Sunday, September 28, 2008

How We Learn

Since using Google Analytics and sitemeter to get an idea of why people are visiting my blog, I've detected a strong interest in the learning concept of "70/20/10."

The idea (which originated with Morgan McCall, Robert Eichinger and Michael Lombardo back in the 1980's when they were all with the Center for Creative Leadership) says that to understand how leaders develop, you need to look beyond formal training classes. The reality of how leaders learn to be leaders is that:

~ 70% of the learning is in the doing (learning by experience)

~ 20% of the learning is in relationship with coaches and mentors (learning from others)

~ 10% of the learning is in formal settings like seminars, classes, and training programs (learning in formal learning environments)

As a concept, this has always seemed "right" to me. It provides a good dose of reality to those of us in the 10% zone learning business, reminding us that no matter how good our seminars are, most of the learning takes place elsewhere.

It also points to areas of opportunity for anyone in the learning business; for example:

- in the 20% zone, in training people how to coach effectively;

- in the 70% zone, in training people how to develop and use experiential learning tools such as journals for critical reflection on experience.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, September 28, 2008

It's A Miracle You Are Here

I seem to be surrounded by remarkable people these days! People who are beating the odds against cancer of various kinds. People who are bravely facing an uncertain future:

- a friend of my wife who has been fighting and living with cancer for many years, who recently learned that the cancer has spread;

- another friend from church who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year, who was given a dim prognosis, who underwent surgery, and who is still going;

- and my brother Larry who underwent surgery for prostate cancer last week and now seems to be recovering fast. He credits both reiki and prayer for his rapid recovery.

Yesterday at my church, we had a one-day retreat for ministry leaders. The guest speaker was Fr. Greg, the pastor from my brother's church. His talk was based on this passage from scripture:

~ "Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind..." (Romans 12)

He spoke of the ordinary miracles that we overlook in our busy lives and he encouraged us to open our minds and our eyes to see the works of God that are happening all the time.

Including the miracles He is working through other people.

As he spoke, I gazed across the room at a woman who is undergoing treatment for cancer. All her hair is gone. But rather than cover it up, she chose to reveal her baldness. Her witness to suffering and faith moved me deeply.

Our speaker said: "It's a miracle that you are here today."

We all laughed, but realized that indeed there were miracles happening all around us.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, September 28, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Cell Phone and The Icebox

Watching the movie "Bottle Shock" the other evening --a semi-factual story about the French wine competition in 1976 where Napa wines surprisingly won-- I was amused by a scene where two of the characters, whose truck ran out of gas, had to hitch a ride to find a phone. They had no cell phones.

We live in an era of increasing technological change. Our homes, our jobs, and our lives are filled with gadgets: Computers. Laptops. Blackberrys. Cell phones.

The other day, I was reminiscing about my childhood. I grew up in a multi-generational home in the late 1950's to 1960's. My grandparents, George T. and Florence Seamon, lived upstairs, while my parents and my five siblings and I had the downstairs.

I had a close relationship with my grandparents and enjoyed going up to visit them in their place. They used to call their refrigerator "the icebox." I didn't really get it; I just thought it was an example of the quaint way of speaking that they had, since they were from an older era. They also called our front porch a "stoop."

One day, my dad explained to me that, in the past, they used to get an ice delivery, much the same as a milk delivery or mail delivery. An iceman would come by truck with a big block of ice that would go into the icebox where it kept the perishables, like butter, milk and meat, from going bad.

A "hot topic" in business these days is the multi-generational workplace. Most organizations now have Boomers, Gen Xers, and Gen Yers sharing the same workspace. There is concern that these co-workers from different generations will be uneasy with one another; will have misunderstandings; and won't be able to get along.

I wonder if there is a way to harmonize this diverse assembly? How was it possible to have harmony when several generations were living under a common roof?

Perhaps there is an approach inspired by the multi-generational household. One characterized by:

- Boundaries
- Respect
- Honor
- Love

More to come on this in future entries...

Posted by Terrence Seamon, September 14, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Work Life Balance and You

Today, the St. Matthias Employment Ministry offered a workshop called "Work Life Balance and You." Though it wasn't planned to coincide with Positive Thinking Day, it was surely a meaningful coincidence.

