Showing posts from 2007

New Year's Actions, New Year's Questions

Have you started to think about your New Year's Resolutions for 2008? I have. Soon my wife and sons and I will put them on paper and hang them up on our kitchen door. We did that in early 2007 and it paid off: We accomplished every goal.

As I sit here on a peaceful Sunday afternoon, thinking about the future, it hit me: solo goals are not as powerful as group goals. It has dawned on me that my future is inextriably bound up with the future of others. So I had better not forget them when setting my goals.

So, minutes ago, I sent a Goat Kit to a needy family in another country. You can do that too, if you like.

It's a small thing that anyone can do. If enough of us did enough small things, we could move mountains.

So, my question for you is not "What are your New Year's Resolutions?" but "What are your New Year's Actions?"

Now is the time, my friends. Don't wait.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Dec 30, 2007

A Gift...for All

Here's something I came across that I offer to you as a gift.

~ A book by Paul Hawkin called Blessed Unrest, about the movement sweeping round the world to restore the natural balance of our planet

~ And a website, called Wiser Earth, designed as a companion to the book

May 2008 bring peace, harmony, and bounty for all people everywhere.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Dec 24, 2007

Season's Greetings!

How do I stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas?

For me, it comes down to one word: Gift. In the Christian story, gift is a central image:

~ God comes into the world as a gift of love and transformation.

~ The baby is an unexpected gift to Mary and Joseph.

~ And the Magi bring extraordinary gifts to the Holy Family.

So the best way to keep Christmas? Gift. Give gifts to others. Be a gift to others.

As a kid, I remember a TV commercial that said, "You don't have to be Jewish to like Levi's Rye Bread." I think the same goes for Christmas.

~ You don't have to be Christian to like Christmas.

PS - And for a virtual Christmas present, go on over to Lisa Haneberg's blog where you can download a free e-book on New Year's Resolutions for Leaders.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Dec 22, 2007

Handy Approach to Balancing Your Work and Life

At LinkedIn, someone asked: "I'm a very driven person. The downside to that is that I have a bad habit of letting work and thoughts of work take over my private life. Does anyone have any tips for balancing work and life?"

I'll share something I learned quite recently, that has changed how I look at this issue.

The Irish social philosopher Charles Handy says that "work life balance" is a false dichotomy, and because it is nonsense, it is the source of much of our trouble.

The better outlook, Handy says, is to see our life as one portfolio with several compartments, for example Work, Family, Vacation, Hobbies, Volunteerism, Church, etc. Though we spend our time on different things in the course of a year, it's all One Life. Your Life.

And you choose how you allocate your time and energy.

There's no reason, Handy says, to berate yourself. Anyone who is highly engaged ("driven") with their work, is going to put a lot of thought and energy int…

Are You A Thought Leader?

There's something high-falutin' about the term "thought leader."

It makes me think of the Monty Python sketch: "Look, if I went around calling myself Emperor, they'd put me away."

Now to the main question: What is the essence of thought leadership as a creative process?

~ Thought leadership opens your eyes, opens your mind to new ways of seeing and thinking

~ Thought leadership challenges your frameworks and assumptions

~ Thought leadership helps you to move from your present level to another level

~ Thought leadership catalyzes the creativity of others

Having said that, would I mind being referred to as a thought leader? Not at all.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Dec 16, 2007

Viral Change

Via Bloglines, I came across the blog of Dr. Leandro Herrero of the Chalfont Project, who has a series of short videos on such topics as leadership, change, work-life balance, and more.

One on change uses the analogy of a virus that infects the host. It reminded me of discussions we had at Teleport before the takeover by AT&T in 1998 where we agreed that we would be a "culture virus" injected into the far bigger company. Good idea, but it fizzled in that case.

Very good stuff from Herrero, and entertaining too. I'll be keeping an eye on this site for more.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Dec 14, 2007

Three Things You Like About Your Job

Someone asked: What are three things you like about your job?

- I have the opportunity to change the world

- I get to meet cool people

- I am learning every day

How about you?

*NOTE: 2010 Update here

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Dec 9, 2007

Doing Well and Doing Good

Came across this interesting comparison between Walmart and Costco.

Over the past five years, Costco has been growing and making money, while also being employee-friendly and socially conscious.

Apparently you can do well and do good at the same time.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Dec 4, 2007

Interesting People

One of the coolest parts about working at the American Management Association is all the interesting people you meet. In just the past few months, I have met quite a few, including:

~ Charles Handy, the social philosopher from across the pond.

~ Judith Bardwick whose latest book, One Foot Out the Door, tackles the "psychological recession" afflicting many workers today.

~ Erich Joachimsthaler of Vivaldi Partners whose book on innovation is hot!

~ Bob Nelson the guru of motivation.

~ Kenny Moore who I believe is at the forefront of a new movement in business organizations.

And it looks like I'll be meeting even more interesting folks in 2008.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Nov 27, 2007

Management With Soul

I foresee a workplace movement (it's actually already underway) that I call "Management With Soul" where organizations will operate in full recognition of our duty to stewardship:

- stewardship of the planet (environmental stewardship)

- stewardship of community (using corporate profit to fight hunger, poverty, and disease)

- stewardship of people (where the sanctity of the person is so central that policies are revolutionized to put the Employee and the Customer center-stage)

There are heralds of this movement including Kenny Moore and John Scherer.

Where is this beginning to happen today? Take a look at Best Buy and Semco.

What other ones are you aware of?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Nov 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Tomorrow, here in the U.S., we celebrate a holiday called Thanksgiving Day. It's a festive one, with turkey dinner, parades, and football games.

Unlike some other holidays, say Christmas or Mother's Day, there is no "to do" that you are supposed to fulfill, other than to eat some turkey at dinner time. That's actually too bad. Because I think Thanksgiving Day is a wonderful opportunity to do something very simple yet very powerful:

~ to give thanks

Sound good to you? If you want a couple of "to do" items, here are two that occur to me:

1. What are you thankful for? What gifts have you been given in your life? When is the last time you have said a prayer of thanks?

2. Who are you thankful for? Who has been a gift to you in your life? When is the last time you thanked them?

Doing these simple things could help change the world.

Added Note: I'd like to say a big "Thank You!" to Phil Gerbyshak for listing this blog in his Make It Great 125. Mu…

Charles Handy - Management Philosopher

I met management philosopher Charles Handy today, as he was in New York to record a webcast interview at AMA, as well as to visit Forbes and the Economist.

Now 75 years old, Handy (who travels with his wife Elizabeth, a professional photographer) is still going strong, appearing on radio and TV, giving interviews, and writing books (his latest is the autobiographical Myself and Other Important Matters). He was just in Boston at the Summit on the Future of the Corporation where he called for a change in the rules of the game, a change of mind, about the purpose of a business organization.

His interests range from business and management, to education and society . . . and the future. Some bits of Handy wisdom:

- On learning to manage: Don't expect to learn it by getting an MBA. Instead, get out there and start managing.

