with, for example, the fact that minorities are disproportionately represented in essential work categories, which involve lower pay and more exposure to infection for them and their families.17

    Diverse teams are more innovative—stronger at anticipating shifts in consumer needs and consumption patterns that make new products and services possible, potentially generating a competitive edge.

    Opportunity 5: Improving a company’s global image and license to operate. Companies that maintain, or even increase, their focus on I&D during the downturn are likely to avoid the risk of being penalized in its aftermath—for example, by losing customers, struggling to attract talent, and losing government support and partnerships. Companies that seek to emphasize solidarity and purpose and reach beyond the organization to support the broader economy and society stand to gain. Diverse organizational environments can have a positive impact on individual and collective behavior, boosting collaboration and creativity. Companies can take steps to seed these benefits more widely. For organizations, this can take the form of cushioning the impact of the crisis on society by donating money to hard-hit areas or leading upskilling and reskilling efforts, such as instruction in coding for poor communities. There are already many examples of small and employee-driven initiatives to support neighborhoods, towns, and cities, of companies encouraging employees to give back to them in nonfinancial ways (such as volunteering), and of larger corporations coming together to find innovative ways to minimize the pandemic’s impact on public health and to limit disruptions to economies and supply chains.18

    If there is one thing this crisis is demonstrating, it’s that the interdependencies among business, government, and society can no longer be ignored. To survive and thrive, business needs healthy consumers, functional societies, and a diverse and inclusive workforce. This crisis helps us to understand diversity in a broader context. Rather than restricting our discussions about I&D to a narrow focus on representation in organizations, we can talk about how to welcome, include, consider, and engage people from all backgrounds in all walks of life. Organizations that do so are likely to be rewarded in the longer term.

    Seizing the moment to forge a new commitment to equality
    The experience of diversity winners we have studied has shown that if companies deploy a systematic approach to I&D and don’t fear bold action to foster inclusion and belonging, they are most likely to reap the rewards. We believe that now is the time to be even bolder.
    After the 2008–09 crisis, when we asked companies what they believed to be the key organizational dimensions needed to emerge successfully from a crisis, most emphasized the importance of the leadership team and the ability to define a clear direction for the company going forward—both dimensions in which diversity plays a vital role. Now is the time for leaders to reaffirm their commitment to I&D and to reap its benefits not just because it is likely to give them a better chance at recovery but also because it is the right thing to do.
    As we saw during World War II—when many married women with children joined the labor force for the first time—big crises can bring about big change. At this watershed moment, there is an opportunity to forge a new commitment to equality and fairness that will ensure more prosperity for all.
    About the author(s)
    Kevin Dolan is a senior partner in McKinsey’s Chicago office, Vivian Hunt is a senior partner in the London office, Sara Prince is a partner in the Atlanta office, and Sandra Sancier-Sultan is a senior partner in the Paris office.
    The authors wish to thank Paula del Rey, Sundiatu Dixon-Fyle, Diana Ellsworth, and Lungile Makhanya for their contributions to this article.

    Linda Holroyd
    CEO, FountainBlue
    650-646-1117 text and cell

    Front Line Managers Online Meeting Follow-up

    Linda Holroyd

    Everyone, thank you for joining this afternoon's Front Line Managers' Online meeting.  
    My thanks also to each of you for your attendance and participation. Please see the notes below from the conversation.

    This afternoon's program was based on the 'Eight causes of conflicts' according to Art Bell and Brett Hart on Feb 14, 2020

    According to Psychologists Art Bell and Brett Hart, as they have identified eight common causes of conflict in the workplace:
    • Conflicting Needs
    • Conflicting Styles
    • Conflicting Perceptions
    • Conflicting Goals
    • Conflicting Pressures
    • Conflicting Roles
    • Different Personal Values
    • Unpredictable Policies
    Below are suggestions for managing Conflicting Needs:
    • Set Proper and Detailed Goals
    • Update the Goals as Necessary
    • Leverage Data in Conversations
    • Justify Position
    • Don’t Make it Personal
    • Agree on a Win – Win
    • Leverage Your Networks to Help Ensure Sufficient Resources
    • Agreement on Prioritization
    • Negotiate on Resource
    • Be Willing to give something away
    • Open Discussion about Resource Allocation
    Below are suggestions for managing Conflicting Styles:
    • There are different kinds of styles:
      • Planners vs Procrastinators
      • Introverts vs Extraverts
      • Big Picture vs Detailed
      • Risk-Adverse vs Risk-Tolerant
      • Structured vs Fluid
    • Combining the above slides across team members could be very beneficial. But it might be difficult to combine combative with collaborative people.
    • Learn to work with people who have different styles/other modes.
    • Have the courage and self awareness to know yourself to identify the gap between yourself and those who have different styles.
    • Be aware of the style of others when you ask questions and communicate with others.
    • Identify a common middle ground.
    • Interacting with peers, junior employees is different than interacting with executives, when there is often more at stake.
    • Prepare for your meetings based on who's in the room and their style of leading and communicating.
    Below are suggestions for managing Conflicting Perceptions:
    • Ask questions about perception of events.
    • Question assumptions about others.
    • Conduct pre-meetings, especially when communicating bad news.
    • Encourage and support positive communications.
    • When communicating, be clear, transparent, vulnerable and authentic.
    • Get to the root of the conflict.
    • Correct any mis-perceptions, mis-alignments.
    • Accept that we all have different histories and backgrounds, so our perceptions may frequently differ.
    • Investigate what's driving the conflict, the different perceptions.
    Below are suggestions for managing Conflicting Objectives:
    • Recognize your own needs and goals, and other that of others - at the individual, team, and corporate level.
    • Consider that the position and actions of people are based on the assumptions made about how to achieve the goals, and what the needs are.
    • Be aware of conflicting objectives: between team members, between individuals, between products.
    Below are suggestions for managing Conflicting Pressures:
    • Be clear on your tasks and your progress. Ask for help where needed. Coordinate with others to meet timelines and deliverables.
    • Ensure that people connect regularly as a team and also one-on-one.
    • It's never personal, so stay calm and focus on the data and the issues rather than the emotions.
    • Prioritize actions and goals.
    • Communicate status to executives and ask for help if you need.
    Below are suggestions for managing Roles Conflict:
    • Know what you need, know what you have, what would complement what you have.
    • Identify the gap between what you're delivering and what you need to deliver. See how a role conflict might be causing this gap.
    • Balance the safety of the people, the quality of the product/service provided, and the price/timeline.
    • Know your priorities and speak and act in alignment with those priorities.
    • Align the corporate goals and team and individual goals with the market trends and the customer needs.
    • Proactively manage role conflicts to ensure optimize performance and engagement. 
    Below are suggestions for managing People with Different Personal Values:
    • Be vulnerable.
    • Be collaborative, inclusive and open even if others are being divisive.
    • Embrace differences.
    • Be flexible.
    • Be forgiving.
    • Go to a place of understanding and empathy.
    • Invite human-to-human connections.
    • Balance accountability with empathy.
    • Speak to the implications of what the other party is saying, rather than the action/words they're advocating.
    • Practice ethical leadership - do the right thing.
    • Carefully consider how your request may cause conflict.
    • Clearly communicate if a requested task causes discomfort/ethical issue.
    • Know your walking point - so you can adhere to your own personal values.
    • Be open and flexible about people not-like-you.
    Below are suggestions for managing Unpredictable Policies:
    • Be clear on expectations in thinking, writing and action
    • Only make changes to policy when necessary 
    • Clearly communicate any changes and reasons behind the changes and how it would affect everyone 
    • Welcome input on policies
    Please join me in thanking our speakers:
    • Conflicting Needs - Nivedita Ojha, CITRIX
    • Conflicting Styles - Kavita Shah, Nova
    • Conflicting Perceptions - Krista Pavlakos, Renasas
    • Conflicting Goals - Ronald Goossens, ASML
    • Conflicting Pressures - Nancy Gilbert, Lam Research
    • Conflicting Roles - Megan Cheek, Anatomage
    • Different Personal Values - Tracy Meersman, Skybox Security
    • Unpredictable Policies - Olga Campa, ProofPoint
    Your thoughts and input is welcome. We hope to include you in the next program scheduled for Friday, June 19 from noon - 1 p.m., on the topic of diversity in a time of COVID. 


