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Showing posts from October, 2008

Beets, Blueberries, and Red Wine

What's good for you and what's bad?

There seems to be a growing consensus that natural foods that are red or purple (or even blue) are good for you. So, beets and blueberries. Even pinot noir.

What's bad?

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, straight-talking UCLA business professor Samuel Culbert wrote that performance reviews are very bad for you. I could not agree more.

This is a drum I have beaten before (here, here, and here).

Like Professor Culbert, I do believe there are alternatives. We just need the courage to stop doing performance reviews, and the creativity to imagine a more positive workplace that is strengths-based and future-focused.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, October 28, 2008

Engaged, Learning, Changing

For the job hunter in New Jersey, there are a wealth of great networking groups! For example, the Breakfast Club, the Career Forum, the CIT Group, the PSG Group and more.

And Keith Bogen's Whine & Dine group!

One of the skills you hone on the job search trail is your 30 second "elevator speech" where you succinctly convey Who You Are, what you are looking for, and what you are offering.

Here's my new member intro.

Professionally, Terrence ("Terry") Seamon has been a Training, Coaching & Organization Development Guy for over 25 years, in pharma/chem, telecom, energy, and consulting.

Most recently, I was Portfolio Manager for Management & Leadership Development at the American Management Association. The AMA is a great place to meet many stellar thought leaders like Judith Bardwick, Charles Handy, Graham Jones, Alexander Kjerulf, Michael Lee Stallard, Bob Nelson, and Jessica Lipnack.

At AMA, I planned and facilitated several highly successful webcasts …

Glass Half Full

Yeah, layoffs suck. And no one feels good about them. Especially those who are fired.

A colleague of mine wrote me an email saying: "This is the first time this has happened to me and it just feels weird. It is awkward, stressful and anxiety ridden."

Amen to that.

However, I replied: "But it's also...Awesome, Exciting, and Opportunity-Filled. It's all in how you look at it."

Getting terminated is a big kick in your self-esteem. It hurts. But you can't stay down.

Your outlook has to be upbeat, positive, and focused on the future.

You gotta believe in yourself.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, October 26, 2008

Job Hunting in the Downturn

Well, with yesterday's downsizing, I am back on the job search trail. The "good news" is that I am a veteran of job hunting. The "not so good" news is the timing. We are experiencing the great economic downturn of 2008.

So the question is: What does it take to conduct a successful job search in a serious downturn?

Because of the significance of this question to many people, I am going to start it here, and simultaneously post it at LinkedIn Q & A. Hopefully, the thread of answers will grow into a practical database of wisdom for job seekers.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, October 23, 2008

The Transitionist

I just updated my status on Plaxo and Facebook: "I am having my morning cup of java and pondering the opportunities ahead."

Yesterday we had a downsizing. Today we expect it to continue.

A couple years ago, I came across the term "transitionist:" one who is "adept at transitions and more precisely, skilled at managing change."

As a transitionist, I expect change. I accept change. I see change as opportunity.

And when change happens, I ride it.

I don't know what today will bring, but I am ready.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, October 22, 2008

Touching Our Future

Last week, a group of high schoolers from around New York City converged on AMA for a career exploration session. With my colleague Susan Zeidman, we tried to convey the stages in the creation of a typical seminar:

- Idea: What business skill does some audience need that AMA could teach?

- Research: How do we know the Idea is a "good" idea?

- Approval: How do we win Management's approval (and funding) to develop the Idea?

- Development: How will we teach this Idea effectively to the intended audience?

Then we had the teens work in groups to quickly develop their own seminar idea. They seemed to enjoy the exercise.

I was glad to be invited to take part in this program. Working with teens is a way to touch the future and have a positive impact.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, October 20, 2008

Are You Happy At Work?

I had the opportunity to interview Alexander Kjerulf, the Chief Happiness Officer, this morning. (The podcast interview will debut on the AMA website in November)

In my view, Kjerulf is part of a movement going on right now in "Corporate America" (and outside America) toward making workplaces more positive, more democratic . . . happier!