- On the function of schools: The school-day should end at noon, to be followed by a new faculty who engage the students in an afternoon of real projects, artisti…

The Disappointment Factor

In all the rhetoric about Talent Management, is anyone paying attention to what I call The Disappointment Factor?

In a nutshell, it's this: that new hires often find, after three to five months on the job, that the reality (of the job, of the boss, of the culture, etc.) is not the same as the promise they were sold in the interview process.

As a result, they feel disappointment, and may start to look for a way out and a new job.

What practices do you use to deal with The Disappointment Factor so that the investment you made in finding good people does not go down the drain through unwanted turnover?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Nov 11, 2007

Meeting Bloggers

Bloggers "know" a lot of other bloggers, but seldom get to actually meet them. So I was very happy to meet Annette Clancy the other day when she stopped by my office at AMA in New York for a cup of coffee and a chat.

Based in Ireland (land of some of my ancestors and a beautiful country), Annette is a psychotherapist and organizational consultant who blogs about business, the mind, creativity and the arts at Interactions. She was at the New York Regional Meeting of ISPSO (the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations) to share some thoughts on the Cyber System in the Mind.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Annette. I hope our paths cross again . . . perhaps in Dublin?

Someday, I hope to meet some other bloggers I have enjoyed "meeting" in the blogosphere, including Astha Parmar, Regina Miller, Gautam Ghosh, Lisa Haneberg, Alexander Kjerulf, Dick Richards, Jim Murphy, Terry Starbucker, and Mario Gastaldi. If you guys are ever in New York, call…

Positive Deviance and Diversity

Since the late 1970's, I have been wanting to attend a national Organization Development conference. Well, yesterday I finally went, albeit for just one day. But the trek from NJ to Baltimore was worth it, especially for the Positive Deviance presentation.

Co-presenters Jerry and Monique Sternin captivated the audience with a series of actual cases they had worked on, from reducing malnutrition in Vietnam to stopping MRSA in a hospital system in the U.S. They had a powerful message about solving seemingly intractable social problems: Somebody in the system probably has the solution already. These people are the "positive deviants" whose behaviors hold the key to solving the problem and changing the system.

This idea -- seek the positive deviants who have already implemented solutions somewhere in the system -- was so resonant for me that I found myself thinking of it in each of the subsequent sessions I attended.

It surfaced as an aha in the concurrent workshop that I …

Monsters and Change Agents

On a train ride the other morning, I found myself thinking of gangster Tony Soprano and his therapist Dr. Melfi.

As OD practitioners, are we ever like Dr. Melfi, approached by monsters that want our help? And if a monster approaches us, how do we decide?

~ Do we take the job because it would be interesting to study a monster?

~ Do we take the job because monsters are as deserving as anyone?

~ Do we take the job because maybe, just maybe, we can change the monster?

Anyone care to join my imaginary excursion?

As a child, I was a big fan of old monster movies like Frankenstein, the Wolfman, and Dracula. Though they scared the pants off me, I was strangely attracted to them. They were tragic in a way. Maybe I was drawn to them because of the monster inside of me?

In my last blog entry, I ended with the thought that change agents can sometimes be monsters, especially in the eyes of those affected by change.

This is a lesson for leaders who are driving change in their organizations: stay gr…

Too Much of a Good Thing

One of those lessons you learn early in life is that you can have too much of a good thing. Too much candy, you get cavities. Too much ice cream, a stomach ache. Too much booze, a hangover.

Here's an article (by way of Francis Wade, the Caribbean Organization Development consultant and blogger) about a wonderful windfall of change that came to a town in upstate New York, that became "too much of a good thing."

One townsperson said it well:

"Anytime you have this much change, you lose something too."

This change management story illustrates that even the best-intentioned change agent can end up being seen as a monster.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Oct 19, 2007

Sustainability and Green

Yes, it's October 15 and that means it's Blog Action Day, created to mobilize bloggers in support of the environment.

Over the weekend, I came upon an interesting blog post about sustainability from Hu Yoshida, the CTO of Hitachi Data Systems, where he says:

~ Sustainability is about planning, investing, and creating positive results or “better living”

I like that. We need to put a lot more focus on better living for all people everywhere.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Oct 15, 2007

Business and Spirituality

Since spirituality is part of life, it is therefore part of business.

But first it would help to talk about what we mean by spirituality.

Number one, we are not talking about religion. Rather, our spirituality is a layer of our nature. The four layers are: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

The spiritual layer of our nature is about such important questions as:
- Identity (Who am I?)
- Purpose (Why am I here?)
- Meaning (What does my life mean?)
- Imagination (What are the possibilities?)
- Gifts (What are my strengths and talents?)
- Stewardship (How can I make this world a better place because I was here?)

And this dimension of spirituality is quickly becoming a major issue around the world as people are questioning the decisions and actions of leaders. For example:

- Is war the only way to settle differences?
- Can we not channel our intelligence and energies into waging peace?
- Aren't we smart enough to solve issues like hunger and poverty?

Can you see how these questi…

Go With Your Strengths

I am in the middle of watching the new dvd from Marcus Buckingham called Trombone Player Wanted, where he presents some of his basic ideas on what goes into individual performance and success. It's really good.

As a fan of Buckingham's for years, since his first book, First Break All the Rules, came out in 1999, I think he represents a paradigm shift that is going on all around us. He is a leading figure in the shift, as is David Cooperrider and the other folks in the field of Appreciative Inquiry, and the Positive Psychology folks such as Martin Seligman.

The shift is movement away from deficit thinking, and toward abundance thinking. In deficit thinking we look at a person's (or organization's) weaknesses and try to fix them. In abundance thinking, we look at a person's (or organization's) strengths and try to grow and sustain them.

This new way of looking at people and organizations feels like the right framework to me.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Oct 11, 200…

Blog Action Day!

Blog Action Day is on Monday October 15th. On that day, the organizers are asking all participating bloggers to blog about the environment.

"Our aim is to get people thinking, discussing, questioning and talking about the environment, from every angle, niche, viewpoint and personality."

It's a good cause. If we don't care for our planet, who will?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Oct 9, 2007

What Do We Mean By "Done"?

Ever think about levels of doneness?

Chefs do. Software developers do. Project managers do, too.

In my first job in the Training field, I worked closely with ISD (instructional systems design) specialists who had come into the nuclear power field from the U.S. Navy. They were a merry bunch.

One of the things they used to joke about was "levels of doneness." I wish I could recall their way of categorizing the levels (maybe someone will leave a comment?), but there were at least three:

~ Done: At this level, you stick a fork in the cake and, if it comes out clean, you take it out of the oven.

~ Done Done: At this level, you box the cake and deliver it to the customer.

~ Done Done Done: At this level, the customer has a big happy smile on his face as he orders another cake.

All done means the case is closed, the matter is put to rest, and you are off to something new.