    Linda Holroyd
    CEO, FountainBlue
    650-646-1117 text and cell

    Together We Stand

    Linda Holroyd

    Everyone, I for one couldn't watch the protests or even digest how people were treating each other. (I share the sentiments of UCLA's leadership, in their post below entitled 'The Pain Behind the Protests'.)
    Yet I must not only find the strength to understand, but also to step up and do something about this.
    I'm working on a musical campaign, featuring international songs of peace, entitled 'Together We Stand'.
    Stay tuned. And let me know if you'd also like to get involved.
    Together we stand,

    From: UCLA Leadership <chancellor@...>
    Date: Sat, May 30, 2020, 11:45 PM
    Subject: The Pain Behind the Protests
    To: <holroyd@...>


    To the Campus Community:
    Across the country, people are horrified by the recent killings of three African Americans: Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. We share that outrage. And these are only a few of the most recent deaths to cause particular anguish amongst those who for too long have endured cruelty after cruelty, indignity after indignity.
    What stood out about the killing of George Floyd — more than its senselessness, more than its brutality – was its casualness. What was so chilling was the relaxed demeanor of a police officer — sworn to protect and to serve — his hands calmly in his pockets, kneeling on the neck of a fellow human being, indifferent to his cries of pain and the fear for his life. Equally harrowing was his three fellow officers who stood there and did not recognize the need to intervene in a life or death situation. All these behaviors reflected the utter dehumanization of Black life.

    We must never let that indifference to human suffering become our own. We must never deaden our hearts to the pain of others. Our fundamental values demand that we care.
    At UCLA, we believe deeply that equity, respect and justice are central to the character of our institution, to the health of our democracy and to the well-being of our world. Still, we recognize that UCLA also can and must do better. 

    As campus leaders, we recommit ourselves to ensuring that our policies and actions value the lives, safety and dignity of every Bruin...
    We conclude by stating unequivocally that Black lives DO matter. They matter at UCLA. They matter in Minnesota. They matter everywhere.
    In solidarity,

    Linda Holroyd
    CEO, FountainBlue
    650-646-1117 text and cell

    McKinsey, May 2020: The business case for inclusion and diversity (I&D) is stronger than ever.

    Linda Holroyd

    Happy day-after Memorial Day everyone. I hope that you had a restful break, and perhaps got to timidly get back to 'normal', complete with face masks.
    I hope to include each of you in the June 5 noon-1 p.m. Front Line Managers' online meeting, on the conflict resolution topic. You can get on my calendar to discuss by visiting  or give me YOUR scheduling link or just name some suggested times to connect - whatever is easiest for you.
    Meanwhile, I thought this McKinsey article was helpful, particularly the summary at the bottom.

    Diversity wins: How inclusion matters

    May 19, 2020 | Report
    The business case for inclusion and diversity (I&D) is stronger than ever. Taking a closer look at diversity winners reveals what can drive real progress.
    By Sundiatu Dixon-Fyle, Kevin DolanVivian Hunt, and Sara Prince
    Full Report (PDF-11MB)
    Diversity wins is the third report in a McKinsey series investigating the business case for diversity, following Why diversity matters (2015) and Delivering through diversity (2018). Our latest report shows not only that the business case remains robust but also that the relationship between diversity on executive teams and the likelihood of financial outperformance has strengthened over time. These findings emerge from our largest data set so far, encompassing 15 countries and more than 1,000 large companies. By incorporating a “social listening” analysis of employee sentiment in online reviews, the report also provides new insights into how inclusion matters. It shows that companies should pay much greater attention to inclusion, even when they are relatively diverse.
    In the COVID-19 crisis, inclusion and diversity matter more than ever
    By following the trajectories of hundreds of companies in our data set since 2014, we find that the overall slow growth in diversity often observed in fact masks a growing polarization among these organizations. While most have made little progress, are stalled or even slipping backward, some are making impressive gains in diversity, particularly in executive teams. We show that these diversity winners are adopting systematic, business-led approaches to inclusion and diversity (I&D). And, with a special focus on inclusion, we highlight the areas where companies should take far bolder action to create a long-lasting inclusive culture and to promote inclusive behavior.
    (Our research predates the outbreak of the global pandemic, but we believe these findings remain highly relevant.)

    A stronger business case for diversity, but slow progress overall

    Our latest analysis reaffirms the strong business case for both gender diversity and ethnic and cultural diversity in corporate leadership—and shows that this business case continues to strengthen. The most diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers on profitability.
    Our 2019 analysis finds that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile—up from 21 percent in 2017 and 15 percent in 2014 (Exhibit 1).
    Exhibit 1

    Moreover, we found that the greater the representation, the higher the likelihood of outperformance. Companies with more than 30 percent women executives were more likely to outperform companies where this percentage ranged from 10 to 30, and in turn these companies were more likely to outperform those with even fewer women executives, or none at all. A substantial differential likelihood of outperformance—48 percent—separates the most from the least gender-diverse companies.
    In the case of ethnic and cultural diversity, our business-case findings are equally compelling: in 2019, top-quartile companies outperformed those in the fourth one by 36 percent in profitability, slightly up from 33 percent in 2017 and 35 percent in 2014. As we have previously found, the likelihood of outperformance continues to be higher for diversity in ethnicity than for gender.
    Yet progress, overall, has been slow. In the companies in our original 2014 data set, based in the United States and the United Kingdom, female representation on executive teams rose from 15 percent in 2014 to 20 percent in 2019. Across our global data set, for which our data starts in 2017, gender diversity moved up just one percentage point—to 15 percent, from 14—in 2019. More than a third of the companies in our data set still have no women at all on their executive teams. This lack of material progress is evident across all industries and in most countries. Similarly, the representation of ethnic-minorities on UK and US executive teams stood at only 13 percent in 2019, up from just 7 percent in 2014. For our global data set, this proportion was 14 percent in 2019, up from 12 percent in 2017 (Exhibit 2).
    Exhibit 2

    The widening gap between winners and laggards
    While overall progress on gender and cultural representation has been slow, this is not consistent across all organizations. Our research clearly shows that there is a widening gap between I&D leaders and companies that have yet to embrace diversity. A third of the companies we analyzed have achieved real gains in top-team diversity over the five-year period. But most have made little or no progress, and some have even gone backward.
    This growing polarization between high and low performers is reflected in an increased likelihood of a performance penalty. In 2019, fourth-quartile companies for gender diversity on executive teams were 19 percent more likely than companies in the other three quartiles to underperform on profitability—up from 15 percent in 2017 and 9 percent in 2015. At companies in the fourth quartile for both gender and ethnic diversity, the penalty was even steeper in 2019: they were 27 percent more likely to underperform on profitability than all other companies in our data set.
    We sought to understand how companies in our original 2014 data set have been progressing, and in doing so we identified five cohorts. These were based on their starting points and speed of progress on executive team gender representation and, separately, ethnic-minority representation (Exhibit 3). In the first two cohorts, Diversity Leaders and Fast Movers, diverse representation improved strongly over the past five years: for example, gender Fast Movers have almost quadrupled the representation of women on executive teams, to 27 percent, in 2019; for ethnicity, companies in the equivalent cohort have increased their level of diversity from just 1 percent in 2014 to 18 percent in 2019.
    Exhibit 3

    At the other end of the spectrum, the already poor diversity performance of the Laggards has declined further. In 2019, an average of 8 percent of executive team members at these companies were female—and they had no ethnic-minority representation at all. The two other cohorts are Moderate Movers, which have on average experienced a slower improvement in diversity, and Resting on Laurels, which started with higher levels of diversity than Laggards did, but have similarly become less diverse since 2014.
    We also found that the average likelihood of financial outperformance in these cohorts is consistent with our findings in the quartile analysis above. For example, in 2019, companies in the Resting on Laurels cohort on average had the highest likelihood of outperformance on profitability, at almost 62 percent—likely reflecting their historically high levels of diversity on executive teams. Laggards, on the other hand, are more likely to underperform their national industry median in profitability, at 40 percent.

