Sunday, January 31, 2010

Transforming HR


At the ODNet discussion lists, one of the members asked for input and advice on an organization that has decided to transform its HR function, to be designed using OD principles.

Interesting undertaking. It reminds me of an experience I had in the mid 1980's. After a merger, the new HR leaders initiated a sweeping change of the HR organization, flowing from ideas such as:
- Dave Ulrich on HR as strategic business partners
- Dana Gaines Robinson on becoming performance consultants
- David Hanna on organizational performance consulting

As progressive as it was, this project provoked tremendous resistance, especially among those HR folks who were on the "losing side" of the merger. The attitude was, "Who do they think they are, coming in here, and telling us we have to change?"

The business unit Training Managers, reporting up to HR Directors, were not immune to this change. And we were one of the most recalcitrant groups of all. One of the reasons for our defiance, I recall, was that the heads of HR had not consulted us in the design of the change initiative. We saw ourselves as internal consultants and change agents, but apparently that perception was not shared by the HR leadership.

In one of our rambunctious transformation meetings, I remember one of my humorous colleagues saying, "Who is going to facilitate the facilitators?"

In the end, the transformation was a success. And certain individuals were exited from the organization.

Some lessons learned?

- Use the Change Formula (Change = Vision + Dissatisfaction + First Steps > Resistance)

- Communicate! Especially the reasons for the change.

- Involve. Especially those to be most affected by the change.

- Expect pain.

- Expect turnover.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Jan 31, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

On Leaders and Leading


On LinkedIn, Houston-based leadership coach Patricia Jackson asked a deceptively simple question that has triggered a torrent of replies: "True leaders are..."

As I said to her in a side note, I like simple questions on LinkedIn (and elsewhere). Simple questions, asked simply. They bring out the best (and the most) replies.

My answer, also kept simple was: "...all around."

Here's what I meant by that.

True leaders are everywhere. And they are not what you would think.

They are the everyday leaders, the modest, unsung ordinary heroes who take the lead, step up to challenges, and get things done, without fanfare, headlines, fancy titles, or big salaries.

What's my definition of leadership? There are three parts:
1. Seeing what needs to be done
2. Mobilizing others
3. Taking action

A lesson I learned somewhere along the way is that there are Leaders (people with big offices and clout), there are leaders (people who take the lead and don't get much credit) and there is leadership development (a field I have worked in a long time where there are lots of fads).

What really makes the most difference, at the end of the day, is leading.

Posted By Terrence Seamon, Jan 25, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Caring and Employee Engagement - Janice Lee Juvrud


I am pleased to present my first guest blogger of 2010, OD consultant and executive coach Janice Lee Juvrud of the Meridian Group. Her lifelong work is to support the development of work cultures where individuals and organizations flourish.

Like me, Janice is passionate on the topic of employee engagement. You can read more of her thoughts and follow her at Your Search Lights.

In the following post, Janice explores the importance of caring in helping to build an engaged culture.

The Essence of Employee Engagement by Janice Lee Juvrud

Caring is the essence.....

I am a whole person who comes to work.

I bring my hopes, desires, energy, worries, insecurities, and the joys of my family, as I work with my colleagues.

I am human. I want to be appreciated, trusted — even loved!

My feelings drive my actions. They energize me or they take energy from me.

Having all these feelings, how might I feel cared about at work?

- speak openly and honestly with me

- listen to me

- include me in decisions that affect me

- trust me to manage my work so it has meaning and then I can bring my energy and creativity to improving it

- tell me what is expected of me

- provide training so I can do a good job

- work together by appreciating and building on each others strengths

- with your knowledge and connections, support my goals to grow and succeed

- so I may be connected, fill me in on the larger company plans and production picture

- so I know how my part contributes to the whole and how I make a difference, give me feedback

- be genuinely interested in who I am

If you engage me this way I will know you care, and you will have all of me. I will bring my full energy, responsibility, and creativity to the task. There will be no limit to how I contribute to the company's success.

[Copyright 2010 by Janice Lee Juvrud. All rights reserved.]

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Jan 24, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The CORE of Employee Engagement


Last year, I mused about the essence of leadership.

Essence = the basic, real, and invariable nature of a thing; the inward nature; the substance, spirit, lifeblood, heart, principle, soul, core.

This year, in collaboration with my colleague Janice Lee Juvrud , I am pondering: What is the essence of employee engagement?

Now let's get to the core of engagement.

Culture of Caring & Connecting - Highly engaged cultures care deeply about their product, their brand, their customers, and their employees. They connect with every key stakeholder, especially customers and employees, using multiple channels of communication, including new social media. This continuous caring and connecting results in a nourishing flow of innovative ideas and input.

Opening & Owning - Highly engaged cultures are high commitment organizations that open the books to employees and share vital business information with them, turning employees into true business partners who can take ownership of their piece of the system.

Renewing & Recognizing - Highly engaged cultures are continually changing, never satisfied with the status quo, but ever in pursuit of renewal. This culture of open communication emphasizes recognition of people and their contributions to the organization.

