Monday, December 09, 2013
She says that "successful people reach their goals not simply because of who they are, but more often because of what they do." Which includes such practices as getting specific about your goals and "knowing exactly what you want to achieve." This, Halvorson says, "keeps you motivated until you get there."
Looking further into Halvorson's fascinating research findings, a few other nuggets gleam, including:
Successful people focus on getting better - Successful people never rest on their laurels. Rather they are constantly pushing themselves to find ways to improve their game.
Successful people are great finishers - They take decisive action. And they stay with it to the end.
Successful people have grit - Successful people are committed to their goals and do not quit. Instead, they persevere, no matter what the challenge or the obstacle they face.
Grit. It's a peculiar word, going back to Olde English, having to do with gravel and pebbles and dirt. But it has a metaphoric sense meaning indomitable courage, toughness, or resolution, pluck and spirit.
People with grit, like the young heroine of the novel True Grit, do not easily give up. Like a dog with a bone, they will stubbornly refuse to yield.
Lawyer and teacher Angela Duckworth has also studied success and agrees that it comes down to grit. She defines it as passion + determination for the long haul. Unshakeable belief in oneself. Perseverance in the face of setbacks, disappointments, and failure.
What else goes into success? With research by success experts as a basis, I have developed a six factor model of success:
Strategize: Where are you going with your life? Are you thinking ahead? Are you envisioning your future? Are you laying out the roadmap that will get you there? Have you identified the obstacles and opportunities ahead?
Prioritize: How are you spending your time? Are you doing what’s most important to you in terms of your vision and goals? Do you know what is most important? Are you making time in your daily and weekly schedule for yourself? for important relationships? for improving things? for lifelong learning? for thinking about the future?
Communicate: Are you connected to people around you? Are you keeping people informed? Are you getting all the key people on the same page? Are you seeking input and listening for good ideas? Are you learning from others?
Manage stress: Are you taking good care of yourself? Are you coping with your own stress, as well as helping others? Are you exercising? eating right? getting enough sleep? enjoying life? replenishing your energy?
Balance: How well are you handling change? Are you bouncing back with resilience? Are you setting boundaries to protect and nourish each side of your life? Are you making sure that you have enough energy to give your best both to your job as well as to your life?
Delegate: Do you have a healthy and productive team around you? Are they aligned and enthusiastic? Are you engaging them by sharing the purpose? Are you challenging them? Are you building their capabilities? Are you coaching them?
These six factors each contribute to your overall effectiveness as a parent, as a teacher, as a manager, as a human being. With all these factors in place, you will be able to get (and keep) your focus in order to get things done and achieve your goals.
Posted by Terrence Seamon on Monday December 9, 2013
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Change in organizations these days is stressful, unending, relentless, and a fact of life. So how about SURF?
In 2012, I wrote that stress will continue to stay at a heightened level.
Why? According to news reports on the U.S. economy, hiring will be slow in 2012, and many employers are planning further headcount cuts. Workloads, however, are likely to keep going up. "Doing more with less" will continue.
This is the main driver of workplace stress! When you combine workloads, pressure, and time shortages, with uncertainty and chaos, much of it due to organizational change, watch out: stress will increase. As decades of stress research has taught us, the more stress, the greater the negative effects.
Should managers care? In short, Yes. Stress takes a big toll on employee engagement, on performance, and on health. In today's whitewater working environment, managers need to develop leadership capabilities for resilience in themselves and others.
What can managers do? In military schools, leaders are taught about VUCA, an acronym that stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. VUCA environments, like many of today's hyper-stressed workplaces, demand much of those in leadership roles.
With VUCA as a framework, here are four more elements that I believe are key in today's workplaces:
Volatile - The more things change, the more the volatility that people have to deal with. As Holmes and Rahe taught us decades ago, change means stress. The more change, the more stress, the greater the danger. Managers and their teams need to toughen their change readiness capability to withstand such volatility.
Uncertain - In uncertain environments, predictability drops, and surprises rise. In such a climate, planning, organizing, and adaptability take on a critical importance for managers and their teams.
Complex - You know you are dealing with complexity when confusion and chaos become the norm. Many of the problems that teams face in today's organizations are truly complex. This means there are no obvious "low hanging fruit" solutions that they can quickly implement. Instead, managers and their teams need to learn new ways to think critically and creatively to solve the dilemmas they face.