In your line of work, how do you know when something is done?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Oct 5, 2007

Age and Relevance

"Age has nothing to do with relevance!" declares Sandy Wells on the Organization Development Network listserv, in the context of discussing "old" models that still have use in today's organizations.

I discovered one of those myself on the train ride last night. While perusing a book about the great management teacher Peter Drucker, I read about a German military figure from World War I named Captain Adolf Von Schell who wrote the book Battle Leadership.

In his book, Von Schell describes the secret to leadership and motivation: you must treat your people individually.

I had to smile. As I keep moving north of age 50, one of the bitter pills to swallow is that our culture tends to think, "If it is (or you are) old, it's (you're) out-moded and irrelevant."

I'm here to tell you that Sandy Wells is right.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Oct 3, 2007

Change: Management or Leadership?

I'm starting to think that a whole area of practice, namely Change Management, is mis-named.

For years now, people have argued back and forth about Management vs Leadership. Some have settled (at least in their own minds) the distinction as one that hinges on people: you manage things (or processes) and you lead people.

Though I don't buy it totally, I'll work with that.

Also for years, people have wondered about, and studied, why change fails. Many have come to the realization that change works, or falls, on one factor: people.

OK, stay with me here.

If you put those two things together, that you lead people and that successful change hinges on people, then why don't we have a field of practice called Change Leadership?

And if we did, would it make a difference?

So how would you vote? Change: Management or Leadership?

Added Note: Lisa Haneberg has posted an entry on her blog about this.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Sept 30, 2007

Are You A "Slow Learner?"

I have always considered myself a creative type. In the business world, I have long suspected that I was a square peg. But reading a book on the train the other morning, I am now convinced.

The book is Weird Ideas That Work by Bob (The No A__hole Rule) Sutton. In Chapter Three, "Hire Slow Learners," he describes some personality research on creative types that found three intriguing characteristics:

- these people tend to be "low self monitors," abrasive mavericks who tend to be the opposite of "yes men," and are often seen as "pains in the a__" by others

- they prefer to avoid social interaction, maybe a bit shy

- they are likely to have high self-esteem, and may seem arrogant to others

He calls these people "slow learners" because they are slow to conform to the organization's culture or way of doing things.

As I read this chapter, I had a strong aha. These are aspects of myself that I have wrestled with forever.

As an Organizat…

Reaching a Goal, Feeling Good

When you reach a goal, it feels good. I reached one today and I'm floating on euphoria right now.

When I joined the American Management Association back in April, one of the things I said I wanted to do was to bring Kenny Moore in to do something on leadership and the spirit. Well, at noon today, with my colleague Bettina Neidhardt (also a big fan of Kenny Moore), we did a webcast with Kenny, and it went very well. (Soon it will be available in the AMA webcast archive. Check the AMA site next week, if interested.)

So why am I so happy? Kenny Moore (and others like him) has an important message for leaders of business organizations about awakening joy, meaning, and commitment in the workplace. In today's little webcast, we touched over 700 people. In the coming weeks and months, we will touch many more. And as the ripples spread, the message will reach many organizations.

Every once in a while you do something good that, while small, can have big effects.

Posted by Terrence Se…

My Signature Strengths

At Authentic Happiness, I took a free online survey to find out my Signature Strengths:

~ My Top Strength is Spirituality, sense of purpose, and faith

You have strong and coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe. You know where you fit in the larger scheme. Your beliefs shape your actions and are a source of comfort to you.

~ Second is Creativity, ingenuity, and originality

Thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who you are. You are never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible.

~ Third is Capacity to love and be loved

You value close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated. The people to whom you feel most close are the same people who feel most close to you.

~ Fourth is Leadership

You excel at the tasks of leadership: encouraging a group to get things done and preserving harmony within the group by making everyone feel included. You do a good job organizing acti…

What is good Leadership Development?

This posting about Leadership Development, at Be Excellent, stimulates a number of different thoughts.

For now, let's focus on two statements:

~ "Most American businesses don't understand the difference between management training and leadership development."

~ "There is a big difference between management training and leadership development."

What do most American businesses consider a "leadership development program" to be? And why would they make an investment in it?

Contrarian OD Guy Kenny Moore has said that much of what passes for leadership development is a whole lot of hooey.

While I don't fully subscribe to the hooey school of thought, I definitely appreciate his point, that a lot of leadership development is crap.

So then: What is good Leadership Development?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Sept 21, 2007

Looking Up

Though I have lived near New York City all my life, I never tire of looking up and gawking at the eclectic mix of architectural styles in the Big Apple. I know that habit qualifies me as a hick out-of-towner who doesn't know any better. But I just love looking up when I walk the streets of Manhattan.

A couple days ago, at our annual parish picnic, I was listening to a friend's tale of woes. As his troubles spilled out, he seemed to brighten a bit. Then he said, "When I used to work in the city, Terry, I would always come out of the subway and look up. If you don't look up, all you see is the grime under your feet. Looking up is better for the soul. You see so much more when you do that."

He seemed to feel better after sharing that bit of wisdom.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Sept 20, 2007

Managing the Unexpected

I am reading a book called Managing the Unexpected by the great Karl (Sensemaking) Weick and Kathleen Sutcliffe.

In my line of work (Training and Organization Development), I am surrounded by theories and books on how to manage. Most have something to say, but don't really grab you. Seldom do I pick up a management book that I can say reads like an urgent high-level thriller!

This is because Weick and Sutcliffe are looking at HROs, High Reliability Organizations: organizations that by their nature must constantly anticipate and adapt to surprising changes in conditions, often ones that operate on the razor's edge of life and death. Hospital emergency rooms, flight operators on aircraft carriers, firefighting teams, first responders.

And what's great about Weick and Sutcliffe's book is that they translate the practices of these highly adaptive organizations into principles. So no matter what kind of organization you work for, from making donuts to teaching seminars, you…

Yes, I Am Now On Facebook

Yes, I recently signed on to facebook, and my teenage sons are embarrassed.

Sorry, guys.

But networking boomers like me are trying all kinds of new platforms (e.g., ning) for connecting globally with others.

By the way, on ning, Loretta Donovan has set up a social networkfor facilitators, and within it I have set up a group for anyone interested in Sharing Wisdom. Feel free to join in!

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Sept 13, 2007

How to Fail

Great blog post by Dustin Wax (is that a real name?) on how to fail spectacularly . . . and come out ahead.

Growing up, we are told that failure is bad. In school, failure is an "F," something you do not want to show your parents.

But how many famous and successful people can you name that failed spectacularly at one time or another? Lots of them!

So the secret to failure, I think, is learning. As Dustin writes:

"Failure is the most important learning tool we humans have at our disposal...we should embrace our failures, milking them for everything they’re worth. Ask yourself what you can take away from your failures, what you’re being given by them."

Failure is a gift.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Sept 12, 2007

Positive Thinking Day!

