Showing posts from March, 2009

Talent Knows No Bounds

India-based HR consultant Gautam Ghosh has an interesting entry about talent communities, where he muses about the future:

~ "I hope one day this role (of talent community manager) becomes an overlap between marketing and HR, becoming the real custodian of the employment brand."

I'm reminded of a talk that OD consultant Anna Tavis gave a few years ago at FDU, where she talked about talent membranes, suggesting that talent knows no arbitrary organizational boundaries.

For a harbinger of what Gautam Ghosh is sensing, I would point to David Zinger's Employee Engagement Network on ning, which, in just over one year, has attracted a horde of talent (over 1,000 people) from around the globe, all passionately concerned about employee engagement.

As a job hunter, I am swimming in talent. Every job search support group that I visit is filled to the brim with talent. Talent that is dying to get back to work.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, March 31, 2009

Start Your Own!

I'm happy to report that the little guide for starting your own job search support group, that Janice Lee Juvrud and I wrote, is reaching people across the country.

It was even noticed by Gerry Crispin of CareerXRoads and The Riley Guide which added it to their networking resources page.

To request your free copy, send an email to

Posted by Terrence Seamon, March 29, 2009

Going Green

This morning, I attended a breakfast briefing at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ, on the subject of Green Jobs in New Jersey. Fascinating!

Moderated by Jeana Wirtenberg of ISE, there were three panelists:

1. Michael Winka of the NJ Board of Public Utilities who focused on the Energy sector of the economy in the state of New Jersey.

2. Jennifer Cleary of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, who focused directly on the "green jobs" and how we need to further define them, as well as the skills and career pathways that must be developed.

3. Elizabeth Reynoso of the NJ Social Justice Institute, who spoke about the gains being made in inner city programs to train the disadvantaged for the green economy.

Three words bubbled up during the panel presentation: Exciting, Emerging, and Evolving.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, March 27, 2009

Every Solution Generates New Problems

I recently switched my home phone service from my phone company to my cable company. Now my wireless router won't connect.

Many years ago, when I was a TQM (Total Quality Management) Guy, conducting training on the tools and steps for process improvement, I learned many sayings, including:

~ Every solution generates new problems.

Take a look at some of the solutions being implemented right now to solve the global economic mess. These are "big hairy audacious" solutions, in the billions of taxpayer dollars. Many are wondering if these solutions will really work . . . and what the unintended consequences may be.

A couple days ago, I blogged about SMART goals. You can apply the SMART principles to solutions too.

Another aspect of the saying "Every Solution Generates New Problems" that I like is that it can be viewed as a corollary to Murphy's Law, that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong:

~ "Murphy's Law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong."

One Small Thing

A few weeks ago, I got my wings by becoming a Job Angel.

As Jenna Papakalos, at Connecting Redefined, says: "JobAngels is a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to help the job seeker find his/her next opportunity. All of JobAngels’ services are provided by volunteers, so there is no cost to the job seeker. The main goal is for each member to help just one job seeker find employment, it’s that simple."

One of the great things about JobAngels is that you can be one, right now, by helping someone. It’s as simple as that.

JobAngels is a great example of what I call the “One Small Thing” philosophy that says, If everybody did one small thing every day to make the world a better place, we could collectively transform our world.

I believe that there is a power in small things, small gestures, small acts. Sometimes we do nothing because the problem seem too big. We get paralyzed. The antidote, I think, is to do something small. And keep doing small things. And get others to j…

Making It Up As We Go Along

Ever since I was a kid, I have enjoyed random acts of exploration and discovery; in other words, "making things up as I go along." For example, my love for mystery rides, which I got from my mom. "Let's try this road. We've never taken it before," she would say. And off we would go on an adventure.

I know that in this culture's socialization process, we learn that "making it up as we go along," is not a good thing. It smacks of not having a goal or a plan, of wasteful meandering, of aimlessness.

Thanks to David Zinger, I found author Richard Oliver's manifesto on "purposive drift" where he meditates on this bias, wondering why the "machine culture" of goals, schedules and project plans, has triumphed over the improvisatory navigation of "making it up as we go along" as a way of being in life.

One of Oliver's images is a cork bobbing along in a stream, carried by the current to who-knows-where. It reminded m…

Engagement Does/Does Not Matter

Yesterday, India-based HR consultant Gautam Ghosh posted a blog entry on a fascinating piece at about HR, Finance, and Employee Engagement.

It appears that a noted HR professor gave a talk in Orlando to an audience of financial executives. Though it's dangerous to pick apart a talk that only appears in snippets in a magazine article, I wonder what to make of these two quotes:

- "But there is no evidence that engaging employees impacts financial returns."