Ambiguous - In the midst of chaos, a team needs the mental ability to maintain their "line of sight" toward their objective. Having a clear and compelling sense of purpose ('Where can I do the most good for the business right now?') helps to laser focus on the most pressing priorities.
As I write this, I am anticipating the Thanksgiving holiday later this week, followed by Christmas and the coming of a New Year. I think we need more help.
I think we need more. I think we need SURF:
Stress - What are you doing to manage the stress in your organization? Do you even know how stressed out people are, yourself included?
Unending - There was a time when change projects were "neat," having a beginning, middle, and ending. Forget about that now. These days, change is like a roaring flood.
Relentless - There is no end to it. Some management pundits preach the gospel of change. Jack Welch once said "Change before you have to." That is why we are where we are. Welcome to the new normal.
Fact of Life - If you don't want any part of it, good luck. Are there still monasteries where you can cut yourself odd from the world? If so, go and good luck.
The answer is to become a surfer of change. Surfers of big waves do something that most of us will never do. But there are lessons we can adapt. For example, Dr Elana Miller of Zen Psychiatry offers this wisdom:
"The ocean doesn't care about you. It is a force of nature that existed long before you were born and that will be around long after you. We operate under the illusion of control when so many of the most important things in life aren't even close to the realm of our control. When you release yourself from the illusion of control, you can relax. You can put in your best effort but let things turn out how they'll turn out. You can find moments of joy in the most simple things. So don't fight forces of nature. Ride them."
If you are a Manager right now, consider all of the above as a checklist for 2014. What do you resolve to work on to help your team cope with the stress and thrive in your organization?
Posted on Tuesday November 26, 2013 by Terrence Seamon, surfer of change
Saturday, November 23, 2013
While many of the other speakers were subject matter experts, I was asked to address leadership and service excellence. Here is a synthesis of the main points I shared.
S = Set the bar high. Customers in all segments, from banking to air travel to community care, are expecting more from their service providers. When customers have a choice of provider, the firms that set their bar higher and strive to raise their standards of quality, will gain the competitive advantage.
E = Establish the customer as the center of your dashboard. The late great Sam Walton once said There is really only one boss, the Customer, and he (or she) can fire every one of us simply by taking their business someplace else. Is your customer at the heart of all that you do?
R = Review your Mission. Everything you do should flow from it. Do all that you do with a sense of purpose. Especially with the customer in mind. Peter Drucker once said that the purpose of business is to create and keep the customer. That's it.
V = Vision & Values. What do you stand for when it comes to your customer? Taking care of your customers, creating solutions, fixing things when they go wrong, and making them feel cared about, noticed, well informed, reassured, and appreciated are the essentials. At British Airways they have this saying: "Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong. "
I = Innovate & Improve continually. Remember the ABC of service excellence: Always Be Creating! New programs and new services come from continually seeking new ideas from your team and from other stakeholders.
C = Complaints are a gift. Though complaints are hard to hear at times, the unhappy customer is actually a great resource for service leaders with ingenuity. Bill Gates once said "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning" . . . and improvement.
E = Expect the best from yourself and your team. Utilize the power of positive expectations. "High expectations are the key to everything," Sam Walton once said. With positive expectations in mind and communicated to your team, you create the conditions most conducive to achieving your goals as an organization.
Which brings us squarely to the leader. Leadership is the number one success factor in service excellence and in organizational performance.
What should the service leader do?
L = Listen & Learn. Once the leader has communicated the direction that the team needs, she then must listen to them. Ask questions to get the discussion moving: What are your ideas? What can we do to improve? Then listen. And learn. One of the most powerful leadership skills available is listening. Truly listening, attentively, without distraction. You may hear some good ideas. Occasionally even a brilliant one. Listening is the best way to show respect to another person. And to honor the contributions they can make.
E = Empower your team. The key to your team's success is trust. Take the risk of letting go and giving some of your power to your people. That's essentially what the word 'empowerment' is saying. Yes, it's scary. It means giving up some control. But by making your staff stronger, you strengthen the whole organization.
A = Assist your team. If your resources are constrained and you are "under the gun" to produce results, you will need to get in there, roll up your sleeves, and pitch in. At the same time, however, be sure to make time in your weekly schedule to assess your team members. Acknowledge each on an individual basis. Appreciate the strengths each one brings to your organization and do your best to play to those strengths.