Positive Thinking Day is coming on Thursday September 13. At Kirsten Harrell's blog she says:

"Positive Thinking Day - September 13th - is a day to celebrate the benefits of positive thinking. We believe that by helping people change their thoughts we can make a lasting and positive difference in this world."

How would you complete this sentence:

~ What the world needs now is . . .

I'd say, we need more positive thinking, more affirmation, more recognition, more caring, more hugs, and more love.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Sept. 11, 2007

Putting Things Into Perspective

A dear old friend just died a few days ago. His family asked me to give the eulogy; I guess they were too heartbroken to do it.

The funeral Mass was held yesterday and I'm relieved to report that I was able to get through it without breaking up. I did choke up toward the end, but after a pause, I was able to finish.

At the wake the other night, someone said that death is a great clarifier. When you lose a loved one or a friend, it stops you in your tracks. Death puts everything in your life into perspective.

It reminded me of writer Carlos Castaneda's character, Yaqui brujo Don Juan Matus, who said that the precursor to seeing is stopping the world:

"A warrior thinks of his death when things become unclear. The idea of death is the only thing that tempers our spirit."

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Sept 7, 2007

The Beat Goes On

I learned something today while driving to the hardware store and listening to NPR. American writer and poet Jack Kerouac was Catholic. And the term he coined, "Beats," was derived by him from The Beatitudes.

The Beatitudes, in the Gospel of St. Matthew, are a series of blessings uttered by Jesus at the opening of the Sermon on the Mount.

In a piece by writer Peter Gilmour:

"Jack Kerouac was enchanted by the mysticism of the Beatitudes. He had 'faith in the idea of the holy outcast.'"

Kerouac once said of his classic work, On the Road: "It was really a story about two Catholic buddies roaming the country in search of God. And we found him.

Explaining the word Beat, Kerouac said: "Beat doesn't mean tired, or bushed, so much as it means beato, the Italian for beatific: to be in a state of beatitude, like Saint Francis, trying to love all life, trying to be utterly sincere with everyone, practicing endurance, kindness, cultivating joy of heart. How…

The Tao Manager

A couple mornings ago, I looked at a job ad that appeared to say Tao Manager. Actually, it said Tax Manager, but I was half asleep and didn't have my eye-glasses on yet.

But what an interesting notion, eh? That companies might have a Tao Manager. What would a Tao Manager actually do?

I read that the Chinese written character for Tao means "the path of the warrior."

Maybe a Tao Manager would help the organization...

- to follow a path in harmony with the flow of the universe
- to find a spiritual awareness of its place in the world, and
- to know when to act and when not to act.

Are there any Tao Managers out there?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, August 29, 2007

OD and the Arts

Jim Murphy, at the Mass Bay OD Blog, has just published an entry about a session they recently had where they looked at the application of the arts to Organization Development practice. How cool is that? I wish I could have been there. (Hey, NJ and NY ODNs: Why don't we do a similar session?)

Reminds me of my excellent Masters degree coursework in Creative Arts Education at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education many moons ago. We examined how poetry, music, drawing, and movement can be ways to enhance learning.

I have often found interesting applications of the arts to OD work, including drawing pictures to visualize the future or to visualize the path through change.

In Barry Johnson's model of Polarity Management he describes having groups use the floor to draw their dilemmas and using physical movement to experience the shifts from one side of the polarity to the other.

In 2000 to 2001, a NJ-based energy company won the ODI Silver Bowl Award for an OD Project for using mu…

The Social Construction of Organizations

A posting by Lisa Haneberg on the social construction of organizational culture got me thinking of one of my favorite college texts, Berger and Luckmann's The Social Construction of Reality.

An organization's culture is certainly socially constructed. And the work is never ending. It's going on right now in fact.

The work began when the organization was founded. The footings and frameworks for the culture were put in place by the first leaders. As the years went by, all of the succeeding employees left their mark.

How about you? What mark will you leave on your organization? What difference are you making right now in "the way things are done" around your organization?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, August 23, 2007

Ora, Labora, & Lege

I just got back from ten days of travel in Europe. We had a terrific time, visiting Prague, Vienna, and several other wonderful places, including Budejovice (the original home of Budweiser beer), Regensburg (where Pope Benedict hails from)...

...and the Benedictine monastery of Melk on the Danube River in Austria. There the monks endeavor to live the Rule of Benedict: Pray, Work, and Read. And seek God each and every day.

There is a lovely garden at Melk, designed for contemplative walks, with an interesting stone sculpture that says that the kingdom of Heaven is within you.

Not a bad approach to life, I'd say. Maybe Benedict's rule should be more widespread.

Added Note: Astha asked to see some pics. Click here.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, August 17, 2007

OD on the Inside

Yesterday I had the good fortune of being a presenter at the Academy of Management in Phildelphia, Pennsylvania. It was the 2007 Annual Meeting called "Doing Well By Doing Good."

I was part of a three person team with Julie Smendzuik-O'Brien and Bev Scott (who has actually "written the book"!)addressing "Good Consulting on the Inside: Managing the Function, the Work and the Self."

A small but very interested crowd of doctoral students, academics, and external OD consultants gathered for our session. A few of our key points:

- Internal consultants require a somewhat different set of competencies than external consultants do.

- Internal consultants must continuously work on building good relationships within their organization; understand the business that they are in; and take good care of themselves so that they don't burn out.

- Internal consultants face many challenges (including organizational politics and demanding clients), but also have the op…

Blessings from My Barber

This morning, I stopped at my barbershop for a haircut. My barber, Otis, was there as usual. As before, he cut my hair the way I like it, short. But today he gave me something extra, a blessing.

I had mentioned to him that I'll be leaving on vacation soon. So, as he was brushing the little hairs off my neck and shirt collar, he said, "And blessings to you and your wife for a safe vacation."

Being a spiritual person, I was touched by that.

It reminded me of my grandfather, George T. Seamon, who used to softly mutter blessings as he encountered people throughout the day. He was blessing people all the time, children playing, workers doing a task, neighbors sweeping their porches.

I think this is a much-needed practice in the world today. More people blessing other people would have some beneficial effects, I think...healing some of the hurt, softening some of the hard hearts, and soothing the stressed and weary.

Blessings to you who are reading this.

Posted by Terrence S…

Boost Your EBITDA

Want to boost your earnings? Invest in people:

"By excelling in talent management, the average Fortune 500 company can generate a nearly 15 percent improvement in earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), netting almost $400 million annually, according to new research from strategic advisory firm The Hackett Group."

So how would a company do that? Talent management covers a lot of ground, but some key pieces that Hackett identified are:

- hiring
- training
- performance management, and
- organizational effectiveness

I would add two more:

- corporate culture and
- employee engagement

Posted by Terrence Seamon, August 2, 2007

Human Work?

A couple months ago, I wrote about forgiveness at work.

This morning on my train ride to New York, I started reading John Scherer's book Work and the Human Spirit, where he has a great line:

"...the quality of work we do cannot be separated from the quality of 'self' we manage to create in our lives."

