Showing posts from January, 2009

Engaging Voices - Michael Lee Stallard

Continuing the Engaging Voices series begun with David Zinger and Tim Wright, I am pleased to add Michael Lee Stallard, with an entry he calls "Weathering the Storm." The author of the Connection Culture manifesto and the book Fired Up or Burned Out, Michael is the president of E Pluribus Partners, a consulting firm that focuses on helping leaders increase employee and customer engagement.

Weathering the Storm by Michael Lee Stallard

I was an enthusiastic 21-year old recent college graduate when I arrived for my first day of work at Texas Instruments in 1981. Ready to take on the business world, what I encountered was an office of stressed-out co-workers. The day before, the company had announced its largest layoff in history. The mood at the firm made me wonder if I had just bought myself a seat on the Titanic. Since then I’ve lived through many a restructuring and downsizing and learned how to cope with the normal feelings that arise in times of uncertainty.

When colle…

Turning Crisis Into Opportunity

How do you turn crisis into opportunity?

This is a highly relevant question to thousands upon thousands who are losing their jobs in the economic downturn.

Blogger Jeff Ogden at CEO Ideas gives us a little preview of an interview with Jim Collins that will be coming out soon in Fortune magazine, where Collins addresses this question.

Here are a couple of the points Ogden selected:

- You must make change and not panic.
- More important than a plan is the people you have with you.
- You have to believe you will prevail.

Collins' advice for business leaders can be applied to job hunters quite well. And his last point has a special resonance for me.

Yesterday, at the "speed coaching" event sponsored by at the NY Public Library, I was coaching a young job hunter when a radio reporter from News Radio 88 approached us to interview us. After asking the job seeker a battery of questions, she turned to me and asked me, "What's the 'number one nugget of advice' …

Happy Birthday!

Today we celebrate the first birthday of the Employee Engagement Network started a year ago by consultant David Zinger.

It was a meteoric year for the fledgeling social network, attracting practitioners in the blossoming field of employee engagement, from around the world.

Some of the milestones:

- Grew from an idea to 750 members. That means an average of two people joined every day last year!

- Created 230 forums; formed 14 specials groups; wrote 140 blog posts on the site.

- Created two free e-books. One book offered over 300 ideas on Employee Engagement from A to Z and the other offered 52 sentences of advice on Employee Engagement.

- And 35 members (including yours truly) made contributions to our first book, Top 10 Ideas in Employee Engagement, which will be published in the next few months.

It was especially synchronistic for me, as I was working with Dr. Judith Bardwick to develop the first-ever seminar for managers on employee engagement, "Igniting Commitment."

The EE Netwo…

Speed Coaching

As the marching bands and other parade units go by President Obama's reviewing stand on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C., we rejoice in the peaceful transition of power in the U.S., but we remember that many are still suffering and need our help.

One way that I'll be helping is coming up next Tuesday January 27 when the New York Public Library and are sponsoring a day of free job search help at the City University of New York. Called “Back to Work: Jumpstart Your Job Search,” the free event is designed to provide career information, advice and resources to help unemployed New York professionals land their next jobs. The day-long event will include workshops, interactive discussions with job search experts and demonstrations of the Library’s online job search tools.

And speed coaching!

Think of it as fast-paced personalized career coaching and resume review. As one of the speed coaches, I'll be meeting with job hunters in twenty minute sessions, to review th…

Dear President Obama

At the ODNet listserv, Matt Minihan asked, What would you want to hear from President Obama in his inaugural address on Tuesday?

I'd like to hear him address the reasons why I voted for him:

Peace - We have tried war. As Tevye the milkman said (in Fiddler on the Roof), "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth ? Soon the world will be blind and toothless." Clearly, it hasn't gotten us anywhere. Instead, let's try peace. Do we even know where to begin?

The Economy - Greed has taken us all over a cliff. We need much more than bailouts. We need a deep search in our souls. What will it take for all people to prosper?

Our Future - For the past eight years, we have been headed down a negative spiral. Where are we going as a nation? Where are we going as a global community of nations?

For me, the key values going forward are community, love, service, justice and stewardship. The great Dr. Martin Luther King, whose memory we celebrate this day, stood for these value…

The Movie to Beat

Although I haven't seen all the top-rated films of 2008 yet, I just saw Slumdog Millionaire, and I will venture to say that it is the movie to beat at the Academy Awards.

What a wonderful movie!

Though I will express a very strong caution to the feint of heart, this is an epic tale, a Dickensian love story, set in modern day India, about two young lovers, separated by poverty, hate, and violence, but finally reunited through undying love.

And while I'm devoting this entry to the arts, let me add that I am celebrating the life of Irish actor Patrick McGoohan who passed away a few days ago. Here is the opening to his enigmatic and now-legendary late 1960's TV series The Prisoner.

"Be seeing you."

Posted by Terrence Seamon, January 18, 2009

Engaging Voices: Tim Wright

Tim Wright, President and CEO (Chief Everything Officer) of Wright Results, Inc., helps organizations that want to improve performance through employee engagement.

Tim recently offered a series of blog posts at his blog, Culture to Engage, intended to help "when the going gets tough." Here's a selection of a few of his wise points for managers.

Don't Hide. As manager and leader you cannot hide from the infinite number of questions your employees have. We've all been conditioned by life in the business world to avoid admitting, "I don't know." But not having answers to all (or even very many) of those questions cannot send you into hiding. "Behind closed doors" behavior will only intensify uncertainty -- and so disengagement among your people.

Get smart. The more information you can actively acquire (about economic conditions, their effect on your industry, your market, your company, your company's credit, and your employees) the better.