D = Delegate to develop your team. Organizations known for service excellence, like Disney, Southwest Air, and Costco, invest a lot in developing their people. Delegation of assignments and responsibility is a great way to develop others. Plus it empowers them to take on more, growing not only their skills but also their sense of ownership.
E = Equip and Enable your team. Leaders grow and strengthen their people. They do this by teaching and by coaching. Do your people have what they need to do the job and succeed? Do they work well together? Make time on a regular basis to strengthen them as a team by facilitating team building sessions. (Let me know how I can help you with that.)
R = Reinforce & Recognize. In today's change-filled environments, we all need constant reinforcement of knowledge just to keep up and anticipate what is coming next. Anyone who is doing their best in such a situation should be recognized and praised for their accomplishments.
S = Show that you care. The service leader shows that she cares about her people by sharing information and supporting them with flexibility. Bill Marriott once famously clarified the connection between leadership and customer service when he said Take care of your people and they will take care of your customers.
So what do you think? Are you a service leader? How well do you measure up?
Remember what Warren Bennis said about leadership: Leadership is the capacity to turn vision into reality.
What does your customer want? Do you know? Have you designed your organization to deliver service excellence?
It's up to you.
Posted by Terrence Seamon on Saturday November 23, 2013
Monday, November 18, 2013
Here's a type to consider: Fearless Leadership. I got the name from my colleague Bettina Neidhardt who used it as the title of her blog for a few years.
Without speaking for her, what I like about the idea of Fearless Leadership, especially for HR, is the idea of guts. How many HR leaders have you known in your career who had the courage to take an unpopular stand?
Here are a few more aspects of Fearless Leadership:
Have chutzpah: An HR leader has to have the chutzpah (Yiddish for insolent audacity) to speak truth to power and tell the emperor he has no clothes on.
Be true to your self: An HR leader has to stand for something. What are the values of the organization? What is HR's role in seeing to it that the values are referenced in all critical business decisions?
Don't let the SOBs get you down: During one's career, you will encounter people who resist change, who test everything, including your patience. Despite the career risk, Fearless Leaders will take the higher road and tell the naysayers where to go.
Have dash: Don't be timid. Take a chance. Be daring. Put yourself out there.
Such leaders know when it's time to shake the place up and even when it's time to give someone a good solid kick in the posterior.
And a Fearless Leader is not afraid to keep on learning. Figure out who you are in this life and develop yourself, your gifts, your skills. Stay in training. Never stop. Keep growing and challenging your self.
While the focus has been on HR, Fearless Leadership is not just for HR alone. It's for anyone in a leadership role who really want to make a difference.
Stephen Covey once said that "Leadership is a choice, not a position." But many choose not to lead. Rather, they look down at their feet and wait for someone else to stick their neck out.
Yes, leadership entails taking a risk. It takes courage.
Once my dad, a tough WW II veteran and a policeman, said to me, "Terry, You've got moxie."
Moxie is the ability to face difficulty with spirit and initiative. That's a key spice in the recipe for Fearless Leadership.
Posted by Terrence Seamon on Monday November 18, 2013
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
For some reason (maybe it's my destiny, or my reason for being), in my 30+ year-long career, I have often been "where the action is" for an Organization Development practitioner: that is, "in the eye of the storm" of Change.
Mergers. Acquisitions. Takeovers. Re-organizations. Turnarounds. Downsizings. And yes "Culture Changes" too.
I have been there and done that.
So, you may ask, What have I learned? Here are a few lessons from the front-lines of change.
Change is rough - Even when it's the sexy stuff, like leadership development, employee engagement, and culture change, change can be rough. Change always generates stress because it destabilizes things and creates uncertainty. You've got to become a sherpa so that you are skilled at navigating difficult terrain.
"The path of descent is the path of transformation. Darkness, failure, relapse, death, and woundedness are our primary teachers, rather than ideas or doctrines." - Fr. Richard Rohr
You've got to become a light to those who can't see the way.
Stay focused - Things can really start to swirl when you are in the midst of change. Like a typhoon. So to keep your head on, and your wits about you, you must stay focused. Focus can come from many sources. I've found it helpful to stay focused on the W's: Why are we changing? Where are we headed? What will we get when we arrive? A good set of questions gives you the map and compass you need to find your way.