Energizing and Empowering - Highly engaged cultures are action oriented and collaborative. They cherish and unleash the real personalities of the people who work there, resulting in creativity, fun and excitement. In addition to this energy, these organizations empower people through trust, training, and teamwork.

More to come on this model as my colleague Janice Lee Juvrud and I prepare to launch a set of culture change tools for driving a highly engaged organization, designed around these core ideas.


Posted by Terrence Seamon, Jan 21, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Embrace Change in 2010


If you, like me, are a student of change, you are probably familiar with the Bridges model and the Kotter model. Both classics.

But how about the Satirmodel?

Virginia Satir was a family therapist and author whose understanding of the process of change has found a home in the world of coaching and software engineering.

Blogger Steven. M. Smith provides a well-illustrated summary of the Satir model, and blogger David Cheong relates it to his personal change journey.

In his piece called "Embrace change, your life depends on it," Cheong says: "...change is always scary. Yet, it is the Secret to Success."

The Secret to Success! Great point.

So as you look ahead to this new year and formulate your goals and intentions, here are some thoughts on embracing change to achieve success.

Challenge - Satir identified the role of a Foreign Element in triggering change. The foreign element can be an idea, a person, or an action that destabilizes your status quo and threatens your comfort. What foreign element can you embrace to start the unfreezing movement toward change?

Happening - You may have heard this old saying: "Some people make things happen, some watch things happen, while others wonder what has happened." How do you become the person who makes things happen?

Agent of Change - You may have heard the phrase "agent of change" but have you thought of yourself that way? An agent of change understands "agency" and sees change as taking initiative to make things happen.

Radicalize - The word "radical" gets a bad rap when people use it to mean extreme or fanatical. Go to the dictionary, and we find that originally radical meant "having roots." So radicalize your embrace of change by asking yourself, What are the roots of my vision, my calling, my passion?

Go - While planning to change is important --and you should assess risk, gather data and analyze options-- don't get stuck there. Do. Move. Act. Take the risk. And see what happens.

Engage - And don't go it alone. Partner up. Collaborate. Synergize with others.

Satir, in her understanding of the process of change, recognized that, at some point in the chaos, there is an "aha moment" where a Transforming Idea emerges, an idea that re-orders things, that alters your vision, an idea that leads to a breakthrough.

To your transformation! and your success!

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Jan 13, 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Making 2010 A Great Year


As a warm-up exercise, I asked the attendees at yesterday's St. Matthias Employment Ministry workshop (called "LinkedIn, the Job Search, and You") this question:

~ "What are you thinking about doing to make 2010 a great year?"

After milling about with other participants for several minutes, I then asked for some to share their answers. There were lots of good thoughts, including:
- exercise more
- learn some new skills
- attend more support groups
- network more
- connect with more people
- use LinkedIn more fully

So how about You. What are you thinking of doing to make 2010 a great year?

Because of the stress inherent in the job search, let me suggest an outline for your thinking, adapted from Dr. Kathleen Hall's wonderful book A Life In Balance.

She recommends that you take good care of your SELF:

Serenity, Slowness, and Sleep - To protect yourself from rising anxiety, seek out your daily dose of serenity. There are many pathways to consider. Find one or two that work for you. Maybe meditation or yoga. Maybe a walk or listening to music. Perhaps prayer.

And if you find yourself rushing around and running short of breath, recognize the value in slowing down. Just as there are times for urgency, there are also times to take it slow. Slow down with eating, for example. You'll enjoy it more. (For more great ideas on taking life slower, see this TEDtalk by Carl Honore, the author of In Praise of Slowness.)

And don't shortcut on your sleep. Research strongly supports its importance to your health and performance.

Energy and Engine of Success- Your success depends upon your energy. All of the above "S" ideas (as well as the "L" and "F" ideas below) will support the energy you need each day to be at your best.

Just as you need to maintain the engine in your car, the "engine of your success" is your own internal combustion system, namely You. Since energy is the key component, make sure you have plenty of energizers in your life. Energizers are those things (e.g. exercise) and people (e.g. a support group) that fuel, recharge and replenish you, physically, emotionally, spiritually. And be careful about the things and people that drain your energy and deplete you.

Love and Learning- Love, in the context of job hunting, means relationships. You shouldn't go it alone. And in truth, you can't hope to succeed by going it alone. You need the support of others, especially family, friends, and anyone else that cares about you. So be sure to reach out to others, make connections, and give freely from the heart. It will come back to you many times over.

And set a learning goal for yourself. Maybe learn more about social media such as twitter and LinkedIn. Maybe learn another language. Whatever it is, keep stimulating those brain cells.

Focus, Food, and Flexibility - Finally, the three "F"s for taking good care of your SELF. First is Focus. What are you after? Set a clear objective for yourself and pursue it. Share your objective with your contacts so they know what you are seeking and can lend their support.

