Showing posts from November, 2009

Hanging In There

On our walk in the park this morning, my wife and I noticed that most of the trees were bare, except for a few here and there. Pointing to one small tree still full of thin orange-colored leaves, she said: "Look at that, Terry. Despite very strong winds the other day, some leaves are still hanging on the trees."

Still hanging in there.

How often have I uttered those very words to fellow job hunters: "Hang in there."

We job hunters, especially the veterans like me, understand the soft side of a long job hunt. The feelings you keep to yourself. The desperation you sometimes feel in the pit of your stomach when you stop and count the months that have gone by.

Knowing that these feelings will dog you along the way to re-employment, we also know how important it is to support and encourage one another. With little taglines like "Hang in there."

Or another one that a friend of mine uses:

"Keep the faith, baby."

As a person of faith, I like that one. But w…

In Praise of Dirt

My wife Joan is an avid gardener. Someday I hope to see her earn the Master Gardener certification because she is certainly a good candidate. For one thing, she is not afraid of getting dirty. In fact, if she is having a good day outside, you'll find her covered from head to toe in dirt. And loving it!

As a child, I was really into dirt --digging in the backyard, exploring gullies that fed into the Raritan River, or tunneling in sand at the beach-- much of it in search of rocks, old coins, fossils, and shells for my collection.

Recently I saw a science news story that said how important dirt is for our health. Dermatologist Professor Richard Gallo, of University of California at San Diego, said: “These germs (present in dirt) are actually good for us” in reducing inflammation after injury, when they are present on the skin's surface.

Even in the most humble and lowly there is great value, apparently.

Coincidentally, I've been musing on the word "humble" this past…

Thanks and Giving

One way to appreciate a word that you've seen and used all your life is to view it in a new way.

My pastor Fr. Doug recently did that for me when he took the word Thanksgiving and broke it into pieces: Thanks and Giving.

When I saw that at church a few weeks ago, "the scales fell from my eyes," and I was able to re-appreciate the actions embedded in the idea of thanksgiving, namely:

~ that we should be thankful, and express thanks to those who have done something for us, and

~ that we should give abundantly, like there's no tomorrow, give of our time, our treasure, and most importantly our talents

On this day of Thanks and Giving, I'm sending a message of gratitude and appreciation for all the angels (you know who you are!) who have been so supportive this year!

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Nov 26, 2009

From That Original Breath

Today November 24, we mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's book On the Origin of Species.

The New Scientist website is sponsoring a contest in Darwin's honor, to take the last sentence from his book and turn it into a work of art. Here is that line:

"There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."

Do I detect in the phrase "having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one," a nod to the Creator?

Breath is the motivating force that gets life going. It's a deeply ingrained metaphor that we take for granted in our everyday speech; for example:

~ "Major League Baseball needs Mark Cuban to breathe life into the game."

When we breathe life i…

Powerful Words

Feeling defeated? Powerless? In this economy, I wouldn't be surprised to hear "Yes" in response to such questions.

The good news, however, is that you have at your disposal a "secret weapon," a strength that you may not fully appreciate: the power of words.

Words can uplift, encourage, and inspire. Words can invite, welcome, and heal. The key, however, is to remember this bit of wisdom: "There's a great power in words, if you don't hitch too many of them together."

So keep your words simple, and down to earth.

Here are a few of the powerful words you already know and can start to use right away.

~ Thank you.

~ I'm sorry.

~ How can I help you?

~ What are the possibilities?

What are some other powerful words that you would add?

Remember: "Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world." Attributed to Buddha.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Nov 23, 2009

Finding Your Way

Some of the clients I've been working with these past couple weeks are feeling like their jobs (and their lives) are out of control. They have been through downsizings, and are now "doing more with less."

Some said they are overbooked and overwhelmed, feeling like they are drowning. Some have just about given up on planning because every day is filled with unplanned surprises. For others, stress is high, nerves are on edge, and tempers are rising. Some even said that their personal and family life is starting to suffer.

The flash that came to me was that they are trying to find their pathways through chaos.

Two of my favorite bloggers, Dick Richards and Curt Rosengren, have recently offered some wisdom about finding your pathway.

At his blog Riding on Dragons, Dick Richards has an entry called "Another Pathway" (a followup to an earlier entry called "The Mythic Pull of Pathways"). In these pieces about paths, roads and trails (that he has photographed …

Show Up. Give Back. Go Forth!