Take care - As an OD professional, your Number One tool is yourself. So you have to stay sharp. Big change projects that go on for long periods of time can grind you down. So you must stay in good shape, physically yes, but also mentally and emotionally. Consider taking up Tai Chi Chih for instance as a way to maintain your balance and your serenity...and your sanity
Stay open - Additionally, you have to proceed through change "with your eyes wide open" so that you can see what is going on...and what may be coming at you. To that end, you have to keep your lines of communication open with the key people that you are engaging with.
Keep learning - Along the way in a change project, all kinds of you-know-what can happen. Setbacks. Shifts in direction. And fiascoes. The key thing when it comes to mistakes and failures in change projects is to learn! Continuous learning. Honest and open discussions around questions like "What happened? Why? What can we learn?" are critical.
I've often said that the most important credential for anyone in the Change Agent business is first-hand personal experience with it. Like being downsized and losing your job. There is no better way to learn about transition and transformation.
For more on this subject, get my book Change for the Better, available in paper and on Kindle.
Posted by Terrence Seamon on Tuesday November 5, 2013
Thursday, October 24, 2013
In the last blog post, I asked, If one is to truly transform one's self and one's life, where would you start? What changes could you begin to make now?
Let's step back and look at this term "transformation." Transformation is a type of change. It's change that moves you "beyond the current form" so to speak. The dictionary puts it this way: to transform is to change form, shape, appearance, structure, or character. Even to metamorphose (as a caterpiller into a butterfly) or to convert (as a believer to an atheist).
So in sum, transformation is a much more fundamental type of change than a new coat of paint or moving the deck chairs around.
Transformation, then, is something like alchemy. Alchemy comes from the Arabic al + kimiya meaning 'the transmutation.' The myth of the alchemist that we learned in Western Civilization class went like this: the alchemist was searching for the secret catalyst that would change lead into gold. Although the medieval alchemist never found this solution, we have been given a great metaphor.
To take a metaphorical leap, today's transformational leaders and change agent often work some alchemy in organizations. The catalyst however is not a secret sauce of some sort. Rather the catalyst is the change agent!
Consider Louis V. Gerstner, who was hired by IBM back in the early 1990's as CEO. IBM's once great prowess was failing and the board was looking for someone to turn the company around. Gerstner was the right choice.
He focused on IBM's people and culture, identifying it's strengths, but also pinpointing where change was needed. He is quoted saying:
"Reorganization to me is shuffling boxes, moving boxes around. Transformation means that you're really fundamentally changing the way the organization thinks, the way it responds, the way it leads. It's a lot more than just playing with boxes."
He didn't change the core business, computers. He went after its culture, the "wiring" of the people of IBM.
This is the job of the change agent, whether you are CEO or a concerned constituent. If the place needs to change, really change, you can't just move the boxes around and expect the result to be any different.
There is a crisis in the church right now. Luckily, the new pope of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, is a transformational leader. He is not changing the core business, leading people to salvation. But he is going after the culture. The culture of the Vatican bureaucracy, as well as the global culture of the faithful.
I wish him well. The church needs transformation badly. Millions of its members have stopped going to church regularly. Soon our churches will be mostly empty except for the gray-haired remnant. It is time, as Saint Francis once heard, "to repair my house."
What can be done? Gerstner and Pope Francis are showing the way to be effective alchemists of transformation. In particular:
Crisis - The awareness of the pressing need to change creates the sense of urgency and galvanizes the people.
Vision - The positive vision of the better tomorrow gives the people hope that it is possible to improve things.
Pathway - The plan of actions gets people mobilized and moving even if it's just baby steps for starters.
And one more:
Dive Deep - Don't be fooled into "moving the boxes around," as Gerstner warns. Reorganizing is seductive because you tell yourself that you have really changed things. While a fresh coat of paint can make a big difference sometimes, it is still only cosmetic change.
As Gerstner once said, Transformational change means fundamentally changing the way the organization thinks, the way it responds, and the way it leads.
Posted by Terrence Seamon on Thursday October 24, 2013
Sunday, October 06, 2013
As Roman Catholic Christians, we believe that the Eucharist, the Body of Christ, is the bread from heaven that nourishes like no other. Spiritually, we subscribe to the saying "You are what you eat."
And the meal is not only comprised of the communion bread that we partake in, but also the Word of God that we hear in the scripture, and even the community present in the congregation that becomes "the eyes and hands and feet" of Our Lord in today's world.
