Showing posts from August, 2006

Whatcha Thinkin'?

A couple years ago, we found it humorous when a friend of our son Kevin called him up and asked, "Whatcha thinkin'?" We still giggle over it.

It's not a bad question, however.

At Don Blohowiak's blog, he has an entry about changing your life by changing the questions you ask yourself. That sounds right to me. It reminds me of a couple of things...

1. As an undergraduate at Rutgers, I read a book called LivingWith Change by the late Wendell Johnsonwhere he advocated the use of three questions to achieve and maintain healthy relationships:

What do you mean? - This question helps clarify meaning and achieve understanding.

How do you know? - This question helps uncover assumptions, reveal facts, and discover evidence.

What then? - This question (like its twin "So What?") helps make connections, draw conclusions, and prompt actions.

2. A few years ago, I learned about an OD concept called the Engine of Success. I believe it may have originated with Peter Senge or a…

Change Your Place, Change Your Luck

According to Rabbi and blogger Alana Suskin at Kol Ra'ash Gadol, the saying "Change your place, change your luck" is an oldie, going back to ancient times, maybe even to Abraham:

And the Lord said to Abram, Get out from your land, and from your birthplace, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you; And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, and curse him who curses you; and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.

There is something about that saying that is resonating with me...

My mother, the Jewish grand-daughter of immigrants from Russia and Ukraine, had sayings like that one. Though I can't remember hearing that one uttered when I was a kid, perhaps that maxim was "in there" somewhere, providing the stimulus for the Mystery Rides we used to take? Take a new road and see what unexpected opportunity you might find?


Heuristic Frameworks

Came across this cool blog entry on the "fuzzy front end" of innovation where ideas surface from employees, which leads to one on "heuristic frameworks."

I like that phrase, heuristic frameworks.

Heuristic is a word derived from Greek meaning to find. (Eureka is related.) Heuristics therefore are ways of finding stuff.

At the Heuristic Wiki, they say that heuristics is the art and science of discovery.

Way cool.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 08/21/06

Mystery Ride

One of my mother's favorite things to do was to take a "mystery ride" where we would get in the car and head out somewhere without a destination. And when we came to a road we did not know, we would take it...just to see where it would go.

In her memory, I have named my new blog, Mystery Ride.

This new blog will not replace this one, but will be a spin-off where the focus will be much more on the simple pleasures of everyday life.

I hope you'll check it out.


Jim Murphy has a new question at the Mass Bay OD Learning Community Blog: What is the relationship between organizational development and organizational strategy?

One of my favorite organizational models is STP, for Situation-Target-Path (originated, I believe, by OD guru Richard A. Schmuck).

In reflecting upon the Situation, a strategist looks comprehensively at the current state, where the organization is at the present moment.

In reflecting upon the Target, a strategist sets objectives and goals, intended to reach some desired state.

In reflecting upon the Path, a strategist formulates action plans designed to attain the goals and thereby reach the desired state.

Organization development practitioners can help their clients in each of these phases of organizational progress.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 08/17/06

Re-Framing Love

Thanks to astha, I found Sanjay's blog, Simple Thoughts (great name!), where he has an entry about whether you have to "love" people to be an HR professional.

He says " simple advice to anybody joining HR because they love people is to just become a social worker."

Why? He provides this illustration:

"Would you do the following if you really loved people -

- Fire people to improve the profitability of the company
- Force managers to reduce the ratings of people to meet the bell curve even if they have done a good job
- Make policies to stop 2% of the population from doing wrong things inconveniencing all others
- Make life miserable for anybody who quits
- Get people to work harder even if they do not like it (without paying overtime)

Hmmm. Interesting point indeed. Having been in HR for over twenty years (as a Training & OD specialist), I agree that HR can often be seen as more people-hostile than people-friendly. Seldom have I ever heard HR des…

What Keeps You Up At Night?

A handy needs assessment tool I learned years ago is to ask a client: "What keeps you up at night?" In other words, What concerns are on your mind?

A CEO I worked for used to use this as a way to start off his executive retreats. The company was growing rapidly and the two areas that "kept him up at night" were People and Systems.

I received an e-mail yeaterday from about an upcoming conference where the focus will be the "Top 5 Things that Keep HR Up at Night." They are:

1. How do I get a seat at the executive table?
2. How can I take advantage of technology to get more efficient, effective and innovative?
3. What can I do to take a dysfunctional team from unproductive to extraordinary?
4. How can I make employees excited to come to work?
5. How can I bring humanity back into HR and the rest of my organization?

Not a bad agenda.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 08/10/06

Hold Hands and Run Together

At Astha's blog, in an entry about leadership, she tells the following little story:

"In my bachelor’s social psychology course, my teacher used to tell us a story of how some social scientists went to an Indian village. There, as an experiment, they organized a race between some kids and told them that kids who got to the line fastest, would get sweets. To their shock the kids all held hands and ran to the line together. To the children, that seemed like the most natural thing to do. I think we need to learn how to hold hands and run together — that ought to be the true definition of leadership."

What a great image!

Astha says: "...the more you look around the world, the more evident it becomes that unless we learn how to share and be in community with people around us...none of us are going to get anywhere..."

A refreshingly different view of leadership. One based on the notion of sharing and community.

I love it!

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 08/09/06

The Lasting Impact of Leaders

Consultant and blogger Don Blohowiak has an entry about the legacy of leaders, where he writes: "Whoa! The legacy of your actions as an individual leader may be more important than any of us thought."

Earlier in her career, my wife Joan was an elementary school music teacher. She taught many little kids in those days.

Fast forward to today, my wife is the music director at our church. It's not unusual for her to meet some of her former students when they come to her to plan their weddings.

They still call her "Miss Best" and they can still sing some of the ditties and folk songs that Joan had taught them when they were young.

I offer this as an example of one category of leaders, in this case teachers, who have a lasting impact. Certainly on the lives of their students. And probably on the world as well.

Last year, I heard the Dalai Lama speak at Rutgers. One of the things he recommended that we do right away is start teaching peace to children. If we start no…


Organization development consultant and author Fred Nickols crowed the other day that his article on change management showed up first on a Google search for that phrase. I complimented him on his "high findability."

Findability: "the quality of being locatable . . . to what degree a particular object is easy to discover or locate"

That's a good thing these days, for researchers, students, detectives, librarians. Even consultants.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 08/03/06

Making A Dent In The Universe

At the Life Coaches Blog, I came across the slogan, "make a dent in the universe," that apparently is attributable to Apple's Steve Jobs:

"We're here to make a dent in the universe. Otherwise, why even be here? We're creating a completely new consciousness, like an artist or a poet. That’s how you have to think of this. We're rewriting the history of human thought with what we're doing."

It even showed up in a commencement speech:

"Remember to see each challenge and even conflict as an opportunity to learn and grow. Dare to be the different voice and embrace those different voices that might help you reach better decisions for the good of our society. "Make a dent in the universe" and, most important of all, make us proud to say--and tell others--that you are Denison University graduate!"

Kinda cool, I'd say. It reminds me of a conversation I had a couple months ago with a friend who said that what Life is all about is &qu…


College senior and blogger Corey Spring, at, has an entry about the ruckus that comedian Stephen Colbert caused at Wikipedia.

I like Colbert's comment on wikiality: "Bringing democracy to knowledge."

He is a very funny guy. And he's right about wikiality.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 08/01/06