Saturday, April 29, 2006

HR, OD and Blogging

Some of us (e.g., Regina, Astha, and Jim) are wondering why HR and OD folk are not taking to blogging.

Here are some possibilities. What do you think is going on?

- HR and OD are generally not early adopters of new technology.

- HR and OD are too busy for blogging.

- HR (and maybe OD) is concerned about the negative implications of blogging.

- OD (and maybe HR) is afraid that blogging is "giving away the store."

Any other thoughts?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 04/29/2006
Business and the Arts

Someone recently asked me how I would facilitate collaboration between business and the arts. Intriguing, if abstract, question. But a good one, especially for a professional facilitator and OD Guy, who is also a poet.

Such a collaboration will be a difficult challenge because business and the arts are two vastly different worlds.

The artist is primarily concerned with artistic expression. Whether in paint, words, music, or whatever medium, the artist is trying to express an idea, an image, a memory, or a deeply felt impulse. The artist is generally unconcerned by schedules, meetings, deadlines, deliverables, and such.

The business person, in contrast, is all about schedules, meetings, deadlines, deliverables, projects, costs, and customers. The business person is primarily concerned with getting stuff done and making a profit.

In view of this disparity, one of the chief questions a facilitator should ask is, Why are these people coming together? What is it that they hope to jointly achieve?

With a common ground and common goal established, the rest of the collaboration design can proceed.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 04/29/2006

Friday, April 28, 2006

Training and Coffee

Just discovered, via Bloglines, that training and development guru Dave Passmore has a neat blog where he writes about learning and his love of coffee.

Great Turkish quote: Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 04/28/2006

Thursday, April 27, 2006

How I Became an OD Guy

Recently, someone asked me how I got into the organization development field?

In thinking about it for a few weeks, I'm realizing that it's a multi-part story. So here is Part 1.

Though I didn't quite realize it at the time, I studied OD when I was an undergraduate at Rutgers (1973-77) in a major called Human Communication which encompassed such topics as . . .

- organization development (especially Schmuck and Runkel's handbook)

- communication theory (e.g. B.Ruben, H.Lasswell, Schramm, Shannon & Weaver, Weiner, McLuhan)

- general systems (von Bertalanfy)

- general semantics (Korzybski, Wendell Johnson)

- organizational and group dynamics (e.g. Bennis, Berlew, Schein, Steele, Gibb, Dyer)

- mass communication

- interpersonal interaction

- therapeutic relationships (e.g. Carl Rogers, Rothlisberger)

- non-verbal communication (Mehrabian)

- commmunication effectiveness

- persuasion (including influence, power, negotiation, and selling)

- change (Paul Watzlawick, Kurt Lewin)

- information theory (D.Davidson)

- symbolic interaction

- sociology of knowledge (Berger and Luckmann)

- inter-cultural communication

The mind-opening thinkers I studied included Irving Rein, Saul Alinsky, David Berlo, Erving Goffman, Will Schutz, Elliott Aronson, Lee Thayer and many more.

It was (and is) fascinating stuff. I couldn't get enough. When people asked me what I was studying, it was hard to put it into a nutshell.

But I knew it was transforming me.

I have been using it (and adding to it) ever since.

More to come on this topic.....

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 04/29/06

Monday, April 24, 2006

Amazing Stuff

Blogger Astha , at Evolving Ideas, has paid me a compliment by putting my blog on her watchlist and describing it as "Amazing stuff on OD."

I'm having a high self-esteem moment!

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 04/24/2006
Whole Person Leadership

Consultant and blogger Don Blohowiak has quoted my little leadership poem, "Leadership requires the whole person."

Thanks, Don!

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 04/24/2006

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Power of Blogs

Despite the estimate that there are millions of bloggers in the blogosphere, people I meet seem amazed that I blog. Since blogging must therefore be somewhat avant garde, I don't mention it when I am interviewing . . . unless if it seems like it would enhance my value.