    How inclusion matters

    By analyzing surveys and company research, we explored how different approaches to I&D could have shaped the trajectories of the companies in our data set. Our work suggested two critical factors: a systematic business-led approach to I&D, and bold action on inclusion. On the former we have previously advocated for an I&D approach based on a robust business case tailored to the needs of individual companies, evidenced-based targets, and core-business leadership accountability.
    To further understand how inclusion matters—and which aspects of it employees regard as significant—we conducted our first analysis of inclusion-related indicators. We conducted this outside-in using “social listening,” focusing on sentiment in employee reviews of their employers posted on US-based online platforms.
    While this approach is indicative, rather than conclusive, it could provide a more candid read on inclusion than internal employee-satisfaction surveys do—and makes it possible to analyze data across dozens of companies rapidly and simultaneously. We focused on three industries with the highest levels of executive-team diversity in our data set: financial servicestechnology, and healthcare. In these sectors, comments directly pertaining to I&D accounted for around one-third of total comments made, suggesting that this topic is high on employees’ minds.
    We analyzed comments relating to five indicators. The first two—diverse representation and leadership accountability for I&D—are evidence of a systematic approach to I&D. The other three—equality, openness, and belonging—are core components of inclusion. For several of these indicators, our findings suggest “pain points” in the experience of employees:
    While overall sentiment on diversity was 52 percent positive and 31 percent negative, sentiment on inclusion was markedly worse, at only 29 percent positive and 61 percent negative. This encapsulates the challenge that even the more diverse companies still face in tackling inclusion (Exhibit 4). Hiring diverse talent isn’t enough—it’s the workplace experience that shapes whether people remain and thrive.

    Opinions about leadership and accountability in I&D accounted for the highest number of mentions and were strongly negative. On average, across industries, 51 percent of the total mentions related to leadership, and 56 percent of those were negative. This finding underscores the increasingly recognized need for companies to improve their I&D engagement with core-business managers.

    For the three indicators of inclusion—equality, openness, and belonging—we found particularly high levels of negative sentiment about equality and fairness of opportunity. Negative sentiment about equality ranged from 63 to 80 percent across the industries analyzed. The work environment’s openness, which encompasses bias and discrimination, was also a significant concern—negative sentiment across industries ranged from 38 to 56 percent. Belonging elicited overall positive sentiment, but from a relatively small number of mentions.

    Exhibit 4

    These findings highlight the importance not just of inclusion overall but also of specific aspects of inclusion. Even relatively diverse companies face significant challenges in creating work environments characterized by inclusive leadership and accountability among managers, equality and fairness of opportunity, and openness and freedom from bias and discrimination.

    Winning through inclusion and diversity: Taking bold action

    We took a close look at our data set’s more diverse companies, which as we have seen are more likely to outperform financially. The common thread for these diversity leaders is a systematic approach and bold steps to strengthen inclusion. Drawing on best practices from these companies, this report highlights five areas of action (Exhibit 5):
    • Ensure the representation of diverse talent. This is still an essential driver of inclusion. Companies should focus on advancing diverse talent into executive, management, technical, and board roles. They should ensure that a robust I&D business case designed for individual companies is well accepted and think seriously about which forms of multivariate diversity to prioritize (for example, going beyond gender and ethnicity). They also need to set the right data-driven targets for the representation of diverse talent.
    • Strengthen leadership accountability and capabilities for I&D. Companies should place their core-business leaders and managers at the heart of the I&D effort—beyond the HR function or employee resource-group leaders. In addition, they should not only strengthen the inclusive-leadership capabilities of their managers and executives but also more emphatically hold all leaders to account for progress on I&D.
    • Enable equality of opportunity through fairness and transparency. To advance toward a true meritocracy, it is critical that companies ensure a level playing field in advancement and opportunity. They should deploy analytics tools to show that promotions, pay processes, and the criteria behind them, are transparent and fair; debias these processes; and strive to meet diversity targets in their long-term workforce plans.
    • Promote openness and tackle microaggressions. Companies should uphold a zero-tolerance policy for discriminatory behavior, such as bullying and harassment, and actively help managers and staff to identify and address microaggressions. They should also establish norms for open, welcoming behavior and ask leaders and employees to assess each other on how they are living up to that standard.
    • Foster belonging through unequivocal support for multivariate diversity. Companies should build a culture where all employees feel they can bring their whole selves to work. Managers should communicate and visibly embrace their commitment to multivariate forms of diversity, building a connection to a wide range of people and supporting employee resource groups to foster a sense of community and belonging. Companies should explicitly assess belonging in internal surveys.
    Exhibit 5

    About the author(s)
    Sundiatu Dixon-Fyle is a senior expert in McKinsey’s London office, where Vivian Hunt, DBE, is a senior partner; Kevin Dolan is a senior partner in the Chicago office; and Sara Prince is a partner in the Atlanta office.

    Linda Holroyd
    CEO, FountainBlue
    650-646-1117 text and cell


    Linda Holroyd

    Hello HR Leaders, it was great to include many of you in our May 15 launch program on the Change Curve topic. Our thanks again to Monica for the terrific informative and interactive presentation.
    I am making plans for our Friday, June 7 Front Line Managers' Online program, on the Conflict Resolution Best Practices topic. I'm considering conducting a panel on the topic, and would welcome your participation.
    If you would like to join this program and the community, please suggest a good time to connect over the phone Thursday afternoon or Friday morning.
    Meanwhile, below is a list of other topics which might be of interest for future meetings. Let me know if any of these topics are of interest to your front line managers and if you are willing to speak on any of these topics.
    Thanks and regards,


