Archive for the ‘Blue Egg Partners’ Category

Cuba – 2nd world country, 4th world life. Tips and tales from 7 days in Havana.

January 9th, 2017

Time is the least thing we have of.
– Hemingway

My impressions of Havana Cuba January 2017

Arriving and exchange of money is pretty standard – they will x-ray your bags on arrival. TIPS: if there is a line currency exchange (and there will be a line,) in Terminal 1, go upstairs, a fraction of the line and time spent! Also, make sure you know your Terminal – getting dropped off at Terminal 3 for your return flight will result in trying to wrestle-up a way to Terminal 1 at 6am that won’t eat into your Exit Tax* and your wait to Check-in* 😉

I hitched a ride from the airport to my first of 3 Airbnbs, with two American teacher gals, who arranged to meet later in the week.

My first Havana Airbnb was up 60 steps on the 3rd floor of an ancient, slightly decrepit building, near Avenue 23 – a main road into the old town. The ‘hostess’ was a gal in her 20’s, who was not there or helpful, but her 87 year old grandmother was so loving and sweet, kissing me and hugging me every time we met with a gleeful exuberance and a swiftly flowing river of Spanish, where only a few familiar words surfaced. My second up 75 stairs, no kidding, but a lovely view and rooftop patio!

General hint: All beds in Havana are hard and slightly lumpy and all your hosts will tell you they are new, and by new, they mean within the last few years. Some will have a plastic mattress cover, all will have painfully thin sheets, but apparently newer than new (think mattress new) and a Janka Hardness scale rivaling Macassar Ebony.

*Exit Tax: Save 25 CUC to pay upon departure, OR confirm your Exit Tax is included in your ticket – mine was, but saved extra money Just In Case.
*Check-in: You will have to check-in, you will have to wait in line, there is no ‘elite’ line, you will not be able to change your ticket in a way that will involve money (upgrade, early boarding.)

Rooster on Plaza Vieja

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Win-Win or When-When?

December 12th, 2012

I really do believe win-win can be achieved. Lately I’m wondering if it’s more like when-when instead of win-win.

With Win-Win there is an assumption of a common goal, similar values, the ability to put aside your own expectations for the greater good.

With when-when, I wonder -when- will people put aside ego and expectations to realize that success in whatever form it takes is to be acknowledged, appreciated and respected. When will you set aside differences and embrace what it takes to make the other side successful? When do you take feedback with an open mind and heart, rather than defensiveness?

When do YOU step up to the plate and take responsibility for creating an environment where win-win takes the place of when-when?

When you do, everybody wins.

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Own your online identity or someone else will…

September 27th, 2011

I have always advocated to own your own online identity ( doh!) or someone else will. This is a great example of why:

“Has anyone Googled Santorum recently? Because I just did, and it looks like we made it back to number one. I’m not sure when we did it, because I have been less then diligent lately. Poor Rick actually has to pay to have a link above us. Sucks to be him.”

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Teams: Defining roles and responsibilities

March 25th, 2011

How many hats do you wear? Team Leadership; Roles and Responsibilities

In my first post on cross-functional teams, 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Functional Team Management, I outlined the 5 keys needed for successful cross-functional team management: Goals, Roles, Responsibilities, Accountability, and Reward. My second post addressed the first of those keys: Cross-functional Team Leadership in Startups and SME’s: The First 5 Keys – Goal Setting for Success.
In this post I will address the second and third keys in this series: Roles and Responsibilities — how to define, track and measure them.
When it comes right down to it, the first two roles (hats) any team member wears besides their functional area hat are Team Member and Deliverable Owner.

Team Member because unless you understand that the first thing you do for the team is show up as a contributing member of the team, you are not on a team. Owner because unless you own your participation with personal responsibility and deliver on those responsibilities, you can’t come to the team table.

So, what does that say about titles like Executive Sponsor, Engineer, Sales, Business Dev., QA, Compliance? It says that you know what your job is and how your skills contribute to the success of the Product/Project/Team you are on.

That being said, you have to know your functional responsibilities, and these must be focused and actionable. By focused, I mean you are clear on what tasks you have to accomplish. By actionable, I mean they are specific and measurable, which includes status, inter-dependencies, schedule, issues and potential risks.

The following Hat Template can be used help you define each team member’s participation and can be tracked to plan. Click on the form to download/save a spreadsheet version. Feel free to copy, edit, and distribute it.