Via Regina, came across Jack Morton's newsletter, showcaseing an article on leveraging the power of blogs.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 04/21/2006
Networking Rule 150

Came across this blogger today. Some very good ideas for getting the most value out of networking.

But I'm not sure what Rule 150 is.....?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 04/21/2006

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Leadership Requires the Whole Person

The heart for loving others.
The stomach for courage to face adversity.
The head for critical thinking.
The eye for looking ahead.
The tongue for telling truth.
The ears for listening to others.
The hands for applauding the work of others.
The arms for embracing others.
The back for lifting others up.
The knees for bending in service to others.
The feet for the journey.
The soul for going down deep in search of meaning.
The spirit for soaring to the heights of higher purpose.


Posted by Terrence Seamon, Easter 2006

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Leadership and Organizational Jazz

My teenage son Dave (son number two), a Junior in high school, is studying jazz piano with a professor from Rutgers (who is also a rising star on the NY-area jazz scene).

Not being a musician myself, I watch in awe as my son is gaining in knowledge and skill on the keyboard. My wife, who is a professional classical musician, is also in awe.

As is well known, a core part of the jazz idiom is improvisation. Through my son, I have learned some things about improvisation in jazz, that I had not understood before, including:

- it is based on an underlying structure

- and it follows established conventions of orderliness

Dave said that, when a jazz group rehearses, they focus on the overall piece, the start and the finish, the sequence of players, and the way the piece should "feel" to the listener. When they perform for an audience, they play "in the moment," putting their own spin and interpretation on the piece, feeding off the musical ideas of one another, while the leadership varies from player to player throughout the performance.

Does this phenomenon have any bearing on leadership and organizations? I think so. It seems to me that there are many situations in business where improvisation is called for, particularly when reality throws an unanticipated curve.

But one of the lessons from jazz is that the ability to improvize is not something you can grab out of the air. Rather it appears to be based on intense rehearsal, clear roles, and scenario practice. This discipline provides a foundation upon which the versatile leader can choose various pathways.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 04/15, 2006

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Thinking about Leadership

Jim Murphy of the Mass Bay Organization Development network has posted an interesting entry at his blog about leadership and OD.

Here are some of the questions he has posed in the hope of starting some sharing:

~ What is the connection between leadership development and OD?

~ How should organizations develop leaders?

~ What does leadership actually mean?


What are your ideas?


Posted by Terrence Seamon, 04/12/2006

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Importance of Intangibles

In this thought-provoking new white paper, "Return on Intangibles" by David Creelman and Dave Ulrich, the authors present an outline for measuring, tracking, and reporting the ways in which HR and OD can contribute to the market value of a business.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 04/11/2006

Monday, April 10, 2006

Had a Hackathon Lately?

Has your company sponsored a hackathon?

It's not quite what the word might conjure up in your mind. Rather, it's a pretty daring way to unleash the talent in your organization . . . and watch what creativity can do to fire up the innovation engine of an organization.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 04/10/2006
Managers Failing?

PriceWaterhouse Coopers released the findings of a survey concluding that British managers are failing at training, succession planning and communication.

An excerpt from an artcle at Management Issues:

"British managers are often confused about who should take responsibility for training and development, fail to develop proper succession planning procedures and rely on the corporate "grapevine" for communication, according to a damning new survey. More than half of the companies polled identified learning and development as the key to improving people performance. Yet there was confusion about who should take primary responsibility for this. Almost half the business leaders surveyed believed their line managers did not spend enough time helping to train their people, while just five per cent of chief executives and finance directors saw training as the primary role for their HR function. Almost two-thirds recognised that failure to develop succession planning for senior roles would have a major impact. Yet 22 per cent had done little on this front and a worrying 41 per cent nothing at all, said the PWC survey."

Is this another case of "Don't blame the managers because they don't know how" or is it "Who's on first" confusion because HR's role is unclear?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 04/10/206