      Posted March 25, 2020 
    Management difficulties are like a tsunami that never ends. Every day I hear about it from managers at all levels. Successful managers learn to absorb the issues as nourishment, to build a high performance team. Others become swamped, panicked, and succumb to a never ending nightmare. Believe it or not, a manager’s destiny is a choice. Here are thirteen of the most persistent problems managers face and a few ideas on what to do. How managers engage their teams in these situations determines if she or he transforms into an authentic leader.
    In tough times (like the coronavirus crisis) a leader needs to wear two hats. First, be compassionate and empathetic. These are skill of the heart. These means engaging their team positively. Second, at the same time leaders need a backbone of steel. For example, they have to make hard decisions and choices. While they care about the team, they don’t let emotions dictate what they do. During a crisis it is important to over communicate. Difficulties breed fear, worry and doubt in people. Be a good listener, ask for input and then take a course of action. Above of all, this balanced approach will help a leader maintain an authentic and sensitive approach that ensures the trust of the team.
    With budget cutbacks, Sue now manages one hundred people in her nursing department at a hospital in a major city. Her anxiety grows from the avalanche of multiple issues and responsibilities. With no help coming in the near future, her solution in a difficult situation has been to empower the team to make decisions and focus on the highest priority problems. Her dilemma showcases the troubles of many managers. They are overwhelmed with things to do and not enough time or people to get it all done effectively.
    Managers are paid to move the needle and achieve department goals. I have been amazed at how many struggle with executing company strategy or department initiatives. Many times it’s an ambiguity issue of what’s expected. At one company it took 2 1/2 hours with twenty-one managers to clarify the Senior VP’s stated and written goal. Equally problematic is the lack of training and coaching so the team is competent and committed enough to give their best while striving to achieve the goals.
    I facilitated a meeting in my office with fifteen senior human resource executives. We talked about many issues including how managers handle performance issues. The group unanimously agreed that most leaders put off negative feedback. The typical scenario plays out this way:
    The manager sets up a meeting with HR and asks for help to fire an employee. The HR rep asks the manager what intervention has been done with the employee. Most of the time the managers say, “Nothing, yet.”
    Through training, study, and mentoring, almost any manager can learn how to give negative (and positive) feedback seamlessly in their daily communication or engagement with employees. Proactive managers learn to do this to inspire their teams. Reactive managers just push to get the tasks done. See this post for ideas, How to Give Feedback When You Are the Leader.
    Giving negative feedback is related to this. All employees do some things right and others wrong. No one is perfect. Leadership is a high contact sport.  In this high tech age, managers have to engage their team’s one on one.
    This requires coaching effectively and regularly to reinforce good performance and redirect poorer performance. If done correctly it becomes a matter of course, not a big “to do” or a nightmare at performance review time. Few managers want to do this and say they don’t have time. I say they don’t have time not to do it or all of the problems cited here become mountains, not molehills. See this post for ideas, 3 Ways to Handle Poor Performance. 
    Interpersonal conflict on a team in the workplace is inevitable. Most people aren’t bad or screw offs; they just have behavior problems at times.
    Handling conflict constructively is an emotional intelligence skill.  It involves communicating directly, honestly and with empathy. Consequently, top managers invite conflict but learn how to facilitate it so improvement is reached. Numerous manages avoid conflict so it festers and becomes a poison.
    Terminations cause headaches for far too many managers. When an employee fails, the manager fails. With a litigious society all managers need to learn to fire appropriately. Communicate with your boss and HR to ensure it is done right. See my post, The Hardest Thing a Leader will Do, for a few ideas.
    My research shows 80% of performance issues are due to the lack of clarifying expectations and goals. Unfortunately, too many managers waaaaaaaait. They wait for the boss, and this lack of interaction produces misunderstanding, insecurity and doubt in employees and leaders.
    All managers have to communicate upward today. With the speed of change, data driven decisions, and business intelligence, they have to be proactive. Failing that, they get into trouble for not knowing, even if it wasn’t their fault.
    Employee turnover causes lower morale and employee productivity. Losing key people accelerates this. Managers often neglect their top people and continually add to their workloads. Instead, they need to over-communicate, be good listeners, coach regularly, clear out obstacles and give them recognition.
    Recently I was in the Midwest on a coaching assignment. The District Manager couldn’t meet up with me the second day because of problems at another location. There were emergency issues between office operations and merchandising. This happened at a busy time and really should never have occurred. Yet, concerns like this happen every day for most managers, and it wears them out.
    Planning, coaching and preparation can help minimize these incidents. More importantly, is how these situations are handled. Managers need to learn in these type problems to create a solution with the team, execute it while simultaneously building up the team, and improve their capability for the next difficulty. It isn’t easy but it is doable over time.
    Research demonstrates that only 10% of executives are confident in their team’s ability to implement their plans. A key to victory is capturing the hearts and minds of the team to execute the plan successfully. Most managers just want to get on with it and act. While that is admirable, they must to do three things first or generate unnecessary resistance and messy mistakes:
    • Ask the team for their ideas, input and concerns when creating a plan
    • Prepare the team to execute these effectively
    • Determine how to measure, adjust and reinforce that plan in process
    On a client phone conference a HR executive proudly said, “We have 100 new initiatives.”  Think about it, that’s a ridiculous number.  Success requires focus. This is why Kotter, the leading guru on change, says that over 70% of change plans fail. Leaders don’t do what is mentioned in the previous point, and they fail to communicate. What happens instead?
    • Inconsistent execution.
    • Resistance to change.
    • Lack of understanding related to the plan.
    • Sabotage to the plan.
    • Alternative variations of the plan being followed.
    • Chaos and conflict in many cases.
    Furthermore, this ends up in low morale, sagging productivity, poorer customer service and rising costs. See this eBook for ideas, Changing Change Management.
    Far too many managers are burned out or stressed out. The avalanche of issues continues every day with little upper management support. No wonder reports say 50-70% of managers fail today. Managers come in early, stay late and take work home. Unfortunately, there is little real work/life balance. Maybe the biggest problem facing managers is self care. so they can do their best work, stay sane and healthy.
    Most managers need alone time at work and at home. They need more training. They need support that a competent coach would give them. Unfortunately, the demands of most jobs seldom allow time for this or provide these opportunities. I say to all managers: seek out the help if your organization provides it. If not, get it from your network. See these stress management tips from the Mayo Clinic.
    Bottom-line, managers today are under supported, over tasked and failing. It is killing employee engagement, teamwork, customer service and productivity. This isn’t going to change any time soon. Successful managers learn to operate effectively in spite of the deluge of problems. It does take a commitment to become better at leading people, managing priorities, coaching and problem-solving. This means ongoing preparation with time dedicated specifically to this, like an athlete training for the Olympics.  Quick meetings in a hallway or reading an article while in the washroom are not enough.
    How a manager prepares for the leadership difficulties that surround the job is ultimately more important in determining destiny than the issues themselves. Businessman Arnold Glasow said, “One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.”  In summary, Will Rogers declared, “In time of crisis people want to know that you care, more than they care what you know.”   
    Also, for an in-depth complimentary success assessment and action plan, see this: Success Practices.
    Finally, do you want to accelerate your management career? Check out Rick’s Superstar Leadership book.
    Rick Conlow is the CEO & Founder of Rick Conlow International, a consulting, training and coaching firm. He has helped over 200 companies such as Target, Costco, Andersen Windows, Spectrum, Northern Power, Meijer, Carpet King, International Truck, John Deere, Lowes Financial, and Canadian Linen improve customer loyalty, increase sales and add profits. Rick has been a general manager, vice president, training director, program director, and national sales trainer. He has authored 22 books, and regularly speaks at conferences and to audiences of all sizes.

    Linda Holroyd
    CEO, FountainBlue
    650-646-1117 text and cell

    Front Line Managers' Online Meeting Follow-up: Change Curve

    Linda Holroyd

    Below are notes from this afternoon's Front Line Managers' Online meeting. 
    Thank you again to Monica for giving a great presentation and sharing her slides - which are available on the site.
    Have a good weekend everyone!

    Everyone, thank you for joining this afternoon's Front Line Managers' Online meeting. Special thanks to Monica Kaldani-Nasif for her presentation on the Change Curve and sharing the attached slides.
    My thanks also to each of you for your attendance and participation. Please see the notes below from the conversation.

