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Showing posts from May, 2009

Raising Kids, Raising Workers

I’ve long believed that managing is the second most difficult job on planet earth, the first being parenting. I often start my supervisory skills training classes with that.

Blogger Luc Galoppin is writing about this at his blog, Luc's Thoughts On Organizational Change. I’m a bit late to his party as he is already on part 5, but as my mom used to say, “Better late than never.”

This is a great topic and a super series. I think he should consider turning his series into a book.

The parallels between managing people and raising children are many. As are the lessons.

Just as we raise kids to be capable and to have a sense of responsibility for certain things, so also do we “raise workers” . . .

- to be be aware of their responsibilities

- to be accountable for them, and

- to take the appropriate actions necessary.

I recently conducted a supervisory skills training for front line managers in the marine terminals industry. I asked them what they expect of their workers, most of whom are uni…

Transferable Skills

In today's economy, many people are engaged in career transition. Some are doing so because they are out of work due to downsizing. Others are still working, but are feeling anxious about the steady stream of bleak economic news. Whatever the reason, spending some time thinking about one's career --including taking stock of your accomplishments, your skills, and your options-- is not a bad use of time right now.

Recently, someone I am assisting with career transition guidance, asked about transferable skills: what are they? and how do you identify them?

Transferable skills are capabilities, like goal setting, effective communication, being organized, time management, or problem solving, that we can utilize in more than one situation or context. For example, I can write at home as well as at work. The same with problem solving. And effective presentation skills. And so on.

I can use these skills while working at a bank, at a hospital, at a newspaper, and at a factory.

The concept…

Tweets in Church

Until recently, the only tweets you would hear in church came from the occasional stray bird that somehow flew in and could not find its way out.

Now, as described in this Time magazine article, Twitter --the social networking microblogging site where users must find an economical way to communicate in 140 characters or less-- has been introduced into churches as a medium for greater participation by the congregation.

At the Next Level Church near Charlotte, N.C., pastor Todd Hahn prefaced his Easter Sunday sermon by saying, "I hope many of you are tweeting this morning about your experience with God."

And they did. From Charlotte to Seattle, churches are experimenting with the marriage of social networking technology and spirituality.

And it seems to be working. Pastors and congregants are finding an interesting new way of connecting with their faith, as well as with one another.

As a Catholic, I can see great opportunity in the use of social networking for reaching out and en…

The Power of Prayer

Can positive thoughts, such as prayer, heal? This question has been a controversy, splitting people into two camps, the ones who say it's foolish because science can't prove it vs the ones who say it's a matter of faith.

This story on NPR points to some science that seems to be saying "Yes, it can."

Gail Ironson, a professor at the University of Miami, an AIDS researcher, "measured viral load, which tells how much of the virus is present in a person's body, and immune cells called CD-4 cells, which help fight off the AIDS virus. Ironson says over time, those who turned to God after their diagnosis had a much lower viral load and maintained those powerful immune cells at a much higher rate than those who turned away from God."

Apparently, an increase in spirituality can have a measurable beneficial effect.

Next we have a new question: Can positive thoughts, such as prayer, heal another person? Just as before, this controversial question splits us into…

What's Your Personal Brand?

We are all familiar with slogans that companies have used in their advertizing to convey something important about Who They Are to consumers. For instance:

~ "We bring good things to life." (GE)

A branding statement is a tagline that says Who You Are. It creates an image, conveying something essential about your distinctiveness in a crowded marketplace. A brand forms a perception in the minds of others about You.

Lately the concept of corporate branding has been applied to personal branding, especially for people in career transition.

Thanks to IT executive Mike Szot, I read an interesting article at CIO.com about personal branding, written by Catherine Kaputa, where she identifies 8 tips for standing out in a competitive job market. She writes:

~ "Personal branding is just as important to business and technology professionals, especially in a down economy. Whether you're a recent victim of a layoff or you're employed but worried about job loss, personal branding c…

Resilience

Over the course of my career in Training and Organization Development, I have experienced more than my share of restructuring. As a result, I have often jokingly referred to myself as the Poster Child for Downsizing.

But one of the lessons I've learned from my experience is that "it's all good," as my sons might say.

And that attitude is one ingredient that I would point to in a recipe for resilience.

First a definition. According to Webster's dictionary, resilience is "the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress." Also, resilience is "an ability to recover from or adjust to misfortune or change."

In other words, resilience is the ability to bounce back after hitting a brick wall.

So what goes into a recipe for resilience, especially in this difficult economic downturn? Here are six points that have worked for me.

1. Attitude - As I mentioned above, everything de…

Embodied Cognition

There's something about the scientific search to understand the mind by concentrating on the brain that reminds me of the Mulla Nasruddin story I have told before at this blog.

In brief, the mulla has lost his keys somewhere in his house. So what does he do? He goes outside and starts to look under a street lamp...where, he says, the light is better.

Is the mind of human beings housed in the organ we call the brain? Or could it be that the mind is a field that encompasses the entire human body and extends beyond it, not only in space but in time?

Now a school of thought in science called "embodied cognition" is starting to assert itself via studies such as this one on problem solving and motion. Researcher Alejandro Lleras of Vanderbilt University says:

~ "People tend to think that their mind lives in their brain, dealing in conceptual abstractions, very much disconnected from the body. This emerging research is fascinating because it is demonstrating how your body…

Blogspiration

When a week or more goes by in between blog entries, where do you go for inspiration?

I just read at Nimmy's blog, that she goes to the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes to get ideas. I like that. Even something silly or nonsensical can trigger a blog posting.

For me, I tend to visit other blogs or scan the latest news headlines for something of interest, something that speaks to me. For example, a couple things that caught my eye recently:

- Interest in Prague's legend of the Golem has risen again in anticipation of the 400th anniversary in September of the death in 1619 of the venerable Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the Golem’s supposed maker. According to the NY Times, Rabbi Loew was a "Jewish mystic and philosopher (and) a leading scholar of the Talmud and kabbalah...known widely as the Maharal, a great sage."

- A science report on daydreaming made news the other day, suggesting that it's the brain's way of working out difficult problems. According to Kalina C…

Gratitude

I have so much to be thankful for...

- my son David, who was promoted to manager at Thomas Sweet Ice Cream shoppe, playing original compositions on the piano in the next room

- my son Kevin, about to graduate from Rutgers and start working in NYC, who helped arrange the debut of "The Binge," a South Carolina bluegrass band, at Tumulty's Pub last night

- my wife Joan, music director, master gardener, and so supportive of me during my job search

In gratitude.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, May 10, 2009

Creativity and Change

Image
To create is to change
To be creative is to be changeful
full of change
is to be changeable
able to change

The Creator expects change
courts change

Creators open up
become soft
permeable
their boundaries loosen

Creators seek the Unknown
the Ambiguous
the Clash of conflicting waves
& keep an open mind
without closing doors
too soon

Creators play around
like kids
juggling elements
stewing ideas
cooking up the Impossible
then having a taste

& Creators get lucky
sometimes
& give birth
naturally

Then down from the hilltop they come
Speaking
breathlessly

A poem, written in 1981, by Terrence Seamon, posted May 5, 2009