A few of our key points:

~ There is really no such thing as "work life balance;" work is one part of Life. We need to become more aware of, and make the choice to nourish, all of our roles in life, including worker, spouse, parent, friend, neighbor, volunteer, etc. (BTW This is the same view as Charles Handy's.)

~ To get more flexibility at work, don't just ask for it; develop a business case for it. Show your manager WIIFHim/Her.

~ Give to yourself, and you will have more to give to others.

~ Work and spirituality don't have to be separated; they can be integrated.

In her book, Alter Your Life, Dr. Kathleen Hall says: "The acorn does not push, does not try harder, but simply knows that it is an oak tree and trusts the wisdom of its life process."

Posted by Terrence Seamon, September 13, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

Positive Thinking Day is Tomorrow

Positive Thinking Day is almost here. Are you thinking positively?

Here are some ideas for bringing more positive thinking into your everyday life.


Posted by Terrence Seamon, September 12, 2008

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

On Goals and Objectives

At a planning meeting at my church tonight, I was sitting with a group of parish leaders, discussing a large-scale initiative that we will be rolling out soon. Our project leader got us started by saying that she wants to set an objective. After discussing some possibilities, one of the others said something that surprised me.

She said: "I'm concerned that if we set an objective that it will be limiting."

"Limiting?" I asked her. She answered, "We should be expanding, reaching out to more people, touching all of the parish."

Blogger Matthias from South America is musing on goals and objectives at his blog, where he says: "As a real-life manager, I find defining the right objectives and keeping them simple quite a challenge in my daily work."

Phil Gerbyshak is also musing on goals: "As I reflect on how I’ve achieved many of my goals, it all comes back to one simple question I ask myself when I go to bed at night: Did I do at least 1 thing today that moved me closer to achieving a goal?"

As I think about goals and objectives, I think Phil and Matthias and my fellow parishioner are onto something very important: Goals and objectives should be about movement toward our desires. To the extent that they are, they will engage us. And others.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, September 9, 2008

Thursday, September 04, 2008

"Were Your Ears Ringing?"

With the help of sitemeter (thanks again, Mike!), I am now getting a steady feed of information about who is visiting Here We Are. Now What? and what they are looking for.

It's fascinating!

I am getting visitors from around the world, including Australia, the UK, India, the Netherlands, Canada, Mexico, Ireland, Spain, New Zealand, Brazil, China and more. And of course from the US too.

As for what they are looking for, there is a wide range, but some repeated topics are:

- RASCI

- 70 20 10

- Life is what you make it

- What I like best about my job

- How to engage employees

- The end of performance reviews

- Start small; think big

- Sense of agency

- What keeps you up at night

This information that I'm getting about my visitors is reminding me of something my mother used to say. She'd ask: "Were your ears ringing?" What she meant was that she had been thinking about, and talking about, someone a few days before.

Now with blog analytic tools like sitemeter, you have a "sixth sense" that gives you a glimmer of who has been thinking about you.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, September 4, 2008

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Talent Question

There is a good article* about the use of talent in the creative process at Pixar in the latest Harvard Business Review.

Clearly, Pixar needs creative technology talent to produce such wondrous cartoons as Toy Story, The Incredibles, and Wall-e.

But it seems to me, since all organizations hire talent, that all organizations, creative and non-creative, should be paying attention to talent utilization and development as well. Whatever your organizational mission, it's your talent (i.e., your people) who deliver on the promise.

The question becomes: What do organizations do with that talent once it comes through the door? Do they squash it? Or do they unleash it?

*(My thanks to Jordan for blogging about this article. And my thanks, to my colleague Susan, for letting me borrow her HBR so I could read it.)

Posted by Terrence Seamon, September 3, 2008

Monday, September 01, 2008

See You In September

Blogger and engagement guru David Zinger writes that September 1 is one of his New Year's Days:

~ "January 1st is my calendar New Year’s Day while September 1st is my psychological and learning New Year’s Day."

Makes sense to me too. September 1 has always felt like a transition day: end of Summer vacation, and the start of the school year. The Rutgers students have returned to New Brunswick and my sons resume their studies tomorrow.

It's another reminder of the many transitions that mark our lives. Endings. Beginnings. And the cycle goes on.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, September 1, 2008