What is this "quality of self?" And how do we find it?

That's what John's work has been about for over thirty years. His book (which I strongly recommend) is a wonderfully uplifting and moving description of how he has worked with many people on these questions.

It's a process of growing self-awareness, of shifting some things around at a deep level within the self, and an acceptance of who we are meant to be and what we are meant to do.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, July 27, 2007

Listening to the 95 Year-Old You

Do you ever wish you had your own Yoda or Gandalf to give you wise advice and guide you through life?

Leadership and coaching guru Marshall Goldsmith says that you already have such a guide. Your wise old coach is right there, inside of your imagination.

Goldsmith has a column in Business Week, called "The Best Coaching You Will Ever Get," where he suggests a way to find the secret to success and happiness:

"...imagine that you are 95 years old and you are just about to die. But before you take your last breath, you are being given a wonderful, beautiful gift: the ability to travel back in time and talk with the person who is reading this column. The 95-year-old you has been given the chance to help the you of today to have a great career and, much more important, to have a great life."

Wow, what a great exercise. What would the 95 year old You say to you right now?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, July 25, 2007

Consultants as Detectives

At Gautam Ghosh's blog, his guest blogger R. Karthik has an interesting piece about consultants as detectives, where he says:

Ever wondered what (competencies) on earth could a consulting practice be built around if it were to deal with crime detection? Arthur Conan Doyle-the creator of Sherlock Holmes describes his profession as one of a 'Consultant Detective.'

When people stood amazed at his success in solving mysterious crimes, he would state in a matter-of-fact tone: "It is my business to know what others do not."

Reminds me of something that Fritz Steele wrote about many years ago (in Consulting for Organizational Change, 1981), where he mused that, if a consultant is like a detective, then the client is like a suspect.

Hmmm...Does that mean that a consultant's job is suspection? Is that even a word?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, July 23, 2007

Stop Making Your Employees So Happy!

Analyst to CEO of Costco: "Your results to date are very impressive. They would be even better if you weren't so generous to your employees."

Sounds crazy, right? Never happen?

Apparently it has, as Alexander Kjerulf points out.

How nutty is it to say to a company "Stop making your employees so happy" when that very strategy is paying off for the organization and its customers?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, July 17, 2007

Story Walking

At my church, each Spring when the Pastoral Council is commissioned, the group goes on retreat for a few days to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

One of my favorite memories of the Council retreat is the Emmaus Walk where, in pairs, the Council members walk the grounds of the retreat center for over an hour. The only guideline we are given for the Emmaus Walk is to walk together in peace.

Everyone who has ever been on a Pastoral Council retreat mentions the Emmaus Walk as one of the standouts of the experience. What makes it work so well? Since it is almost totally free of structure, the lives of the walkers can emerge and flourish in the walking. The walk becomes a sharing of each person's story.

(For those interested, the Emmaus Walk concept is derived from scripture. Luke 24:13-35 where it says: "Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.")

Can you envision ap…

Friday Blogosphere Roundup...

Spiritual OD Guy Kenny Moore (co-author of the Ceo and the Monk) has a new blog to further spread his wonderful workplace wisdom.

IT blogger Mike Schaffner's latest, Take the Test, may become a classic. If you are in IT, read it.

And, in the category of Very Exciting for Me Personally: I am a guest blogger at McArthur's Rant. Thanks, Scott, for the invitation to write about Karl Weick's concept of sensemaking.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, July 13, 2007

Engaging Brand, Engaged Employees

David Taylor, at Where's the Sausage? (great blog title), has an attention-grabbing entry called Employee Engagement is DEAD, where he says:

"...the biggest driver of pride in the company was working on "products and services are seen as the best", and that in turn, proud employees were more loyal, put in extra effort and recommend the company's products and services."

Bottom Line: The key to engaging your employees is to have an engaging brand.

Some other recent blog postings on engagement:

- Systematic HR on a Harvard Business study that includes employee engagement in a list of five human capital drivers

- Anna Farmery, of The Engaging Brand, on how to boost profits by engaging employees

- Some of theoutcomes of the 12th Annual ORC Employee Research Conference in London

- Ann Bares, of Compensation Force, on Towers Perrin study of how "work environment" affects employee engagement.

Added Note: And here is a podcast series from Ireland on employee enga…

The Future of Coaching

A recent article about coaching, by Marlene Prost in HR Executive Online, titled HR Using Less Executive Coaching, is causing a bit of a stir.

Prost writes: "Is the heyday of corporate executive coaching over? Apparently so, according to a recent survey that found companies are cutting back on using coaches.

"In its 2007 annual survey, Novations Group Inc., the Boston-based consulting and training organization, asked 322 HR professionals how much they rely on executive coaches. Of those who use coaches, one-third said that they rely less on them than in the past."

One third. That's big. Is the coaching wave starting to ebb?

Maybe companies are cutting back on some of the high-priced executive coaches, but I think a shift is taking place in favor of internal coaching.

Companies are gradually coming around to some important realizations about coaching:

1. that it's not just for the C-level (for example see Charan and Hunt & Weintraub)

2. that is can make a measura…

Sharing Bread Together

OD Guy Kenny Moore once pointed out that the word "company" comes from "sharing bread together."

He wrote: "At its core, company is about meaning, purpose and mutual support. Many of today’s businesses had their origins around like-minded individuals coming
together to support and nurture each other in starting a labor of love."

That gave me one of those "Whoa!" moments. How many companies have an awareness of this? How many have lost this sense of company...and lost their way as a result?

What are the implications for managers?

Moore points out a connection to employee engagement: "It is when people feel a sense of belonging and purpose that they more willingly contribute not only their hands but also their heads and hearts to bring about business success."

What are the implications for Organization Development practitioners?

Moore suggests that long-term organizational success is "less about the bottom line and more about establ…

Desire Motivates Everything.

Following up my recent entry on engagement, I came across some additional items on ways that managers can motivate employees more effectively.

Blogger Cheri Baker, at The Enlightened Manager, wonders why engagement works and concludes that "Desire motivates everything." I could not agree more! Reminds me of my Pop Warner football coach who used to yell at us, "You gotta have desire. Without desire, you won't win." As a kid, I was clueless as to what he meant. Now, over forty years later, I get it!

Blogger David Zinger, at David Zinger on Employee Engagement, says that disengagement can be a good thing! Good point.

Finally, Caribbean blogger Francis Wade's latest newsletter is all about employee engagement and how managers can intervene more effectively.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, July 3, 2007

Satir on Change

A few months back, consultant Stuart Scott of consulting firm Guinnen MacRath, told me about a change model developed by family therapy pioneer Virginia Satir. Today I came across a blog entry by Sandy Kristin Piderit on this topic, where she provides a link to a nice article by Dale Emeryon how Satir's thinking can be applied to organizational change.

