Showing posts from May, 2010

The Five Stories Every Job Hunter Must Be Ready to Tell

I've written before about a critical skill that job hunters must hone: the ability to convey their past accomplishments via well-crafted PAR* stories, where PAR stands for Problem-Action-Result.

But in today's "jobless recovery," this skill is taking on a greater significance. Many job hunters are getting little to no response from employers. They are starting to suspect that the jobs they once held may not ever be coming back. The realization that they need to reinvent themselves is slowly starting to dawn on them.

If this sounds like your predicament, then heed this: More than ever before, you must be ready and able to convey your Value Proposition, the reason why they should hire You! The power of a story can go far beyond recounting a past event to illustrate your achievements. A well-told story also demonstrates your practical wisdom and reveals the essence of the storyteller.

To "wow" the next interviewer that invites you into their organization, consi…

The Hero's Journey

The other day, in the midst of a discussion on the main list of the OD Network, an aphorism occurred to me:

~ Action learning is the crucible of transformation.

I immediately liked it, but wondered if I could explain (or defend) it should someone ask. So far, no one has. Maybe it sailed right past everyone, an idea ahead of its time?

Today, in the same evolving online discussion, I mentioned that, in the hero's journey, the hero often returns home, only to realize that his journey was a search for himself. When one of the other members asked for clarification, I added the following summation of the late great Joseph Campbell's famous concept.

Campbell, whose cross-cultural studies of world mythologies led him to formulate The Hero's Journey, framed the myth in three stages:

1. The Call to Adventure - Something happens (or someone arrives, like Gandalf knocking on Bilbo Baggins' door in Tolkien's great fantasy book The Hobbit) that causes a Separation, a departure, where…

Wow Them!

Want to wow the next employer you interview with? Here are the three secrets you need to know . . . and do.

My son Dave landed an internship today. Before he headed off to the train, he asked me for interview tips.

Since he didn't have much time, I quickly said:

1. Have a good story - Ask yourself, Why did they invite you in for an interview? There must be something in your letter, your resume or your work samples that caught their attention, that hooked their interest. They want to meet you! What is it that you need to tell them about the value you can bring to their party?

2. Be energized - If you have a good story to tell about what makes you different, and why they should hire you, you are going to be fired up. You will have a light shining out of your eyes and your smile that will light up the room when you are there.

3. Know the company - Have you done your homework? Do you know something about the organization? Something about the interviewer, especially if she is the decis…

Reinventing Yourself

This past Saturday, the guest speaker at the St. Matthias Employment Ministry was my friend Donna Coulson. Consultant, coach, and job search expert, Donna's topic was "Reinventing Yourself for Today's New Job Market."

While I have written about reinvention before, Donna brought a fresh perspective and some challenging ideas, including:

You are CEO of You!: Know what’s needed in today's market. Where are your skills in demand? The job you had may not be coming back! Be a Trend Tracker—what’s needed in the marketplace from your Tool Kit and Skill Set?

Know Your Value: Know how you Stand Out from the Crowd. There are 400 people for every Corporate job opening now, not 50. Figure out what’s Unique about you and determine your main focus. Know how to be of Value and Service in a Different way. Ask. Observe. So, do you use existing management or technical skills in a totally new way or different environment? What industries need your expertise?

Develop Advocates and Me…

"Ya Gotta Believe!"

The other day, I was invited to become a Thought Leader at HR Blog Notions. Here is my first posting, called:

"Ya Gotta Believe"

There’s a lot written about leaders these days. Sometimes I think it’s all been said. But then I remember that everyone has something to say, even me.

A few weeks back, I was sitting in church, listening to Father Sean’s Easter sermon. He was preaching up a storm about how important it is for people to believe. Being a native New Yorker from Queens, he even wove in the story of the NY Mets baseball team, retelling the great season where the slogan “Ya Gotta Believe” was born. The assembled parishioners gave him a standing ovation when he finished!

So what’s the connection to leadership? In a nutshell, leaders have to believe in themselves . . . and in their people.

When a leader believes in himself, he has confidence. He knows his capabilities. He knows his limits too. And he is humble enough to know that he needs to learn . . . and he needs others. As…

Training That Soars

Working with a client recently, he asked me to describe my process for developing the customized training he had hired me to deliver.

Situation/Strategy - Start with an assessment of the situation. Why the need for training? Consider the strategy: Where is the organization going?

Objectives/Obstacles/Opportunities - What should the training accomplish? How will it help the trainees overcome obstacles? Seize opportunities?

Audience - Consider the trainees. What do they know? What is their current performance? What are they struggling with?

Results - Start with the end in mind by thinking up-front about the business results you want to achieve.

With the SOAR model, your training will be a success.

Posted By Terrence Seamon, May 4, 2010


Thanks to twitter*, I learned a new word today: kata.

According to wikipedia, kata is a Japanese term for patterns of movements used in practice of martial arts. But, culturally, it has a deeper meaning:

"A kata can refer to any basic form, routine, or pattern of behavior that is practiced to various levels of mastery. In Japanese language, kata is a frequently-used word meaning “way of doing things,” with emphasis on the form and order of the process. Other meanings are “training method” and “formal exercise.” The goal of a painter’s practicing, for example, is to merge his consciousness with his brush; the potter’s with his clay; the gardener’s with the materials of the garden."

The tweet that led me to kata actually pointed to Mike Rother, a professor at the University of Michigan, who has been studying the kata at Toyota. In Rother's view, the Toyota kata is one of the car maker's secrets of success:

"Kata is a routine that, when practiced repeatedly, develops…

Training Within Industry

I made an interesting discovery the other day, while following a link about Lean, that opened up a chapter in the history of well as coaching and consulting.

As the United States entered the Second World War, it became apparent to the federal government that there was an urgent need to rapidly train thousands of men in industries related to the war effort. Thus was born the Training Within Industry Service (or TWI, for short), a training consulting agency that developed and delivered training methodologies to war-critical companies.

Over the war-years of 1941 to 1945, TWI evolved methods for job skills training, job improvement training, and job relations training (known as the "J" programs). By the end of the war, over one million workers had gone through the "J" programs. Then, with the end of the war, TWI was dissolved as a US government department. However, TWI was reborn during the rebuilding of Europe and Japan. And in the latter case, led direc…