Leading in the Crisis

In this difficult economy, many are wondering if we have the right leadership guiding our organizations.

Some in the workforce have never experienced this kind of economic upheaval before. Younger workers, for instance, have no idea how to weather this type of economic storm.

With a very gloomy forecast ahead, what do we need leaders to demonstrate? Here are six attributes that I think are essential.

~ Courage - to face the facts and make the personal sacrifices necessary

~ Steadfastness - to hold to core values in the face of adversity and not take the easy road (i.e., downsizing)

~ Wisdom - to keep your eyes open, recognize what's happening, and distinguish the baby from the bath water

~ Engagement - to get others involved in figuring out creative ways to weather the storm

~ Vision - that things will be better in the future, and a path to get there

~ Caring - especially for your employees

Added Note: UK trainer and blogger Eric Garner has an interesting entryat his blog, Manag…

Engaging Voices: David Zinger

Over the past two years, I have connected with a bunch of very cool people who are passionate about employee engagement. So, one of my goals for the Here We Are. Now What? blog in 2009, is to feature several of these "engaging voices."

First up is consultant, coach, and blogger David Zinger, M .Ed., a leading expert on both employee engagement and strength based leadership. His blog, Employee Engagement Zingers, as well as the Employee Engagement Network, which he founded and moderates, are leading online spaces for ideas and conversation on employee engagement.

Here is David on how we (organizations and individuals) can thrive in this most challenging economy.

First off, we must move more from me to WE. As organizations, if you say people are your greatest resource, do you back that up or do you chop them off as soon as economic challenges begin to loom on the horizon? As individuals, do we fully contribute to our organizations to help them become as viable as we are valuable?

Engaging Voices

I started this blog back in 2004. Each year, I try to think of something that will freshen it up a bit.

Last year, I started to entertain the notion of inviting guest bloggers to appear from time to time. Due to circumstances, the idea didn't get off the ground.

Until now.

Starting soon, the Engaging Voices series will debut.

Engaging Voices will feature some of the intriguing people I have met in the past few years, people who are working in such fields as employee engagement, positive workplaces, strengths-based leadership, change management, organization development, leadership development, and more.

Though the line-up is still forming, I am already looking forward to entries by:

~ David Zinger
~ Tim Wright
~ Judy Bardwick
~ Phil Gerbyshak
~ Judy McLeish
~ Michael Lee Stallard

And hopefully several others yet to be enlisted.

It's my hope that this sterling array of engaging voices will engage you, my blog readers, and give you some helpful food-for-thought in this year of change.


Managing in 2009

Recently, at the Employee Engagement Network, David Zinger and I decided to start off the new year with a series of focused forum questions, beginning with this one:

~ What will the main work of a manager be for 2009?

So far, a number of network members have weighed in with their thoughts on the main work of a manager for 2009, including:

Paul Herr: "Ken Iverson, the visionary leader of Nucor Steel, coined the term “pain sharing” (the inverse of profit sharing) in 1982, when the steel industry fell into a deep slump, and 200,000 steel workers were laid off. Iverson didn’t lay off a single soul. Instead, he took a 75% pay cut, general managers took a 60% pay cut, department heads took a 40% pay cut and the rank and file took a 20% pay cut. Nucor weathered the downturn and came roaring back to dominate the US steel industry."

Sharing the pain. How’s that for leadership?

Phil Gerbyshak: "Constant communication with your team will be critical, to help prevent associates from fi…

Management 3.0

A few months back into 2008, Australia-based freelance writer Sue Bushell published an article about the need for a new type of management in today's web 2.0 business world.

As one of the voices that Sue included in this piece, I said, Forget Management 2.0. We are actually on the precipice of Management 3.0.

Management 1.0 was Taylorism Management, which focused on efficiency. It was about increasing productivity.

Management 2.0 was Participative Management which accompanied the quality movement and focused on process improvement. It was about satisfying customers.

Now we are entering a new era of management, Management 3.0.

Management 3.0 is about engaging and unleashing people.

As I have said before, we are witnessing a paradigm shift in organizations worldwide:

~ from focus on weaknesses to focus on strengths

~ from appraisal to appreciation

~ from “our way or the highway” to flexibility

~ from “one size fits all” to customization

~ from “command and control” to coach and engage


Refreshing Advice for the Job Hunt

The latest news on our downturning economy is dismal: more job losses and a spiking unemployment rate, the worst in sixteen years.

Hawaii-based coach and blogger Rosa Say has some refreshing advice for job hunters in this very bad economy: Figure out how You can solve the Biggest Need that an employer has, and then pitch your solution.

Rosa writes:

~ "Put yourself in the shoes of someone with the ability to hire you and keep paying you: What are they looking for, and why should they hire you, unless they are sure you’ll deliver what they need?

There are two things business owners are focused on right now, and they go together:

a) Boosting cash flow quickly
b) Making customers deliriously happy

What Rosa is saying is that the exceptional job hunter is the one that can fulfill this need for an employer. And the way to do that is to rethink what the job hunt is about:

~ "You have to be the one who creates a new role, a highly necessary and desirable one, and then pitches …

Happy to Hear That!

I'm happy to tell you that the podcast I recorded with Alexander Kjerulf, the Chief Happiness Officer, has finally been released.

Talking about how happiness at work contributes to real business outcomes, Alex offers a number of key points, including:

- Happy workplaces make more money

- Results (feeling like you are making a difference) & Relationships (feeling like you are liked and viewed as a valued part of a team) are the two keys to happiness at work

- The importance in saying "Good morning!" at the workplace

Check it out. You'll be happy you did!

PS - A big "thank you" to Dave Summers and Kevin Lee for birthing this podcast.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, January 7, 2009