    Best Practices for managing through change:
    • Be a trustworthy and authentic leader.
    • Be positive and proactive. Accept mistakes and learn with every experience.
    • Use open-ended questions to get your staff to open up.
    • Leverage technology to facilitate communication and connection.
    • Give permission to everyone to be human during this difficult time.
    • Invite everyone to be fully present and accepting of themselves and others.
    • Sometimes people who naturally lean toward action need to feel and experience things first.
    • Spell out what you're looking for, and reward for the results you're seeking.
    • Be transparent, direct and clear in your communications.
    • Never use absolutes - nobody can see the future.
    • Budget time on your calendar to ensure that you take care of yourself. Fold in activities outside work and home responsibilities. 
    Thoughts on how to thoughtfully re-board workers:
    • Create multi-disciplinary teams to plan-fully reopen for business in stages, being cognizant of the safety and well-being of all.
    • Continue to practice social distancing, PPE usage, temperature checks, workstation updates, etc.,
    • Return in phases, in stages.
    In conclusion, we agreed that the Next Normal will be significantly different and challenging, so we need to make the physical and emotional shifts and transitions to support each other. But with every change comes opportunity.
    • We continue to learn to be more focused, more nimble, more resourceful, leveraging technology to solve problems which arise from social distancing.
    • We have the opportunity to communicate and relate at a deeper level, to be more empathetic, more human.
    • We have the opportunity to share learnings, to better collaborate, to raise the bar for each other, and for the greater good.
    Your thoughts and input is welcome. We hope to include you in the next program scheduled for Friday, July 7 from noon - 1 p.m., on the topic of conflict management strategies. 

    Linda Holroyd
    CEO, FountainBlue
    650-646-1117 text and cell

    McKinsey May 2020: Reimagining the post-pandemic organization

    Linda Holroyd

    Great to see some of you at this morning's Masterminds meeting. 
    See HR leaders for our noon - 1 p.m. meeting online on the Change Curve topic.
    I thought this article was timely for both groups. The chart is particularly helpful.

    McKinsey Quarterly
    Reimagining the post-pandemic organization
    May 15, 2020 | Article

    The organization of the future is taking shape in the moves that companies are making now. Here’s what’s changing—and why some companies say they won’t go back. 

    It’s said that the worst of times brings out the best in people; as it happens, this is true of organizations as well. All over the world, companies are being challenged by the COVID-19 crisis to find new ways to serve their customers and communities. Many are rising to the occasion. Almost every leader we speak with has an inspiring story of radical, positive change in how work gets done and what it can accomplish. Here are a few examples:
    • A fast-food chain that had to shutter its operations avoided layoffs by partnering with a health and wellness retailer, thus helping the retailer meet spiking demand in a newly designated “essential business.”
    • One large retailer dusted off a pre-pandemic initiative to launch a curbside-delivery business. The work plan said 18 months. When the lockdowns hit, it went operational in two days.
    • A financial-services company transitioned more than 1,000 of its global operations staff to work-from-home arrangements, equipping them with new technology within 72 hours to ensure business continuity.
    • A retail conglomerate in the Middle East retrained 1,000 people in two days, redeploying them from a suddenly stagnant business (movie theaters) to a booming, critical one (grocery retailing).
    Of course, some of these outcomes might simply be from “organizational adrenaline”—heroic efforts that are unsustainable. We know that many people are working harder than ever and risk suffering fatigue and burnout. However, we also see signs that the opposite is happening. Amid the fear and uncertainty, people are energized as companies make good on purpose statements, eliminate bureaucracy, empower previously untested leaders with big responsibilities, and “turbocharge” decision making. As one executive we spoke with observes: “Our senior team meets every morning for 30 minutes. It’s incredibly productive. We make decisions and go. We don’t have full information, but that’s OK—we can’t afford not to move.”
    The subtext of comments such as these is a recognition of previous dissatisfaction. Organizations felt too bureaucratic, too insular, too inflexible, too slow, too complicated, and often more focused on profit than on people.
    The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic shock have changed none of these things and, at the same time, have changed everything. Inertia is clearly riskier than action right now, so companies are mobilizing to address the immediate threat in ways they may have struggled to when taking on more abstract challenges, such as digital technology, automation, and artificial intelligence (all of which still loom). Bold experiments and new ways of working are now everyone’s business. Will the new mindsets become behaviors that stick? We don’t know. Did it take a pandemic for organizations to focus on change that matters? Too soon to say. Still, as one leader we spoke with puts it, “How can we ever tell ourselves again that we can’t be faster? We have proved that we can. We’re not going back.”

    If that’s so, how can leaders accelerate their companies’ journeys toward becoming not only faster but also better for customers, employees, and society at large? In this article, we look at three mutually reinforcing areas (exhibit) that together provide glimpses into what a post-pandemic organization could look like. They are management imperatives in “normal” times. Right now, they are test beds for intense experimentation and soul searching, as they get to the core questions that organizations must always seek to answer for themselves: 
    • Who are we? 
    • How do we operate? 
    • How will we grow?
    Who are we?
    The speed of the pandemic surprised everyone. So, too, did the fast reflexes of some companies: even their own leaders were shocked at how quickly colleagues stepped up, made dramatic changes, and began performing at new levels. Fear for corporate survival surely played a part, but our conversations with global leaders suggest that stronger motivations were a clear sense of corporate identity and a desire to simply be there for customers and for one another. More love than fear, in other words. How do you know if you’re in such an organization? Simply put, you know who you are and what you stand for as a company; this becomes a “North Star” that guides people in times of chaos and uncertainty. You know why and how your company is different from any other: why it exists, how it creates value, and “how we run the place.”
    Take a stand on purpose
    Do CEOs even have time to consider corporate purpose these days? For some, the answer is a quiet no; the urgency of the moment makes it easy to overlook pre-crisis commitments to things beyond making money. This is a mistake. Employees, customers, suppliers, and communities are watching—and will have long memories. If the pandemic is teaching us anything, it’s that people and organizations are interconnected and responsible to one another and to society in ways beyond short-term earnings. David Craig, CEO of Refinitiv, a provider of financial-market data and infrastructure,1 puts it this way: “What will matter is whether you actually took actions to take care of [employees’] health, not whether you just said you care.” 

    Alain Bejjani, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim (MAF)—a Dubai-based conglomerate that includes shopping malls and retail, leisure, and entertainment businesses—cautions against nearsightedness when it comes to purpose. “Some organizations,” he notes, “have traded their long-term sustainability for short-term outcomes. When a crisis such as COVID-19 strikes, if you have a strong culture and a shared sense of purpose that your leaders role model every day, you can weather the storm better than most.”
    Bejjani goes on to describe MAF’s vision of “creating great moments for everyone, every day” as “the embodiment of a social contract we have with our employees—not only our customers” and a key part of the company’s commitment not to lay off employees or cut salaries during the crisis. Bejjani links MAF’s commitment to employees to the Napoleonic legal construct of affectio societatis—the willingness to be together. “What underlies the ‘yes’ is a ‘no,’” Bejjani says. “This is totally voidable by either party. It is like a marriage in this way. A company is not a company unless it is underpinned by this desire to be together.”

    David Schwimmer, CEO of London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), describes the importance of serving small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in terms of purpose, not profit: “We’ve spent a lot of energy over the years being supportive of the SME sector through our various platforms. For us, that has always been about having a social value as opposed to generating financial value for [the group]. It’s an important part of what we do for the broader economies in which we operate. Especially now.”

    As the comments of these CEOs suggest, it’s “put up or shut up” time. Defining purpose in slogans and statements is the easy part. What makes purpose real is following through on its implications and letting it guide the choices you make.

