Last Friday, I facilitated a panel discussion for Fountain Blue's When She Speaks Women in Leadership forum. Approximately 50 women and 3 men attended the discussion about how to thrive in times of accelerated change. Each of the four women on the panel holds a responsible leadership position in Cisco, EMC, IBM, and HP. I was struck by the high level of both technical and interpersonal expertise each demonstrated. I was also struck by the pressures facing each of them, and our audience members. All are challenged to cope under rapid changes in their marketplace and technology. For instance, the advent of the cloud is causing each company to think through their product mix. Companies that used to develop products internally are becoming much more aggressive in looking for start-ups with innovative technology to buy and integrate. Top down, hierarchical management is being replaced with collaborative management.
All of these changes require all employees and leaders to ensure that they are adding value, learning, and contributing. Yet, job security is a thing of the past. In times of VUCA, where there is unrelenting volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, developing both an internal and external network is critical. Our networks keep us connected, provide friendship, and can also be a source of contacts when things change.
Bottom line, we are all still human. The best thing we can do for ourselves is monitor our own stress levels, breathe, and connect. Relationships matter more than ever!