So by full participation at Mass and beyond, we "become what we eat." We become strengthened in our faith to live the Good News and make the world a better place for all.
Yet that is not our only meal. From Monday to Friday, we are stuffed full by other "food" that comes to us via society, especially the mass media. By consumerism, by racism, by capitalism. What is on the menu that we consume in our society? And how does it shape us?
Whether believer or atheist, if you are a person who desires to improve the world in some way, you are up against an incredible obstacle, namely the steady diet of political malarkey that you are fed. The diet that leaves you doubting, confused, fearful, anxious, and maybe filled with hatred for "those people."
If one is to truly transform one's self and one's life, where would you start? What changes could you begin to make now?
A few thoughts.
Turn down the news - Notice I did not say turn it off. You need some news. Like the weather. The traffic report. The obituaries and the movie reviews. Any crises or emergencies that may be happening in your area, like hurricane Sandy. And any good news that gladdens the heart and stirs the soul.
Question what you hear - There is a lot going on that affects you and your neighbors. For example, the rollout of new laws such as Obamacare. What do you make of it all? Let me share a secret with you about the news: You are not getting the whole truth. Every news outlet (not just Fox) is slanting the news based on their own political affiliations. So take everything you hear with a good size "grain of salt."
Seek the truth - In the Gospel stories, Roman governor of occupied Israel Pontius Pilate is supposed to have said, "What is truth?" The question is no less vital in today's world. Here are some words of wisdom in this regard:
Walter Cronkite: "In seeking truth, you have to get both sides of a story."
John F. Kennedy: "Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future."
So in sum, go on a diet from the worldly news. Turn away from the -ism's and the poisonous partisan bickering.
Tune into the Good News wherever you may find it.
And focus on making things better.
To be continued in Part 2.
Posted by Terrence Seamon on Sunday October 6, 2013
Saturday, October 05, 2013
Recently he related this story to my wife and me.
He was networking with someone in the TV commercial voice-over business in New York City. Let's call him Guy. In the course of a lively conversation, Guy asked Dave two questions:
"Dave, What is your passion? And, How will you monetize it?"
From the little I know about Guy, he has a passion for acting and found a way to monetize it via voice-over work in TV commercials.
In Dave's case, his passions include acting, singing, and composing music for movies. He is already working on ways to turn his passions and talents into an income stream.
This story got me thinking about my situation. So I have decided to monetize my blog!
You'll notice three Amazon ads to the left, featuring my three books. Additionally, via Amazon.com, I have created an e-store dedicated to books on the topic of leadership and organizational change business books.
I've decided that it's time to monetize my passions which include writing, blogging, and designing creative solutions to leadership development needs that my clients are struggling with.
Posted by Terrence Seamon on Saturday October 5, 2013
Friday, October 04, 2013
Called Change for the Better: The Leader's Guide to Change, it is now "on the shelf" alongside my first two, To Your Success and Lead the Way.
Here is the press release now being sent to a wide audience of friends around the world:
PRESS RELEASE: NEW BUSINESS BOOK BY LOCAL WRITER
NEW BRUNSWICK NJ - OCTOBER 4, 2013 - New Brunswick-based writer Terrence Seamon has published his third book, entitled Change for the Better
Change for the Better - The Leader's Guide to Change is now available. Change for the Better is a practical guide for organizational agents of change. Whether you are a manager, parent, coach or consultant, if you are helping people through change to reach success, this book is for you. Anyone who is taking a leadership role in a change project, from an executive to a team leader to a subject matter expert, can use Change for the Better as a handy guidebook to more effective implementation of change.
Much is written about the high failure rate (and cost) of change initiatives. In Change for the Better, one of the critical success factors, namely the role of the change agent, is explored. Principles for change agents are presented. And a "tool kit" for change agents is included as well.
Essentially, the book provides a roadmap to leading change effectively, describing it in a clear and practical manner so that anyone who desires to be a more effective change agent can do so.
Based on research findings, as well as wisdom and best practices from the field of organizational change, Change for the Better integrates the topics of leadership and managing change. As the CEO Jack Welch once said, "Change before you have to." This book identifies and clarifies the essential elements change leaders must know and implement to change things for the better.
Change for the Better is published via CreateSpace, the Amazon.com publishing site:
This book follows Seamon's first two releases, To Your Success, a motivational guidebook for job seekers and career changers, and Lead the Way, a guide for leaders looking to engage their staff members for higher performance.