    Reimagine value creation

    Inside the videoconferences that pass for C-suites these days, the economic effects of the pandemic are revealing the extent to which leadership teams knew precisely why, where, and how their organizations created value all along. Many don’t like what they’re learning.
    Choosing strategic responses and priorities is hard enough right now, and it is significantly harder for companies that lack crystallized value agendas that would help them get beyond the overall numbers to zero in on precise actions and opportunities to shift resources effectively. By contrast, companies that have such a view are more likely to be able to pivot operations and reallocate resources swiftly—attributes that will only become more important as a new competitive landscape emerges from the seismic economic shockwaves we’re experiencing now.
    • Reallocation means shifting human capital, not just money. MAF, for instance, had already been keenly aware of the potential for value disruption in its cinema business, given the rise of streaming services. When demand for movies flatlined because of COVID-19-related lockdowns, the company moved fast. In two days, it reskilled and redeployed more than 1,000 employees from its cinema and shopping-mall units to the grocery-retailing business, in which demand was soaring. The company’s clear sense of how it could preserve value for itself and create it for customers helped it quickly take decisive action, consistent with its purpose.
    Similarly, Refinitiv saw how it would have to make better use of data quickly to continue providing value to its customers. Over a weekend, company leaders met virtually to distill the value-creation agenda to a handful of priorities expressed on a single sheet of paper—giving clear direction to its employees about how to support customers through the pandemic. This move had implications for how the company organized its responses, as we describe later.

    Get intentional about your culture

    One simple yet telling exercise we’ve conducted with senior executives goes like this: take scraps of paper and copy down half a dozen corporate statements about culture, lightly anonymize them to remove obvious mentions of products or markets, and then see who can pick their own company’s statement from the pile. The result is often humorous, revealing the extent to which companies “talk a good game” about culture, often using precisely the same language.
    No one’s laughing now. Organizational culture may seem invisible during prosperous times, but in moments of crisis, its presence can be seen clearly in the collective behaviors that either help a company pull together and get things done or lead to inertia, confusion, and even mistrust.
    Rodney O. Martin Jr., chairman and CEO of Voya Financial, describes seeing the benefits of a performance culture firsthand during the earliest, most bewildering days of the current crisis. He recounts how middle managers at the company announced its new work-from-home guidelines and encouraged their teams to feel comfortable making the shift—right away, if they chose. The decision came from people who would normally never make it, and it arrived without hand-wringing. But it wasn’t a surprise to Martin. It was in keeping with a cultural value the company had intentionally prioritized: caring for one another. “People here do the right thing,” Martin says. “The message has very much been ‘we care about you.’”

    Every successful, high-performing culture has its own unique behavioral recipe for how it runs the place. Still, there are observable patterns, combinations of practices, that companies can use to accelerate performance. Voya Financial’s example suggests that one particularly important management practice right now is striking the appropriate balance between supportive and challenging leadership, as this encourages people to step up and lead in new ways. Another is personal ownership, which takes root when conversations within organizations shift from “I’ll give you the task; you manage the internal processes to get it done; and I’ll challenge you to do better” to “you own the outcome; you do what it takes to make a real difference; and I’ll support you in taking calibrated risks.”

    How do we operate?

    The coronavirus pandemic has motivated many companies to amplify and accelerate the small, fringe experiments that were often previously confined to digital and analytics teams. It’s no wonder why. Over the past few months, normal approaches to serving customers, working with suppliers, and collaborating with colleagues—or just getting anything done—all failed. As companies adopt new ways of working at speed and at scale, three lessons are emerging: a vindication for flatter, faster, nonhierarchical structures and approaches; the need to turbocharge decision making; and a reminder of the role of talent in making everything go.

    Move beyond a ‘hierarchy of bosses’

    At heart, the move to more agile working structures has always been about two things. The first is encouraging a high degree of autonomy for people close to the edges of the organization (those closest to customers, partners, and communities) to make decisions, innovate, and get things done. The second is getting a high degree of alignment across groups so that the right things get done in the first place. What’s always stood in the way of these aims is a reflexive, single-minded adherence to hierarchy in its many guises—for example, org charts, solid- and dotted-line reporting, and spans of control.
    Companies that view hierarchy as the only way to map and structure formal relationships—or, indeed, the only way to get things done—are finding the current environment paralyzing. As the normal chain of command gets bogged down and overtaken by events, people start to pull in multiple directions, or they stop pulling. During crisis situations, we have observed alarming delays in communicating with customers, suppliers, or employees exacerbated by hierarchy and the sense that “it must be someone else’s job.”
    Signs of other, more flexible ways to structure an organization can be seen in the agile and helix-like structures that companies were experimenting with before the crisis, as well as the war rooms, nerve centers, and other rapid-response units that companies stood up in its early days, many of which remain in action. The most successful of these mixed people from different groups and empowered them to set priorities, make fast decisions, and then implement them. Traditional companies that had eschewed agile approaches are now using them out of necessity. 

    The smartest companies will find ways to keep doing so when the crisis passes.
    Indeed, we’ve seen some nerve centers already evolve into cross-functional networks of teams to help tackle the array of challenges that companies are addressing. The teams operate outside the hierarchy but stay connected to leadership via a central hub. They are small, quick to form, and equally quick to dissolve when needs change. Importantly, they are self-managing and empowered to make decisions and innovate.
    At Refinitiv, for example, the realization quickly took hold that normal indicators for economic activity weren’t reliable or had simply gone dark. “Someone called it an ‘infodemic,’ and they’re right,” notes David Craig. “And we see our role as a trusted data provider that can be relied upon for information through the crisis.”
    Companies that view hierarchy as the only way to map and structure formal relationships—or, indeed, the only way to get things done—are finding the current environment paralyzing.
    To respond, the company formed a data-insights team to help “get data on data” and provide direction. Drawing upon people from different functions, the team quickly began analyzing new data sources that could serve as proxies for economic activity—everything from road-traffic volume and public-transportation use to geospatial satellite data that’s normally used to monitor environmental conditions. Increased cloud-data consumption, for example, signaled that small hedge funds were resuming operations. The team shared its insights with company executives daily or, in some cases, every few hours to give management a real-time view.
    Among the most significant lessons CEOs can take from these approaches is that the benefits of flatter organizations—speed, flexibility, productivity, and empowerment—derive organically from acting flatter, not just moving boxes and lines to appear flatter in principle. When a company’s “hierarchy of bosses” becomes less important than other, more flexible structures, a flatter organization naturally emerges.

    Turbocharge decision making

    As uncomfortable as it feels, leaders are finding that they can make decisions faster than they thought possible—and with imperfect information. The aha moment for some executives is the realization that when urgency and uncertainty collide, the time spent waiting to decide is a decision in itself.
    Looking ahead to a post-pandemic world (in which fast will still beat slow), how can companies make sure their decisions are truly better than before? Start by understanding the types of decisions you make and what practices matter for each type. Many routine decisions that used to bubble up the chain of command are rightly happening at the edges of the organization today out of necessity. Keep them there. Other decisions, meanwhile, can only be made by a smaller, more senior team.
    David Schwimmer describes what this looked like at LSEG during the early days of the pandemic. “Our [original] crisis-management team is a large team that covers many constituencies. We realized that, for some key decisions, there were issues being raised that this group had not dealt with before. [So] we pulled the right people into a very small group and made some of these decisions very quickly, and I think that while it was somewhat ad hoc, it was also very effective.” Schwimmer also notes the value of having honest debate around big decisions, observing that “in a couple circumstances where there was disagreement, we had a robust, healthy discussion . . . then we made a decision, and everyone lined up behind it to move forward with a sense of unity.”
    For big-bet decisions, this form of constructive conflict was vital before the crisis. It, along with other proven decision-making approaches that favor empowerment and speed, will remain so afterward.