For Kjerulf, it comes down to two fundamental principles:

~ Do people feel like they are doing something that makes a difference?

~ Do people feel like they are respected and valued by others and by the organization?

Simple yet profound.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, October 15, 2008

Think Training Is Expensive?

Here is a saying to post in offices around the world during this unfolding financial crisis:

~ "If You Think Training Is Expensive, Try Ignorance"

I had heard it before, but was reminded of it yesterday by a customer who was attending one of our management seminars.

I asked the attendees if their companies were feeling any pressure to cut training due to the economy. "Not yet" was the consensus answer, though they could foresee that happening if things worsen.

The saying, by the way, is attributed to Peter Drucker. What would he say now about this financial crisis?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, October 11, 2008

Webcasts Galore!

I have come to love business webcasts. They are fun, informative, and free. Plus, you get to know some very cool people a bit better. For example:

Michael Lee Stallard will be doing one in November called Fired Up Leadership, based on his new book Fired Up or Burned Out.

Jessica Lipnack just did one called Leading Virtual Teams: Managing People at a Distance. Here is her account of what happened.

Marshall Goldsmith recently did one on Taking Leadership to the Next Level.

If you haven't checked these (and many others) out yet, what are you waiting for?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, October 10, 2008

Managing Change and Wisdom

I'm happy to report that management professor Sandy Piderit has a new blog called The Wisdom of Managing Change, where she blogs about organizational change, leadership, sustainability, and more.

Sandy has some great posts. In this one, she challenges the common assumption that people always resist change, and suggests that it may be more common to find ambivalence, rather than resistance.

In another one, about the ramifications of downsizing and layoffs, Sandy asks some good strong questions such as: "How many companies include in a layoff plan a way to capture the organizational knowledge that may be uniquely held by some of the employees who will be downsized?"

Great question, Sandy. Keep on blogging.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, October 7, 2008

Democracy at Work - Part 2

A few year's ago, I remember a Vice President saying, "This is not a democracy." He was talking to an audience of employees at a town hall meeting. The topic was the sale of the company. The question that had been asked by an employee was why the employees had not been consulted.

Can you have democracy at work? I blogged about this once before, back in 2005. My point of view then, and now, is that it's not very likely. Why? Because most organizations and their leaders are not wired that way.

But, if you could have democracy at work, what would it look like?

Apparently there are many who think you can have democracy at work, including a consultancy called Worldblu. Some are gathering soon at a conference, according to Michael Stallard.

Worldblu envisions a democratic workplace as one where people are treated well, with openness, two-way communication, and fairness.

These are great principles. But they aren't going to happen unless there is a real commitment on the …

Organization Development Round-Up

In the four plus years of this blog, the topic of OD (aka "organization development") has been the most frequently blogged about topic. Which makes sense since it's my chosen field.

Some of the OD entries are also very popular, as indicated by the blog analytics I am watching. So, to help those with an interest in OD, here is a round-up of a selection of entries from the past several years.

Where Are You Going?

What is OD exactly?

What Practitioners Do

It's About People

Making Sense of Things

It's a Process

Whole Person OD

Be Careful What You Wish For

The Importance of Attitude

It's About Learning

Marginality is Good

It's About Change

Telling Truth and Sharing Wisdom

The Soul of OD

How I Became an OD Guy

Hmmm...Seems to me like I have an outline for a book on OD. Hey, any editors out there?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, October 3, 2008

Engagement Round-Up

I've been posting a lot in the past year about employee engagement, so I thought I would round up several of the key entries.

Winning Hearts & Minds


Playing to Strengths


Meaningful Conversations


Managers, Take Note


Connect to Engage


Engagement Basics


Can You Spell "Engage?"


Getting a Handle on Employee Engagement


Caring to Engage

Hey, this looks like an outline for a book. Any editors out there?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, October 1, 2008