To Arrange a Talk
Terrence Seamon will be happy to give a talk to your organization. To book a presentation, call 732-246-3014 or send an email to"
About the Author
Terrence H. Seamon is a coach, speaker, writer and leadership and organization development consultant who provides training and employee development services to employers in New Jersey. Additionally, he is a job search and career coach who co-founded and co-moderates the St. Matthias Employment Ministry in Somerset, NJ.
Terrence Seamon can be reached by phone at 732-246-3014 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
~ "Grow your people, and they will grow your business" ~
Posted by Terrence Seamon on Friday October 4, 2013
Tuesday, October 01, 2013
First is Self. Borrowing a concept from Dr. Kathleen Hall, I teach the SELF model: Sleep (get enough), Exercise (get moving), Love (give and get), and Food (eat right). There are many other ingredients in self-care, but these four are basic.
Second, take care of Others (especially family, friends, neighbors, and customers) that you care deeply about.
And third, take care of this Place, particularly locally where you live and work. It's all we have.
Recently, I was inspired by a friend named Charlie who has really embodied the second and third aspects.
At his invitation, I attended a neighborhood meeting at a coffee house called Hidden Grounds (what a cool name for a coffee spot) here in my town of New Brunswick, New Jersey, home of Rutgers University. It was a meeting of 5th and 6th ward residents who are concerned about many vexing local issues like break-ins, vandalism, safety, litter, and the like.
The meeting was organized by Charlie, a young local journalist who, after graduating from college, made this town his home and cared enough to become a community improvement activist. I salute him for caring enough to organize the event.
I was pleased to see that there was a very good and diverse turnout. Local business people, long time residents, and many college age neighbors were there. Just about everyone spoke up, giving voice to real issues.
Did we solve any of the aforementioned problems? No, not at all. But there was a good feeling generated. A feeling of hope and solidarity. A sense of a bond that we must sustain and strengthen as time goes on.
As I walked home that night, I thought about how Charlie is living the ideal of service to others and to a place. What if more of us held and lived such values?
This blog post is the third in a series that started with Breaking Bread and continued with Love Made Visible. One of my readers, Maryalice, commented on the idea of serving. She wrote:
"I am here to say, We need to serve. Period. Unfortunately, that isn't the norm anymore as politicians, administrators, companies all have their own agendas and those agendas often come with a price tag."
The late great Peter Drucker once wrote that "The purpose of business is to find and keep a customer." How do you do that? In a word, by serving their needs. If you don't, they will go elsewhere.
If more of us adopted a servant's mindset and attitude, the world would be a much more hospitable place. And less stressful too.
Posted by Terrence Seamon on Tuesday October 1, 2013
Monday, September 30, 2013
It's incredibly hard to predict the future with any degree of certainty. But I am convinced that you can create the future you desire.
What we need in changing organizations is a vista on the future.
The word vista means a pleasing view or prospect, a vision of the future (from the Latin videre "to see")
V = Vision of the desired state
I = Improvement-based culture
S = Situation assessment of the current state
T = Targets identified for the improvements
A = Actions aligned to the aims
With a positive vista on the future you desire, you can create the energy to make it happen in your organization.
Posted by Terrence Seamon on MOnday September 30, 2013
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
My friend and OD colleague Lucille sent me this quote from the philosopher and poet Gibran:
"Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy."
Can you work with love so that your work is "love made visible?"
In her note to me, Lucille added this final line: "How fortunate we are to be in a field that brings such continual satisfaction."
It's true. She and I are in the field of Training and Organization Development where we help people in organizations to be more adaptable, more resilient, more productive, and more effective. We guide, we coach, we train, and we mentor.
This is the key, I think. To work with love requires that the work be a source of satisfaction to you.
Taking a closer look at the word satisfy, it comes from the Old Latin: satis + facere = to make enough
What is enough? Our capitalist culture tells us that you can never have enough. That you must always have more. That more is better. That bigger is better. The result? We are never satisfied. We are always craving. Though we don't know what it is that we lack.
But how much do we truly need? Maybe that's what has gone wrong in our psyche. The ancient sage Horace said, "He who is greedy is always in want.”
This is one of the sins, I believe, made by the main character Walter White in the great TV series Breaking Bad. While starting with the desire to take care of his family, he fell into greed, a trap that is so commonplace in our culture as to be invisible to us.