    Treat talent as your scarcest resource

    It may seem counterintuitive to highlight the urgency of viewing human capital as scarce right now, as unemployment rates climb. The economic pain caused by COVID-19 could affect hundreds of millions of workers. Why should CEOs pay more attention to talent right now? Because forward-looking companies know that everything else—such as technology, access to raw materials, intellectual property, and customer relationships—is fleeting and the only sustainable advantage is rooted in harnessing the passion, skills, capabilities, judgment, and creativity that people bring to work.
    “With people, we can rebuild,” says MAF’s Alain Bejjani. “The easiest things to slash for most organizations are people. In our case, we’re clear that people are our most precious asset.” The underlying principle behind such views is that a leader’s most fundamental tasks are to organize, lead, and inspire a collection of people to do something bigger and better than any other combination of people can do. This means getting the right people in the right roles to create value, and this is too important to leave to chance.
    Talent should underpin every strategic choice and other business decision you’re making right now. Companies that overlook the importance of their people will always miss the upside potential of what their colleagues might have been capable of. They will fail to capitalize on the opportunities that inevitably arise from this or any other economic shock.
    One such opportunity will be increased access to new talent pools as a result of remote working. “Being able to tap into global talent has always been a challenge for us in [the Middle East] because people have to relocate,” says Bejjani. “The crisis will change that. In the coming 12 to 24 months and beyond, we’ll be hiring people from Scotland or Maine or Tokyo—and they won’t have to relocate. This was an alien idea before, and while it won’t happen right away, it will happen.”

    Another opportunity: some companies are identifying which roles matter most and elevating and empowering the leaders in those roles to make decisions, including important decisions that affect customers. Some of the leaders are in the C-suite, but the majority are a few levels below, running operations or engaging the front line. Their experience of leadership during the current crisis will pay dividends far into the future. The greatest “unlock” in analytics transformations before the crisis involved empowering new leaders—often customer-facing employees—with the skills, data, and technology they needed to engage with customers in new ways. Companies developing these muscles now will have a running start.

    None of this will happen, of course, if leaders don’t step up now and connect meaningfully with their people. Leading with awareness, vulnerability, empathy, and compassion is vital to help your teams weather the crisis and can help set the stage for recovery.

    How will we grow?

    Inevitably, the current crisis will recede. No one can say when this will happen, what form the recovery will take, or whom it will favor. We only know it cannot come soon enough, given the damage that COVID-19 is doing to the lives and livelihoods of so many people.
    Three additional organizational characteristics, all of which are proven sources of resilience, are worth noting briefly here because even though the future remains unknowable, it’s a sure bet that resilience will still matter:
    The COVID-19 crisis has jolted leaders and organizations into action, accelerating trends that were already in play and triggering new ones. Amid the terrible human toll of the pandemic, some organizations are finding that, by working differently, they can rise to the occasion and help their employees, customers, and even their communities. While no one can predict when or how the pandemic will end, the lessons these companies are learning as they organize for the future will give them clear advantages as the next normal takes shape.
    The authors wish to thank Elizabeth Mygatt for her contributions to this article.
    • Adopt an ecosystem mindset. All companies rely on the support of an extensive network of external people, vendors, and partners—all working together to create value. The most successful companies take this to an entirely different level, at which partnerships are more like extensions of themselves. They take bigger risks together, think about value-creation opportunities together, and establish much deeper bonds of trust.2 Companies that have these sorts of relationships are relying on them now for talent, know-how, and data to help fill gaps. Other companies are experiencing a rude awakening as so-called strategic partners become distant and transactional just when their help is needed most.
    • Embrace data-rich technology platforms. The crisis is reminding companies of the importance of using facts and insights to drive decision making. Yet many companies lack a “single source of truth” when it comes to data, or they don’t have ecosystem partners that can help them look at problems from multiple vantage points. Instead, some organizations face the unenviable task of connecting complex processes and mining data trapped in antiquated data systems. A step-change improvement is needed. The ability to gather, organize, interpret, and act on data and analytics will be the defining competitive differentiator of our lifetimes. Companies that embrace it will have an edge.
    • Learn how to learn. The working world after the pandemic will be different, companies will be different, and many of your people will themselves be different as a result of their experiences during the crisis. Organizations that equip their employees with the metaskill of learning how to learn, adapt, and change quickly will be better able to thrive and succeed—and very few are good at it today. As companies emerge from the shadow of the crisis, they will have a golden opportunity to reimagine every single aspect of how they learn, including the use of online learning as a catalyst. They should seize it with both hands.
    The COVID-19 crisis has jolted leaders and organizations into action, accelerating trends that were already in play and triggering new ones. Amid the terrible human toll of the pandemic, some organizations are finding that, by working differently, they can rise to the occasion and help their employees, customers, and even their communities. While no one can predict when or how the pandemic will end, the lessons these companies are learning as they organize for the future will give them clear advantages as the next normal takes shape.

    The authors wish to thank Elizabeth Mygatt for her contributions to this article.

    Linda Holroyd
    CEO, FountainBlue
    650-646-1117 text and cell

    CDC Guidance for Reopening

    Linda Holroyd

    The CDC Guidance for Reopening was due for release last Friday. It was blocked by the current administration. Perhaps it's helpful to you.

    Linda Holroyd
    CEO, FountainBlue
    650-646-1117 text and cell

    Moral Foundations Theory

    Linda Holroyd

    Everyone, as there's so much change going on, as we all grapple with what's right, what's next, who's where…
    I thought I'd send out this wikipedia article on the moral foundations theory.

    The five foundations 

    According to Moral Foundations Theory, differences in people's moral concerns can be described in terms of five moral foundations:
    • Care: cherishing and protecting others; opposite of harm
    • Fairness or proportionality: rendering justice according to shared rules; opposite of cheating
    • Loyalty or ingroup: standing with your group, family, nation; opposite of betrayal
    • Authority or respect: submitting to tradition and legitimate authority; opposite of subversion
    • Sanctity or purity: abhorrence for disgusting things, foods, actions; opposite of degradation
    These five foundations are argued to group into two higher-order clusters – the person-focused Individualizing cluster of Care and Fairness, and the group-focused Binding cluster of Loyalty, Authority and Sanctity.[16][17] The empirical evidence favoring this grouping comes from patterns of associations between the moral foundations observed with the Moral Foundations Questionnaire.[16][7]
    A sixth foundation, liberty (opposite of oppression) was theorized by Jonathan Haidt in The Righteous Mind,[4] chapter eight, in response to the need to differentiate between proportionality fairness and the objections he had received from conservatives and libertarians (United States usage) to coercion by a dominating power or person.[5] Haidt noted that the latter group's moral matrix relies almost entirely on the liberty foundation.

    Linda Holroyd
    CEO, FountainBlue
    650-646-1117 text and cell

    Beyond 'Illegal' Interview Questions: What Hiring Managers Need to Know About EEO Compliance

    Linda Holroyd

    FYI, in case this program is of interest to you.

    Live Webinar

    To view this email as a web page, Click Here.

    60 Mins Live Webinar
    Beyond 'Illegal' Interview Questions: What Hiring Managers Need to Know About EEO Compliance

    Overview of the webinar:

    This webinar will provide people involved in all aspects of the hiring process with a comprehensive overview of key facts about protected characteristics to screen applicants, conduct interviews and make hiring decisions in a manner that is compliant with all U.S. equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws and regulations. Read More.

    What you'll learn?

    • Why a list of 'illegal interview questions' to avoid is not sufficient
    • What the protected characteristics are and why they are off-limits during the hiring process
    • Common hiring process mistakes (to avoid) related to protected characteristics
    • Examples of less-than-obvious off-limits topics based on real-world situations
    • Best practices to avoid EEO-related risks and liability related to the hiring process Read More.

    Who will benefit:

    • Recruiter
    • Talent Acquisition
    • Staffing specialist
    • Human Resources Specialist
    • Human Resources Coordinator
    • Human Resources Business Partner Read More.