What I like about the Satir model is that it rings right to me, especially:

~ The Foreign Element. The thing that disturbs the equilibrium and triggers chaos. It can be almost anything. A takeover or a downsizing. A birth or a death.

~ The Transforming Idea. The gem of a notion that occurs during the chaos which provides the pathway forward to new learning, reintegration, and beyond.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, July 2, 2007

Mapping Your Future

At LinkedIn Answers, futurist Rohit Talwar asked what questions should organizations be asking to map their futures. I offered the following:

~ Why are we here?

~ What are we called to be?

~ What are the possibilities for what we could become?

~ What do we want to be when we grow up?

So...what questions would you ask?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, July 2, 2007

SMART Goals No More!

Familiar with the old SMART approach to goal setting? Ever felt like it lets you down sometimes? Wondering if there is an alternative way to set goals?

I just came across a new approach from management prof Sandy Kristin Piderit at her new blog Work-Life Chronicles. She calls it START NOW and her approach has a lot to admire, including:

S = Support. What a great insight. Very few of us achieve our goals without the support of others.

R = Reflection. Sandy balances action with taking a few steps back to gain some distance and see the bigger picture.

W = Wise Action. This may be my favorite part. She calls wisdom the "hidden prerequisite" in the old SMART model.

For me, wisdom is what separates the truly right goals from the rest.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, June 30, 2007

Design Your Own President

Consultant and author Karl Albrecht has an interesting survey right now where he is seeking input on the traits most required in a U.S. President.

He says: "I'm not trying to tell people how to pick a president; I'm only trying to help them think about it more clearly."

Why? Because when several "millions of people pull levers to express whatever definitions they're carrying around in their nervous systems," it leads to a decision with world-wide effects.

Here are the traits I wrote in:

- Honesty; Speaks the truth in plain terms

- Keeps his or her commitments; does not over promise and under deliver

- Listens and acknowledges what he or she has heard; seeks to hear all points of view, even that of the "enemy"

- Seeks participation in decision making from a broad array of stakeholders

- Understands history and learns from it

- Takes care to get to know and understand the major players on the world stage

- Is true to the founding values & principles …

Motivated! Engaged! Committed!

Thanks to Gautam, I found an article by Regina Miller on engagement where she wonders about the differences between employee engagement and employee commitment.

Whatever happened to employee motivation? No longer relevant?

Regina makes a good point when she says: "Your employer brand depends on your employees as advocates about how excited they are to work in an organisation as cool as yours– that cares about engaging people at work and that at the end of the day relies on engaged and committed employees to make the brand come to life for customers."

Do managers know how to do this? Do they have the leadership skills to motivate, engage, and build this level of commitment?

Added Note: Read this related piece by Caribbean blogger Francis Wade.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, June 27, 2007

Changing Our Minds

Blogger Tom Haskins at growing changing learning creating, has an entry about the next wave in meetings of the mind.

I like his point about publishing confused possibilities. I do that a lot in meetings where I'll grab a marker and start scribbling on a flipchart or a white board and invite the others to join in.

Though it's messy, it ultimately helps you arrive at clear concepts and agreed upon solutions.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, June 22, 2007

Happiness Formula

We had a guest speaker at church this morning, a sister from Africa, who shared the following with us:

If you want to be happy for an hour, take a nap.
If you want to be happy for a day, go fishing.
If you want to be happy for a week, take a vacation.
If you want to be happy for a month, get married.
If you want to be happy for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, help other people.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, June 17, 2007

Workplace Dreams

Do you ever dream about the future workplace? The workplace as you'd like to see it?

The other day at LinkedIn Answers, blogger Scott McArthur got me going with his question about HR 2.0.

What I'd like to see is the emergence of the employee-generated organization. An organization awash in communities, wikis, blogs, discussion forums, coffee klatches, webinars, idea fairs, speed geeking, un-conferences etc.

Would that be HR 2.0?

I think most current HR depts would be afraid of so much wikiality, socializing, hob nobbing, and percolating.

But I think it would be a great place to work.

What are your dreams of the workplace?

posted by Terrence Seamon, June 9, 2007

Cool Caribbean Blog

Management consultant and blogger Francis Wade has a cool blog called Chronicles from a Caribbean Cubicle where he has a freewheeling series going on about interventions.

He blogs about one of his passions: "making positive change a reality in Caribbean corporations and countries through my company, Framework Consulting."

One of my dreams is to go to a Caribbean island for vacation, sit on an uncrowded beach, with a good book and a cold drink nearby.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, June 8, 2007

The Best Reason to Blog

It makes you smarter.

That works for me.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, May 30, 2007

Hatred in the Workplace

It has been a while since I stopped by the Mass Bay OD blog. Blogger Jim Murphy has an interesting question-of-the-month going on about hatred between employees and managers.

Hatred is a strong word. When hatred is present in a relationship, I'd think that it was because something happened that sparked and fueled such a strong emotion.

It could have been...

- a betrayal

- an act of unfairness

- a decision that may have helped some, but hurt others

OD consultant and writer Bruce Katcher recently spoke at a Mass Bay OD meeting on this subject and facilitated a discussion of the OD practitioner's role in situations where hatred is felt.

My two cents would be that hatred is a strong flame. First, the heat has to be turned down, way down. Cool things off.

Then start a process of mediated dialogue intended to help each party to understand the other.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, May 27, 2007

Comfusionists Unite!

At the Group Facilitation listserv, Netherlands-based change consultant Jan Lelie coined a new term, comfusionist, to describe those of us in the change facilitation field who work to bring people and ideas together.

As Jan put it:

"Fusion is already 'coming together' and then we add 'com' to add the 'communality'."

I love it!

Posted by Terrence Seamon, May 24, 2007

Disorienting Dilemmas

Someone at work asked me the other day to explain "disorienting dilemmas."

Not having heard that phrase before, I did a google search. There were a lot of hits all pointing to Dr. Jack Mezirow and his theory of Transformative Learning.

At one site, disorienting dilemmas are defined like this:

"Catalysts for transformative learning are "disorienting dilemmas", situations which do not fit one's preconceived notions. These dilemmas prompt critical reflection and the development of new ways of interpreting experiences."

If I get this concept correctly, disorienting dilemmas are stressful events that destabilize some aspect of a person's mental schematic, causing them to "lose their bearings," and forcing them into a mode where they need to reconfigure their thinking and perhaps even their values.

Perhaps that's what Paul experienced on the road to Damascus?

A couple years ago, I participated in a leadership development program at work that …

Problems and Predicaments

A few weeks ago, I attended a presentation given by Kenny Moore, an author and internal OD consultant at Keyspan, an energy utility in New York. In a talk about leadership, change, and the role of the internal organization development practitioner, one of his points had to do with problems vs predicaments.

Problems have fixes. Problems have solutions. Predicaments, in contrast, have no clear cut answer; rather there are various possible answers, all with upsides and downsides.