- "You want people who are excited, enthused, and understand how to contribute to what you do, as opposed to those who simply want to find a good place to hide out."

Both are statements about engaged workforces. One says there is no evidence to support investing in one. The second says that having an engaged workforce is what you should want.

Huh? Which is it? Does engagement matter or doesn't it?

Maybe this is a case of "taking someone's words out of context," but my crap-detector is sensi…

SMART Goals Again

A couple years ago, I blogged about a new take on the old SMART approach to setting goals and objectives, called START NOW, from San Francisco-based executive coach Sandy Piderit (whose new blog is The Wisdom of Managing Change).

Yesterday, while revisiting my ORPA approach to engaging performance, another flash occurred to me on SMART goals. I'm also calling it SMART. Here are the elements:

S = Shared

M = Managed

A = Aligned

R = Reinforced

T = Tracked

Let's look at each piece.

Shared - Goals need to be shared. For me, this has a few facets.
- Since goals represent key aspirations of the organization, there should be a shared understanding of the goal. What we are trying to accomplish? Why? Do we have a shared vision?
- We reach this shared meaning through conversation about the goal. It may take several meetings to socialize the goal with key stakeholders. Seek their input. Give them a copy of the goal in writing. Engage them around the goal.
- If there are others who share in the …

Everybody Get Together

One of the great anthems of the Sixties was the song "Get Together," famously recorded by the Youngbloods. Here's the refrain:

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

I'm happy to report, that spirit of getting together, is alive and well. In response to this global economic calamity, job search support groups are popping up all over the landscape.

Last year, in collaboration with a team of parishioners, I helped to start one at my church. We call it The St. Matthias Employment Ministry and it is going strong, reaching out to help those who are looking for work in central New Jersey.

And many more such groups are emerging at this moment.

These groups are providing both psychological benefits such as comfort and stress relief, as well as practical benefits such as resume review, interview prep, network building, and job hunt accountability.

Recognizing this wonderful wave, my OD colleague Janice Lee Ju…


There is a lot of focus on leadership, and leadership development, these days.

~ What is leadership? How do you develop it? What practices work best to develop leaders?

All good questions to be sure.

But I feel like we are missing the point at this moment in history. Look around at the massive global crisis: economic, environmental, and social.

We need more than improved leadership development processes in organizations. We need a new vision for leading.

More than leadership, we need LeaderShift.

LeaderShift is leading that:

~ goes beyond problem solving and addresses transformation

~ looks at the system and sees what needs to change

~ is less concerned about productivity and profit than about purpose and prosperity

~ is highly collaborative and brings diverse voices to the table

~ calls people to step up and take responsibility

~ liberates people to act, be creative, and decide for themselves

LeaderShift starts with a deep and honest look into the mirror. LeaderShift holds fast to deeply roote…

What About the Survivors?

Boston-based Learning & Development professional Mary Ellen Donovan asked an important question at LinkedIn:

~ "What about the survivors? The economy is forcing companies to reduce staff through massive layoffs. What are these companies doing to assist the people left behind?"

After one of my downsizing experiences, I remember hearing from a former colleague, "It felt like a drive-by shooting." One moment I was there. The next, I was gone.

The survivors are emotionally shaken by the experience of suddenly losing co-workers.

Since my most recent downsizing, I have tried to keep tabs on some of my former co-workers who were not let go. The most common expression I hear is "It's crazy here."

The survivors are left with more work to do than they had before. In addition to feeling overwhelmed and stressed, chances are that everyone is hunkering down in fear of the next shoe to drop.

What are companies doing to help the people who are still employed? I don…

Engaging Voices - Sybil Stershic

Consultant Sybil Stershic --author of the Quality Service Marketing blog and the book Taking Care of the People Who Matter Most: A Guide to Employee-Customer Care-- is charting the connections between customer engagement and employee engagement. In her own words: "My professional passion is internal marketing - taking care of employees so they can take care of customers."

I'm pleased to present Sybil Stershic as the next Engaging Voice in the series.

Where In The “L” Are The Employees? by Sybil F. Stershic

I’ve been reading a lot of marketers’ advice to consumer and B2B companies on how to weather the economic storm. The recurrent theme found in this advice can be summed up as:

- Listen to your customers
- Learn their hot buttons and
- Look for opportunities where you can be of value to your customers

Their advice is sound, but I find it lacking. Besides applying this “listen-learn-look” approach to customers, companies need to focus equally on their employees.

Here’s what I s…