I'm pleased to feature my wife, Joan Best Seamon, the Director of Music at St. Matthias, as today's guest blogger! Recently, at our parish in Somerset, NJ, Joan wrote the following essay for our church bulletin. It was inspired by our parish engagement initiative.

Show Up, Give Back, Go Forth

Recently, our pastoral staff and pastoral council met to discern new directions for our parish over the next few years. As we shared ideas and concerns, our discussion centered on how we might express more clearly our expectations of the members of our parish.

So if you are a member of the Catholic Community of St. Matthias, what do we , or, even more important, what does God expect of you?

1. Show up! That sounds like a major oversimplification, but it’s true. We need you to come to Mass every week. Your presence as the Body of Christ receiving the Body of Christ is vital to the energy and spirit of our parish. Our weekly worship is our chance to see each other, pray with each other and be …

Put Yourself Out There

In getting ready to teach job hunters how to make the most of LinkedIn as a tool in their job search, I came across the article about Charles Pixley. He's the investment banker who, after losing his job in the recession, decided to market himself by wearing a sandwich board and standing at the corner of Broadway and Wall Street until he got an offer.

Pixley said: "Believe in yourself, improve yourself, put yourself out there. Have yourself seen. You resume will go into a pile. It's just another resume, just more words. There's no color. These posters provided my soul. It says everything in one lump page."

Take a close look at his poster. It says in part:

Investment Banker. 30+ years. Enlightened Leadership. Mission Driven.

Wow. What a great elevator pitch in visual form. Tenacious Pixley shows us how to put yourself out there and be seen.

The folks at the LinkedIn presentation were wowed by his example. And I showed them how LinkedIn can help them become more v…

Giving All You Got

Watching my son Dave and the rest of the Livingston College Theater Company cast of Rent these past few days at Crossroads Theater in New Brunswick, NJ, I am impressed by how totally committed these young people are to this show. My wife and I have gone to hundreds of high school, college and local theater productions over the years and the best ones always have that high level of commitment by the actors. The other production values, like sets and costumes and lighting and music, might leave something to be desired, but if the cast is "giving all they've got," you feel it. It grabs you. And the experience works.

As an organization development consultant, I wonder if my son and the other performers will have that same "fire" after they graduate and go into the world of work. Will their passion for performance, so much in evidence on stage, go on? Or will it be diminished by the organizations they will join?

One of the lessons of the Employee Engagement movement i…

Emotional Engagement

Consultant Judith Bardwick, PhD, author of the best-selling book One Foot Out the Door (from AMACOM, 2008), has said very forcefully, that employee engagement is critical to organizational success. But she has voiced frustration:

~ "I’ve been shocked over the last three to four years by the near universal ignorance of executives and managers about the compelling financial relationship between levels of employee commitment and engagement and success. In plainer words, the great majority of organizational decision makers do not know they will only succeed if they have their employee’s hearts, minds and guts."

They just don't get it.

But what is it that they don't get? Executives and managers are trained and developed to focus on numbers and facts. Other things, like emotions, relationships, commitment, trust, culture, and feelings, don't enter into the decision making.

But that's just it!

That's what the Employee Engagement movement, as exemplified by Judy B…

Employee Engagement Round-Up 2

Some time ago, I gathered up a number of my blog entries on engagement. Since then, a few more have appeared. So here is Round-Up Number Two on Employee Engagement. These blog entries deal with leadership, managing, change and engagement.

Engaging the Whole Organization

The Seven Essences

Clearly Engaged

The Engaging Manager

Employee Engagement Matters

Five Sentences

Leading After Layoffs

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Nov 3, 2009

Charter for Compassion

This morning, in an email from OD consultant John Scherer, I learned about The Charter for Compassion.

The Charter --crafted with input from people all over the world, by a multi-faith, multi-national council-- is a call for a return to the Golden Rule, the central principle of all the major religious traditions, considered to be the essence of religion, "that everything else was “commentary,” and that it should be practised “all day and every day.”" The Charter will be unfurled on November 12.

In his e-mail, Scherer asked: "How can we use the amazing technology available these days to rapidly spread a counter-virus to the hateful one threatening to tear apart the fabric of life? What will it take? Who will do it? Do those of us who know a little bit about change and transformation have a role to play? If so, what and how?"

One idea is: Stand up, show up, and be counted on where and when the need arises.

I had the opportunity to do this last week at an event calle…