Organizations have both, problems and predicaments. So they need:

- people who are good problem solvers. Typically these are technicians, people on the front-line.

- people who are comfortable in the ambiguous world of predicaments. These are leaders. They can operate on any level inside an organization.

After hearing Kenny Moore's talk, I subsequently heard another talk where the speaker, Billie Alban, recommended a book called Polarity Management by Barry Johnson, which deals with how to manage unsolvable …

70/20/10 and Kashkaval

While attending a leadership development conference yesterday in New York City, sponsored by the Conference Board, another attendee leaned over and asked me in a whisper, "Are all of these conferences so dry and boring?"

With a smile, I chose to answer, "Yes, they are."

I chose that answer rather than a more elaborate explanation because it would be impolite to carry on a side conversation while a speaker was on stage.

I also chose that answer because I recognize that what one attendee finds "dry and boring," the next attendee will find fascinating. That next attendee was me.

A couple of observations:

- There is not much that is new in leadership development. Much of what I heard yesterday, I heard the last time I attended a Conference Board conference on leadership development many years ago.

- One not-new idea, however, was a standout gem that several speakers alluded to: the 70/20/10 concept from Center for Creative Leadership, that says:

~ 70% of leadership…

Mobilizing Large Groups for Change

Through the New York Organization Development Network, I had the good fortune of meeting OD legend Billie Alban. Together with Barbara Bunker, Billie has "written the book" so to speak on whole system change in organizations. Their latest book pulls together some of the leading methods in large scale change.

In a brief presentation, Billie offered us a great deal of wisdom regarding organizational change, including:

- You need both the head and the heart

- Our job is to help people to "sit down and reason together"

- To make change sustainable, take the process you used in the meeting design and carry it back into the organization

- Help people to learn how to have better discussions

- OD is about "injecting hope" into organizations (with a nod to Herb Shepherd)

Hope that things can be better.

I like that idea.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, May 4, 2007

Favorite Podcast Spots?

I like podcasts. Now that I am commuting by train to work in New York City, I am planning to listen to them more.

Here is a posting of favorite podcast sites for management topics.

One other I would add is Manager-Tools.

Do you have any others?

Added Note 5/16/07: The American Management Association (AMA) is now rolling out a podcast page.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, May 3, 2007 work?

Here's a question for you: Name a word you almost never hear of in connection with the workplace?

While there are probably many answers, the one that I'd name is forgiveness.

If someone drops the ball and fails to meet expectations, what do we do? If someone misses a due date, what do we do? If someone screws up, what do we do?

Forgive them?

What a different workplace it would be.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, May 2, 2007

"Socialize That"

Some years ago, when I was with a telecom company in New York, I learned a concept, socializing, that has proven to have tremendous value in change management.

I remember my co-worker (and mentor) Thad saying, "I'll go see so-and-so and socialize the idea with him."

When I first heard it uttered, I was baffled by it. But I soon figured it out.

The concept of "socializing" refers to the interpersonal communication process of building support for an idea or course of action by visiting with key stakeholders one at a time.

It takes time and seems slow, but it's an investment that pays off in winning support and commitment to a change.

Added Note on July 2: Nemawashi

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 04/21/07

The End of Kongo Gumi

When the world's oldest continuously operating family business closes shop, it makes sense to stop and note its passing.

Revisiting the Nine Dots

At Narayan Mantri's blog, there is an entry that revisits the old "nine dot" problem, which gave rise to the oft-used expression "thinking outside of the box."

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 04/19/07

Technology of Joy, Meaning, and Commitment

Through the NJODN, I had the good fortune of hearing Kenny Moore speak. As an internal consultant who says his job description is "awakening joy, meaning, and commitment in the workplace," he does organization development, change management, and leadership development for Keyspan Energy in New York.

An ex-priest, poet and artist, Moore is the bestselling author of The CEO and the Monk - One Company's Journey to Profits and Purpose.

In a brief presentation, Moore offered a lot of nourishment for the spirit, including:

- OD is concerned with predicaments, where there are no clear solutions. The challenge: find the right questions and create movement.

- OD is about mystery: Shut up and enter in with awe.

- OD is the practice of the impossible. It's a rare place. Not a lot of competition. Almost any small action can have big returns. You can't fail.

I like that approach to the impossible.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 04/13/07

You Gotta Manage Knowledge, Savvy?

In a LinkedIn correspondence earlier today with a customer-focused project manager named John Kingston regarding knowledge management, I had an "aha" moment when he pointed out that the French word savoir means knowledge.

I thought, Savoir must be where the slang term savvy originated.

So I looked it up in the Online Etymology Dictionary:

~ Savvy - 1785, as a noun, "practical sense, intelligence;" also a verb, "to know, to understand;" W. Indies pidgin borrowing of Fr. savez(-vous)? "do you know?" or Sp. sabe (usted) "you know," both from V.L. *sapere, from L. sapere "be wise, be knowing" (see sapient).

Could this idea of savvy --the practical street-smarts and wisdom in an organization that facilitate sensemaking-- be a path to a breakthrough in knowledge management?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 04/09/07

KUBA to Change

Blogger Fraser Kelton, at Disruptive Thoughts, offers KUBA as a change management tool:

K Know

U Understand

B Believe

A Act

He says: "It deconstructs nicely - individuals can’t act until they believe. They won’t believe until they understand. And they can’t understand until they know."

I like it.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 04/08/07

The Pope's BHAG

Just got back from the Easter Vigil Mass at my church. What a great celebration! Twenty one neophytes were welcomed tonight.

As I basked in the warmth of my faith community, I thought about Pope Benedict. In today's NY Times magazine, there is an article about how he has set a goal to re-Christianize Europe, to save it from the slide that started long ago toward relativism.

What a BHAG! To save the West by helping it find its way back to its authentic Christian roots.

I'm afraid I don't have much enthusiasm for his goal. Even if he could lead the West back to its roots (which I seriously doubt is possible), would it be worth the trip?

The world is headed to its future, not to its past. The Church needs to face the perils and the promise of the here-and-now. It needs to take a leadership role that will help everyone find paths to peace and justice.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 04/08/07

RIP: Paul Watzlawick

I just read at the Change Management blog, that Austrian-born psychologist and philosopher Paul Watzlawick died, on April 2, at age 85.

His book Change (co-written with John Weakland and Richard Fisch) was one of the texts I studied in Human Communication at Rutgers.

His ideas about change, communication, relationships, and therapy, had a major influence on several fields, including organization development.

The well-known axiom "You cannot not communicate" is one of many coined by him as a result of his deep understanding of how we communicate with one another.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 04/07/07

Learning Conversations and Soft Skills

Couple things I noticed over the weekend...

A blog about Learning Conversations. Blogger and leadership development guy John Inman has some interesting thoughts about leaders and change. For example, he says:

"I have noticed that it is very easy for both me and my internal customers to focus on tasks and forget that the power of leadership comes from being in conversation. Executing tasks is important but will not create a world class organization. So the notion that I am exploring is how to reinforce conversation as a leadership practice."

