Showing posts from September, 2010

Using the CASE Method: How HR and OD Can Improve Performance

On one of LinkedIn’s Organization Development groups, a member asked for responses on this question: “How do you determine the most critical priorities for OD and HR? What process do you use to ensure that your team is addressing the issues most critical to organizational success?”

I answered, use the CASE method:

C = Customers – All organizations exist to serve a customer. Take a good hard look at your organization. How customer-focused are you as a team? Do you know your customer’s business, including their goals and needs? Are you adding value? Are you easy to do business with?

A = Adaptability – All organizations must constantly adapt to their ever-changing environments. It’s Systems Thinking 101. To adapt continuously, they need to learn and change and improve. Learning and Change are two strategically critical processes that OD and HR can have a major role in via the Training & Development, and Organization Development, functions.

S = Strategy – Speaking of strategy, how strateg…

Cognitive Dissonance

Fellow blogger Jen Turi recently blogged about cognitive dissonance as it relates to customer service and organizational performance.

In her blog entry, Jen writes about a customer service rep who is trained to take good care of the customer, but at the same time, she is told to get customers off the phone fast. The faster, the better. And faster was rewarded vs really taking the time to listen to customers and determine how best to help them.

Until seeing her posting, I realized I hadn't thought about cognitive dissonance in quite awhile. Coined decades ago by social psychologist Leon Festinger, the concept is simple: sometimes we find ourselves with two conflicting thoughts. When we experience this disturbing discord of thoughts, what do we do?

In his classic study, When Prophecy Fails, Festinger describes the solution hit upon by a group of people waiting for a spaceship to pick them up as the world comes to its end. When the date comes and goes, and they are still stranded on p…

Designing a Positive Workplace Culture

I recently had the opportunity to offer ideas to a large global organization on how to design a positive workplace culture.

Knowing something about the organization, I suggested that they establish a Positive Workplace Practices "center of excellence," i.e., a small team of internal consultants that would provide expertise on such issues as engagement, respect, and organizational justice.

At this point, I have no idea how far this idea will get, or whether it will ever see the light of day in that organization.

But I must say, I feel exhilarated. There's something so exciting (at least to me) about envisioning what an organization can be.

If you are interested in envisioning the best for your organization, let me know. I'd be happy to dream with you.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Sept 16, 2010. If you would like more ideas on visioning, culture, and ways to design a positive workplace, contact Terry and invite him to your organization.

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On 9/11.

On the morning of September the 11th, I am pondering whether we have learned anything about finding ways to live together in peace since 9-11.

Like many, I am following the news stories every day, such as the Florida pastor who intends to burn the Koran, the release of the American hikers in Iran, and the controversial Islamic center near Ground Zero.

Have we learned anything since 9-11?

Here are some examples of wisdom that I am pondering:

~ Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.- Martin Luther King Jr.

~ You can't shake hands with a clenched fist. - Indira Gandhi

~ Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there. - Rumi

~ And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. - Micah 6:8

~ Take care of yourself. Take care of each other. Take care of this place. - Motto of many peace schools

So how about You? What are you learning as a result of 9/11?

Posted by Terren…

Five Lessons of Leadership

Do you consider yourself to be a leader? I hope you do. Because being a leader is not something esoteric. It's not something reserved for a small elite.

Rather, as Stephen Covey once said, leadership is a choice. It's something anyone can choose to do, though it's not easy, and takes courage. And in choosing to lead, you learn what it takes, and begin a journey that unfolds throughout your life.

There are many lessons in leading. Here are five lessons from my leadership journey.

The Choice - Stephen Covey said "Leadership is a choice, not a position." But many choose not to lead. Rather, they look down at their feet and wait for someone else to stick their neck out. Yes, leading is a risk. It takes courage. Once my dad said to me, "You've got moxie." Moxie is the ability to face difficulty with spirit and initiative. I like that. When my dad complimented me, saying that I had moxie and was proud of me for a brave thing I did, I felt great.

The Vision - …

Lessons from the Van Cliburn Winners

I recently watched a documentary on TV about the finalists in the 2009 international Van Cliburn piano competition held every four years in Fort Worth, Texas. These young virtuosos were incredibly talented, the best pianists in the world from many countries including the U.S., Japan, Russia, China, Italy, South Korea, and Bulgaria. Extraordinarily competitive, hard working, and driven to be the very best, these world class musicians are top performers. And they thrive on performing, practice, coaching and feedback.

We have all known top performers. Some of us have even been top performers at one point or another. Top performers, such as the Van Cliburn pianists, your top salespeople, or a rising star with “hi-potential,” can benefit by coaching as much as anyone. Perhaps even more so if you look at the parallel to the world's top athletes, e.g. Olympians. Every skier, skater, swimmer and diver that competes in the Olympics has a coach and receives coaching. Although these athletes …

"I Just Graduated. Where's My Job?"

My eldest son graduated from college last year and went right to work for a media company. My wife and I were so thankful and relieved.

Unfortunately, there are many others, graduating with four year degrees (and more) from good schools, who are moving back home with mom and dad, unable to find meaningful work in the field they had hoped to enter.

While there are many reasons for this sad state of affairs, including the terrible job market in many areas, there are things that rising seniors can be doing right now to improve their chances come graduation day.

Recently, Wake Forest University published ten tips for seniors, including such good points as “Register with the university’s career office” and “Make an appointment with a career counselor.” Makes sense to use your school’s resources.

Here are five more suggestions from a parent who has seen his son make a successful transition from school to work:

1. Start working while you are still in school. If possible, start working in your fie…