    Wednesday, May 20, 2020

    10:00 AM PDT
    01:00 PM EDT

    Mary G White, is a talent development expert and dynamic, speaker, trainer, and facilitator with expertise in leadership, management, people development, team building, communication & HR best practices. Read More.

    Related Topic:

    Employee Handbooks: Critical Issues for 2020
    Friday, May 22, 2020 || 10:00 AM PDT | 01:00 PM EDT

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    This message was sent by : Proforte INC.
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    Linda Holroyd
    CEO, FountainBlue
    650-646-1117 text and cell

    Re: The best, safest face mask we could find is made by this MIT-founded

    Linda Holroyd

    FYI, in case you're looking for face mask recommendations for your workers returning to work…
    • 05-05-20
    Looking for a mask? Ministry of Supply has a Nelson Labs-certified filtrating mask that puts your cotton bandanna to shame.
    As restrictions begin to loosen in the coming weeks, getting “back out there” is going to look a little different. Companies including Uber and JetBlue are requiring masks for all passengers, while places like Washington, D.C., and L.A. have mandated wearing them in grocery stores. That’s not to mention city- and statewide ordinances that mandate that anyone who is outside—for any reason—must wear a mask. Plus, it’s the CDC’s official recommendation. While homemade bandanna and T-shirt masks were great in a pinch (and technically pass regulations), we’re betting you and health experts would both prefer something robust as the world reopens. And while some masks made by fashion and shoe companies are very stylish, it’s hard to tell what’s actually effective from what’s just aesthetic.
    Enter MIT-founded fashion brand Ministry of Supply, which has built a mask with informed choices in material, design, and filtration. It was initially developed for frontline workers, but in light of recent CDC recommendations, MoS has also made it available for consumer purchase. The Maskº ($50) is 3D printed to make for extremely efficient production times (each takes less than nine minutes to weave). Made of a viscose and polyester blend, it’s machine washable, and the hygroscopic material pulls moisture to the core of the fiber, making it soft, breathable, and dry after even hours of wear. Because it’s 3D printed, MoS was able to quickly iterate new prototypes in hours and test the shape and texture of different fabrics, meaning the resulting mask is a great fit and very comfortable—which is important if you don’t want people constantly touching their face to adjust. (Note: This is a non-medical mask—not an N95 or surgical mask—and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19.)
    [Photo: courtesy Ministry of Supply]While the Maskº can be worn without a filter for consumer use, it comes with a set of tested filters that are Nelson Labs certified, which were developed in counsel with MoS’s healthcare advisers at the MIT spinout MakerHealth. To get nerdy about it, each melt-blown polypropylene filter boasts a higher than 95% Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE) rate and a 95% Particulate Filtration Efficiency (PFE) measurement at 0.1 microns. Translation: It stops a high percentage of droplets and particles from getting in or out. And to address the problem of ill-fitting masks, Ministry of Supply separated the production of the mask frame (which determines the fit and comfort of the mask) from the filter. This two-part structure allows the brand to use special production techniques (i.e., 3D-print knitting and die-cutting) to create the mask frame, and work on the filter technology separately, resulting in a better-fitting and more effective mask.
    The Maskº comes in seven different colors (if that matters to you) and the starter Maskº Kit comes with 10 filters—which are recommended for only eight hours of use a piece. You can buy refill 10-packs of additional filters ($20) after you use your first batch. There’s also a give-back element: Ministry of Supply will donate a mask to frontline healthcare workers for each kit purchased. If you want to donate more, there’s an option to make a purchase for donations exclusively on the MoS website.
    Ordering for a partner or your family? Currently, if you purchase two Maskº Kits, you can receive a third for free. All you have to do is add three Maskº Kits to your cart to receive the promotion.

    Re: Covid-19: Re-Occupying The Workplace & The New


    So helpful, thank you!


    From: [] On Behalf Of Linda Holroyd
    Sent: Wednesday, April 29, 2020 11:13 AM
    Subject: [Special] [FountainBlue-HRLeaders] Covid-19: Re-Occupying The Workplace & The New


    CAUTION: This email originated from outside of the organization. Do not click links or open attachments unless you recognize the sender and know the content is safe.


    FYI, perhaps you can adapt this survey to your own needs, so that you can evaluate how your team members will best work from home once the shelter in place restrictions are lifted or loosened.

    Please contact Ben if you should have any questions.




    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Stern, Ben <Ben.Stern@...>
    Date: Apr 29, 2020, 10:42 AM
    Subject: QUESTIONNAIRE INCLUDED - Covid-19: Re-Occupying The Workplace & The New Normal


    Good Morning,



    Included in the following link MATERIALS & DECK PRESENTED  and attached you will find the employee questionnaire referenced during our call.  This questionnaire is to be distributed to your workforce to determine who can continue to work from home successfully.  The intention is for a score to be issued after your employees take the survey.  The score will provide insights into the employees’ ability to continue to work from home.  The approach we use is to have the managers sit down and review the scores with three considerations:


    1. Do I need this individual to be in the office, ie. critical task that can only be done in the office, etc.?
    2. Is this individual having difficulty working from home or performing assigned tasks?
    3. Does this individual need to work from the office because of their home working situation is impacting their productivity?


    The following is a test link to give you an example of how an administered survey looks.  If you need the support on issuing the survey to your teams, please contact me.



    Good luck!





    Ben Stern
    Vice Chairman


    O  650.688.8509  

    M  650.996.1484


    CA RE LIC #01365215

    Covid-19: Re-Occupying The Workplace & The New

    Linda Holroyd

    FYI, perhaps you can adapt this survey to your own needs, so that you can evaluate how your team members will best work from home once the shelter in place restrictions are lifted or loosened.
    Please contact Ben if you should have any questions.
    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Stern, Ben <Ben.Stern@...>
    Date: Apr 29, 2020, 10:42 AM
    Subject: QUESTIONNAIRE INCLUDED - Covid-19: Re-Occupying The Workplace & The New Normal

    Good Morning,

    Included in the following link MATERIALS & DECK PRESENTED  and attached you will find the employee questionnaire referenced during our call.  This questionnaire is to be distributed to your workforce to determine who can continue to work from home successfully.  The intention is for a score to be issued after your employees take the survey.  The score will provide insights into the employees’ ability to continue to work from home.  The approach we use is to have the managers sit down and review the scores with three considerations:


    1. Do I need this individual to be in the office, ie. critical task that can only be done in the office, etc.?
    2. Is this individual having difficulty working from home or performing assigned tasks?
    3. Does this individual need to work from the office because of their home working situation is impacting their productivity?


    The following is a test link to give you an example of how an administered survey looks.  If you need the support on issuing the survey to your teams, please contact me.



    Good luck!





    Ben Stern
    Vice Chairman


    O  650.688.8509  

    M  650.996.1484


    CA RE LIC #01365215

    Reminder - COVID-19 and the Global Economy begins in 2 hours - April 28, 2020 at 02:00 PMEDT

    Linda Holroyd

    Hello everyone, this is very last minute, but FYI in case you can join us. I'll upload notes to the group if I receive them after the meeting.

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Webcast <do_not_reply@...>
    Date: Apr 28, 2020, 9:25 AM
    Subject: Reminder - COVID-19 and the Global Economy begins in 2 hours - April 28, 2020 at 02:00 PMEDT
    To: linda.holroyd@...

    A friendly reminder that COVID-19 and the Global Economy begins in two hours.
    LIVE WEBCAST DATE:  April 28, 2020
    Use the link below to enter the webcast up to 15 minutes before the start.
    Thank you and enjoy the webcast!

    Add Event to Outlook/ICal Calendar Outlook/iCalAdd Event to Google Calendar Google Calendar

    Linda Holroyd
    CEO, FountainBlue
    650-646-1117 text and cell

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