And at Lauchlan Mackinnon's blog, Ideas and Innovation, he has anentry on a Bain report about Soft Skills, where Bain sees an increasing importance of such "soft" management skills as organisational culture, knowledge management, and innovation.

Mackinnon says:

"Organisations need to gain organisational development capabilities - culture is as important as strategy, and intangibles such as knowledge and creativity matter.&qu…


What do you get if you add blogging to networking?

~ Blogworking!

Sounds good to me.

The term came to my notice via blogger Alexandra Levit, at Water Cooler Wisdom, where she discusses "blogworking" as the newest addition to networking.

As someone who added blogging to his job search strategy a couple years ago, I'd give blogworking a thumbs up, though I have not gotten a lot of support from my colleagues in HR.

For me, blogging has a number of rewards, the best being all the new connections I have made to people around the world.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 04/01/07

Stalking Bloggers

I guess one sign that bloggers are entering "the big time" in the media world is the recent entry by Kathy Sierra that she has received death threats.

It's sad. It's disturbing.

And it makes one think twice about putting oneself in the public eye.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 3/27/07

Scrum and Organizational Change

Agile expert Pete Behrens has an entry at his blog , The Agile Executive, about Scrum and organizational change that is well worth a read for anyone in the organization development field.

Scrum has some interesting parallels to OD:

- Scrum is a participatory method

- Scrum is a coordinated effort to effect change

- Scrum facilitates collaboration

- Scrum emphasizes learning by focusing on "what went well, what went wrong and what the team wants to do differently in the next work interval."

There is even a Scrum Master, which sounds like something out of Tolkien and MiddleEarth...but that's just me.

Added Note: Just discovered The Change Management Blog. The latest entry is on this week's Nexus for Change in Ohio.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 3/20/07

Do You SpeedGeek?

One of the great benefits of being an active participant in the blogosphere is that you interact with such diverse people, from many fields, from all over the world. And you learn so many interesting new phrases, such as:

- Get the moose on the table - Roughly the same as "the elephant in the room."

- Bite through the sour apple - A flavorful Dutch saying for delivering bad news.

And today's find, SpeedGeeking, a rapid-fire and fun way to rapidly find out about all the projects going on in a company or department.

I will look for a way to try this.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 3/15/07

"If I can contribute, I will do."

Lately, as a step in developing training courses for a client, I have posted some queries at LinkedIn Answers. I'm happy to report that I have been getting good responses from folks all over the globe.

After sending a slew of "thank you" notes, one person responded, "If I can contribute, I will do."

I like that philosophy.

If more of us acted on it, and contributed our talents where we can, this world would be a much better place.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 3/13/07

Media Consumption

Nimmy got tagged by Patrick (who was tagged by Dave and so on) to disclose her media consumption habits. Well, no one tagged me (can you tag yourself?), but I want to play.

Books - I have always been one of those people who reads too many books all at the same time...and ends up finishing only a few. Currently I have several going at once on the topic of consulting.

Print - Every day, I read the local paper, The Home News Tribune, and the best newspaper in New Jersey, the Star Ledger. As for magazines, I read Time magazine faithfully, as well as Rolling Stone.

Web - Every day I also get news from the web, including Google News, as well as The Daily Grail, Cryptomundo, The Anomalist, Fortean Times, and Posthuman Blues. I use Bloglines to keep up with such favorite topics as organizational change, learning, and effectiveness.

Radio - NPR is probably my favorite, though I do enjoy talk radio which is plentiful in the NY market. The food guy, Mike Colameco, on WOR is very good.

TV - My TV ta…

Good Ride or Bad Trip

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about consulting...

- what is it? how is it different from being an employee? a technician? a contractor? a line manager?

- why do clients engage consultants? how do clients judge consultants?

- what does it take to be an effective consultant? how do effective consultants operate?

...and getting other people's perspectives on such questions (using LinkedIn). Plus I've been reading some really good books (e.g. Steele's Consulting for Organizational Change, Block's Flawless Consulting, Rasiel's The McKinsey Way, and Weinberg's The Secrets of Consulting) and I have another one on order (Maister's The Trusted Advisor).

One of the findings so far is that clients evaluate consultants on both results and process. With regard to process, clients tend to invite back those consultants that:

- communicated clearly and often
- facilitated a change process, and
- were easy and enjoyable to deal with ("good ride")

Other consultant…

When Professional Worlds Collide

Being a history buff, and having a particular fascination with religion, ancient history, and archaeology, I watched the controversial program "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" (last night on the Discovery Channel) with great anticipation. I was not disappointed. It was well told by filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici, with a mix of science, dramatized vignettes, and unexpected surprises. Though it raises more questions than it answers, I was spellbound and hope to see more attention paid to this mystery.

Immediately after the program, there was a follow-up discussion hosted by TV journalist Ted Koppel. Jacobovici, one of his partners, and two academics were invited to participate. From the get-go, Koppel and the academics went on the offensive, tearing into Jacobovici. I watched it for a while, but after sensing the sour tone of the conversation, I turned it off and went to bed.

It sounded to me as though the academics were ticked off that an outsider (Jacobovici) was mucking around in th…

Framework for Spread

Via Lorri Zipperer's blog Patient Safety: Focus on Information and Knowledge Transfer, I have learned a new phrase: framework for spread.

What is it, you ask?

According to this Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) white paper, "A key factor in closing the gap between best practice and common practice is the ability of health care providers and their organizations to rapidly spread innovations and new ideas. Pockets of excellence exist in our health care systems, but knowledge of these better ideas and practices often remains isolated and unknown to others."

So how do you spread good practices across a healthcare organization?

Zipperer mentions a few ideas for the framework for spread, including:

- sharing of stories,
- facilitating dialogue,
- convening learning groups and journal clubs,
- building knowledge maps

What else? What other KM practices can help this framework for spread in hospitals...and other organizations?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 3/3/07

Blogging, KM, Health, and Inner Peace

Just rounding up some good stuff I've been reading in the blogosphere . . .

IT executive Mike Schaffner has listed ten reasons why he blogs. Good list.

Bill Harris has a wonderful example of a successful approach to KM that capitalizes on some aspects of human nature (e.g. that people like to be asked for their ideas and advice).

Dr. Ellen Weber of BrainBased Business has a great blog on health and the workplace.

And Peter Vajda of SpiritHeart has an article called "Dissatisfied With Work? Perhaps It's You" that offers much good food for thought.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 3/2/07

Combat Overwhelm

Feeling overwhelmed at times? This article has some good ideas, including:

- listen to music
- drink water
- laugh

An interesting one is "make more mistakes." Sort of a Thomas Edison strategy, I guess.

Some others that work for me:
- daily prayer and meditation
- daily spiritual reading

And one more:
- don't isolate yourself. Reach out to others. Connect. Ask for ideas.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 3/1/07