Hat/Role: Designates your particular role, be it employee, engineer, contributor, reviewer, manager, marketing, etc.
Deliverable: Denotes your task and/or deliverable – is this tracked in the MRD/PRS?
Current Status: Green, Yellow, Red, complete – if you don’t know what this means, you shouldn’t be reading this post.
Dependencies: Items that could potentially keep you from completing the task. One of the more important aspects of cross-functional team interaction is managing the gaps and expectations in and amongst team members.
Due/Done: Are you on schedule; is item tracked on a master schedule?
Issues: Anything that could jeopardize completing the task, be it supply chain, equipment, non-performers, or vacation schedules.
Risks: Provides snapshot of project status and gaps.

The most important thing about the above document is that it be completed and maintained by the team member either directly or via the team leader or project manager. This document should be easily accessible to all team members via a team portal, AND, should not be more complicated than what you are trying to accomplish. Good luck and let me know how it goes.

Coming next: Accountability – how to manage people when no one is a direct report!

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Talk – Feb. 10, 2010 How to lead a cross-functional team when no one is a direct report

February 5th, 2010

Companies highly value the experience and skill of project managers who can work across all departments in an organization. How many times have you seen “ability to work cross-functionally” in job ads? As project managers, the more we understand how to manage cross-functional teams and how to encourage collaboration, the more successful we are and the more successful our projects will be. Learn the fine points from Elizabeth Houck as she presents her five-key methodology (Goal, Role, Responsibility, Accountability and Reward) for dealing with such teams.

SPEAKER: Elizabeth Houck, Principal, Blue Egg Partners

Elizabeth Houck is an innovative senior marketing professional with more than fifteen years of experience in all phases of product management, including technology product research and development and go-to-market strategy.

Currently a Principal of Blue Egg Partners, she provides consulting services in cross-functional team leadership that enable her clients to bring products and services to market on plan and within budget. Ms. Houck holds a BCS degree from the College of Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has completed UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business Product Management Certification and is also a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI).


7:00am – 7:50am Networking & Registration

7:50am – 9:00am Program Presentation

Complimentary coffee, tea and soda with meeting admission. Join us 7-8am for a no host breakfast.

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Creating Accountability in Cross-Functional Teams

January 29th, 2010

Categories: Business Transformation, Leadership, Managing Technology, Managing People, Startups

Tags: startups, leadership, collaboration, productivity, team building, go-to-market, project management, product management, program management, avoiding pitfalls, international product teams, project teams, small medium business, virtual teams, blue egg partners, managing innovators and technology, cross functional teams, cross functional team management The 4th of the 5 Keys to Successful Cross-functional Team Leadership

Creating Accountability in Cross-Functional Teams

The 4th of the 5 Keys to Successful Cross-functional Team Leadership

Over the years, I have brow-beat, begged, babied, and over-rewarded just to get team members to be accountable – the fact of the matter is you can’t force accountability. Team members must make themselves accountable, not just to themselves but to the team. The level at which people are accountable to your project depends on their esteem and shared vision with the team, company and customer.

Accountability is the glue that holds cross-functional teams together – period. Google “accountability” and you get lots of lofty hints, practicum, and babble for making people accountable. Truth is, if a team member isn’t accountable, you CAN’T make them accountable. But you CAN address the symptoms before the first team meeting.

Team Accountability Exercise

Before the first team meeting, try this exercise: Simply ask all team members to email you a one paragraph overview of their primary roles and responsibilities on the team. Make it due a few days before the first team meeting. Some team members will complete the paragraph the day it is assigned, some when it’s due, some by the first meeting, and some won’t do it at all. This will give the team leader a spot on assessment of who will be accountable and who won’t before the first meeting. At the first meeting address accountability issues as a team, again in the goal setting process, and then on an individual basis as part of roles and responsibilities.

At the point that someone has missed a deadline, or shown other symptoms of an accountability deficit, the root cause can be traced to organizational, structural, personal or situational. The tools available to you depend on the root cause, the duration of the project, and the importance of the participant. If you triage the root cause early, and take necessary action to align the team to alleviate root cause, loyalty will be the result.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to accountability:

– Have a solid project plan in place. If tasks and deliverables are not communicated, documented, and measurable they are NOT accountable.

– Instill open collaboration and communication in and amongst team members. Team members accountable to their peers have a higher level of accountability.
– Inspire and motivate vision, innovation, creativity and performance in the team.

– Understand root cause of accountability deficit; take extenuating circumstances into account.

– Have the autonomy and authority as team leader to address an under-performing team member. (Important when the team member is not a direct report.)

– Rewards and consequences must be genuine and visible. (More on this in Key 5 – Reward)

Next time, Key 5 – Reward; and as always, your feedback, comments, suggestions are welcome.

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