G.K. Chesterton once said: “There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.”
If your work, whatever it may be --from music, to medicine, to sales, to engine repair-- is a source of nourishment for you and for others, then that is enough.
Posted by Terrence Seamon on Wednesday September 25, 2013
Monday, September 23, 2013
As great a TV show as Breaking Bad is, this blog post is NOT about the misguided attempts of a pathetic Chemistry teacher to provide for his struggling family by "cooking" and dealing crystal meth.
No, this post, called Breaking Bread, is about community. The kind of community that is so vital, yet sorely missing, in our organizations today.
First, some etymology. The word "company" means, when you break it down to its component word origins: com = with + pane = bread. Word origin experts have traced the word back to a meaning that should give us all pause: "One who eats bread with you."
So a Company should be a place where we share a meal. Where we feed and nourish one another.
If that is not too far-out for you, let's go a bit further.
If that is what a Company really means, then: Who are we when we go to work? We might think that we are guests at a meal, waiting to be served. But that would be a mistake.
No, we are stewards at a meal.
The Customer is the guest.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it, as my father used to say. In other words, savor it. Ponder it. Let it dwell within you for awhile.
Because that is what we have lost. But it can be found again. And not only found, but reclaimed.
Posted by Terrence Seamon on Monday September 23, 2013
Thursday, September 19, 2013
In particular her finding that successful people get very specific when setting goals.
"When you set yourself a goal, try to be as specific as possible. “Lose 5 pounds” is a better goal than “lose some weight,” because it gives you a clear idea of what success looks like. Knowing exactly what you want to achieve keeps you motivated until you get there. Also, think about the specific actions that need to be taken to reach your goal. Just promising you’ll “eat less” or “sleep more” is too vague — be clear and precise. “I’ll be in bed by 10pm on weeknights” leaves no room for doubt about what you need to do, and whether or not you’ve actually done it."
Get specific. Anyone who is into goal setting has already known this. It is part of the old SMART formula where the S means Specific.
But in the context of her research, this aspect of success behavior has a new significance. And it has triggered an innovation for me in my practice. I call it my "Goals Workout" and I've been refining it with clients.
Here is an outline of the process:
First a brief intro on the behavior of successful people as per Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson's research. This puts the idea of goals into the spotlight in a new way.
Second I ask my clients to write down one of their goals, suggesting that it be one of importance to them.
Third I raise the topic of realism. Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson found that successful people have a realistic perspective. This includes recognition of obstacles. So I introduce the concept of driving and restraining forces, and the Force Field diagram tool. I then ask my clients to take a few minutes to write down, underneath their goal, their driving and hindering forces.
Fourth I move toward action steps by introducing the Start Stop Continue method to help identify actions that can increase movement toward goals. I then ask them to take a few minutes to identify some action steps that are Starts, Stops or Continues.
The next step is to get people into small groups of three to five members in each. The instructions are simple. Taking turns, each person should share the goal they wrote down. Share the driving and restraining forces. Share the action steps, identifying whether each is a Start, a Stop, or a Continue. And then invite the other members of the group to give input.
The outcomes from this process? Greater specificity in goal setting. Greater clarity. Higher energy.
Posted by Terrence Seamon on Thursday September 19, 2013
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Have you had the personal experience of significant disappointment, setback, and loss?
Can you genuinely relate to what your clients are feeling?
After being "let go" several times in my career, I am convinced that this is the most valuable life experience for anyone calling himself a Change Agent or Change Manager.
When you go over a waterfall in your work or your life, you are thrown into the whitewater of change. You are forced to stop and think: OK. Now what? Where to from here?
I have found that it's very useful is to reclaim your sense of purpose, your inner compass, that you can consult to regain your bearings and decide on your next course of action.
For an organizational change consultant, trying to make sense of the change experience, there are a lot of possible handles for one's purpose. The one I selected is CHANGE:
C = Communicate openly and often
H = Help folks through the transition
A = Align around your core process and your mission in life
N = Navigate from the "as is" to the "to be"
G = Galvanize into movement
E = Empower and engage
In my consulting work with leaders, as well as my coaching work with job hunters, the question often is "Where to from here?"
And the answer is "Change."
If you have gone through this fire yourself, and have come out wiser and stronger for having undergone the trial, you will be able to help others who are journeying through change.
Posted by Terrence Seamon on Wednesday July 31, 2013