Showing posts from November, 2008

Wanted: Change Manager

I often read job ads for titles such as:

- Process Change Manager
- Implementation Change Manager
- Change Control Manager
- Configuration Change Manager
- Project Change Manager

The common theme? All are change managers.

Regardless of function or level, all managers today are change managers to one degree or another. My advice: If you don't like change, don't enter the field of management.

I think we are well into the 21st century era of management. And its chief characteristic? Change.

Everything is changing. Technology, globalization, diversity. All changing at the same time. Accelerating too. And it's not going to stop anytime soon.

At one time, it was commonplace to say that organizations were looking for problem solvers to hire. Now I'd daresay the new ticket to the ball is: Are you a versatile and adaptable change manager? Are you a transitionist?

This is good news, by the way, for people in certain change-oriented fields, such as mine, Organization Development, whe…

The Downturn and the Holidays

For many people, this is a very special time of year. It always has been so for me. And even having been downsized a month ago, I still eagerly anticipate Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, and New Year's.

Articles have appeared in the past weeks about the fate of holiday office parties. Some are being cut back to a more modest scale; some are being cut out all together.

I sent an email to several of my former colleagues who were downsized with me, suggesting we throw our own holiday party.

Times are tough now due to the economy. Yes, gas prices have dropped (Hurrah!), but who can afford to go anywhere?

So, the choice is yours. I will choose to enjoy the holidays and do whatever I can to spread good cheer.

What are you doing to keep your spirits up? The spirits of others?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving 2008 approaches, it's a time to reflect, to take stock of all that we have. There is much to be thankful for.

1. What are you thankful for?

What gifts have you been given in your life? When is the last time you 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?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, November 25, 2008

A Sense of Urgent Patience

Bestselling author, expert on leadership and change, and professor at the Harvard Business School, John Kotter has done it again with his new book A Sense of Urgency.

Expanding upon the first step, Create a sense of urgency, from his now-famous 8-step model for leading change, Kotter distinguishes between false urgency and true and positive urgency.

False urgency is seen as people frantically running around doing lots of reactive activities in a state of fear-induced panic. Such an organization is driven by short-term pressure, frenetic, stressed out, and exhausted. Ultimately, unproductive.

True and positive urgency is quite different:

~ "True urgency," Kotter writes, "focuses on critical issues."

True urgency is alert and proactive, thoughtfully attuned to opportunities. True urgency is seen as people take the initiative to address important problems today. True urgency is energy, responsiveness, cooperation, creativity and teamwork.

Kotter then introduces what may b…

Visioning with Shared Wisdom

As part 2 to the previous blog entry on ALOHA Facilitation, I was facilitating a leadership group at my church in a visioning process that uses shared wisdom.

Here are the four steps of the process:

1. Identification of a pastoral issue

An example of a pastoral issue might be that some parishioners do not feel welcome in our parish.  Such issues may come directly from the pastor, may surface from parishioners, from the council, or from other sources.

2. Pondering the issue

This is a period of study, focused on the pastoral issue, usually a mix of: 

- reading (e.g. letters to the pastor, articles, books), 

- listening (e.g. to parishioners, to invited speakers),

- reflection (e.g. on data gathered on the issue), and

- prayer.

3. Sharing wisdom

Now the council members seek the Spirit’s guidance as they share their perspectives on the issue. This sharing phase can take several meetings.

4. Pursuing action

Once the council has heard the wisdom of all members, they choose a course of action and deve…

Aloha Facilitation

Aloha, in the Hawaiian language, means affection, love, peace, compassion, and mercy.

Yesterday, while developing my plan to facilitate a meeting at my church, I came up with this, ALOHA facilitation:

A = Ask questions

L = Listen to all voices

O = Observe the group energy

H = Help discern the path

A = Activate next steps

This was both my way of facilitating, and my suggested way for the participants to actively play their part in the meeting.

It worked beautifully.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, November 19, 2008

21st Century Management

Is there "anything new under the sun" in Management ideas? I came across a new voice (at least to me) today.

Her name is Kelley Eskridge and I think you would do well to check out her manifesto on management called Humans At Work.

Kelley is on to something that many others (including Michael Lee Stallard, Judy Bardwick, Alex Kjerulf, David Zinger, Matthew Kelly, and me) have been talking and writing about:

- that business is about people

- that business is about feelings as much as facts

And if you take care of your people, they will take very good care of your customers, and your business will thrive.

Kelley is calling for a revolution in management behavior and thinking. I say, "You go, girl!"

Posted by Terrence Seamon, November 18, 2008

"You Don't Know What You Are Doing"

British film director Danny Boyle has a new hit film called Slumdog Millionaire. In an interview, he said: "I have got this theory: your first film is the best film you ever make because you don't know what you are doing really. (It) is something great to work with because it's fresh."

Interesting eh? Your first film is your best because you don't know what you are doing.

I'm fascinated by this state of "not knowing what you are doing."

Is it similar to Shoshin, Beginner's Mind?

In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, November 10, 2008

The Night of Broken Glass

Today, November 9, is the 70th anniversary of an event that came to be known as "The Night of Broken Glass."


Now considered to be the violent start of the Holocaust, the systematic annihilation of the Jews and others by the Nazi regime in Germany.

Pope Benedict has said: "I invite people to pray for the victims of that night and to join me in expressing profound solidarity with the Jewish world. Still today I feel pain over what happened in those tragic events, whose memory must serve to ensure such horrors are never repeated and that we strive, on every level, against all forms of anti-Semitism and discrimination."

Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel has said: "We must not be silent. Anti-Semitism and racism are a threat to our basic values -- those of democracy and respect for diversity and human rights."

Posted by Terrence Seamon, November 9, 2008

Living the Small Steps

"Living the small steps" seems to be the theme this week!

Some examples:

~ Getting one good lead each day in my job search. As my friend Don Blohowiak says, It only takes one.

~ And getting up today at 6:00 a.m. to cast my vote for change.

There is a power in small things done each day.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, November 4, 2008

RIP Geary Rummler and Studs Terkel

Two greats have passed from our midst.

Geary Rummler - When I first entered the Training and Development field, one of the thought leaders I encountered was Geary Rummler whose ideas about organizational performance have influenced me ever since.

There is a beautiful blog entry by Guy Wallace here.

Studs Terkel - The author of the book Working, where the voices of American workers from all walks of life can be heard (and later in the musical play "Working").

Here is a beautiful piece about his life and influence.

David Zinger brilliantly connects the dots between Terkel and employee engagement.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, November 2, 2008