Food, while obviously important to our health and energy, has another advantage that might not appear at first glance: It's a great way to bring people together. Consultant Kenny Moore has pointed out that the word company derives from "sharing bread together." You can create your own company of supporters by designing opportunities to break bread together.

And last, it's important to be flexible, because you don't know what is going to come your way. There may be more chaos ahead! Stay loose, and strengthen your resilience so you can bend and bounce as needed along the way.

OK. Go out there and make 2010 a great year!

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Jan 10, 2009

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Three Things You Like About Your Job - 2010


Two years ago, I wrote a blog entry called "Three Things You Like About Your Job." In that time, it has been one of the most popular posts that folks visit on Here We Are. Now What?

Why? I can only guess. Perhaps it is because people are so dissatisfied at work that they are wondering what others like about their jobs.

Well, the other day, the Conference Board reported that American workers' job satisfaction had dropped like a rock to an all-time record low.

Why so much unhappiness? Could it be that workers are overworked? disengaged? anxious? afraid?

Interesting. Since I was downsized in October of 2008, I have been working for myself. Although, in this recession, it has been a daily struggle to survive, there are some things I like about this job:

- I am my own boss

- I get to work with a wide variety of clients

- I have time to ponder, write, be creative, connect with people, and help others through ministry at my church

So, how about you? What do you like about your job in 2010?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Jan 6, 2010

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Top 5 Blog Posts of 2009


What blog posts garnered the most views in 2009? According to the metrics on Google Analytics, here they are, the Top 5 from Here We Are. Now What?

Galvanize Into Action

Management 3.0

Specializing In the Impossible

Refreshing Advice for the Job Hunt

SMART Goals Again

It's interesting, to me, to see what my readers were most drawn to: two posts on Job Search, two on Management, and one on Organization Development. All five on managing change.

A big "Thank You" to all who stop by this blog and read my stuff. I hope you are finding some value in it. Please leave more comments in 2010. I love hearing from you.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Jan 5, 2010

Monday, January 04, 2010

Engagement: A New Lens on Performance Review


When this blog turns up in a Google search, what terms are people looking for most often? The answer: Performance review.

I've addressed this topic before (here and here). And these entries are among the most frequently visited posts on Here We Are. Now What?

So what else can I say?

As we start 2010, perhaps a new way of looking at performance review is in order, eh? In that spirit, let's use Engagement as our lens.

If a business leader hears about employee engagement and sees the potential in it to raise his organization's productivity and profitability, how would he link it to his annual performance management process? Here are four design elements to start with:

Commitment - Essentially, employee engagement comes down to commitment: How committed is the employee to the organization? Let's cut to the quick on this and say: Employee commitment is directly related to the degree of commitment they feel from the organization. So, if you want high performance from employees, demonstrate your commitment to them. This can take a variety of forms. In the context of performance review, one thing you can do is "turn the tables" and ask the employee for feedback. Ask: How are we doing? What can we do to provide you with better support this year? What are your goals that we can help you with?

Ownership - Some employees are already highly engaged. If you could "pop the lid" on their psyches and peer inside, what would you see? One of the things you'd notice is that they have the attitude of an owner. They take ownership of the things they do. They don't need much supervision. And they don't need your feedback either in most cases. In fact, they are their own toughest critics most of the time.

So how do you spread this ownership mentality to other employees? In a nutshell, there are two things you must do:

1) Expect it. Make it one of your expectations. Communicate it to your employees. Let them know that "taking ownership" is a key to success in your organization.

2) Demonstrate it to your employees by treating them like owners. Give them a real share in the risk and the reward.

Relationships - As Michael Lee Stallard has so eloquently taught us, engagement is about connectedness. In other words, the quality of the relationship, between the person and the organization, is a critical component in the engagement equation. And where does the relationship "rubber meet the road" in organizations? The Boss. As the saying goes: "People don't leave companies. They leave bosses." Selecting bosses is one of the most critical decisions that organizations make all the time, yet they flub it almost as often. The annual performance review process is a great time to zero in on the quality and effectiveness of your managers. In particular, their coaching and interpersonal skills, as well as their EQ.

Emotional Investment - As Judith Bardwick has taught us so clearly, employee engagement is about emotions and feelings. Indeed, "feelings are facts" just as vital to an organization as its numbers. But almost always ignored.

Look: If you want more engaged employees, you've got to pay attention to feelings. Feelings drive decisions. Including the decision to take ownership and give 110 percent to the organization. In the end, whether an employee engages, and gets fully in gear the way you'd like, is up to the employee. You can create the conditions and context in which they are likely to "feel like it." In terms of performance review, don't show me an appraisal form. Show me that you care.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Jan 4, 2010

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Try A New Way


Today at the 12 o'clock Mass, Fr. Nick had a good sermon.

It's Epiphany (in Greek: epi=upon + phanos=shine; in other words, "revealing"), and today we heard, in the Gospel according to Matthew, about the Magi from the East who followed a star, in search of a savior that had been born in Roman-occupied Palestine.

Nick paused to explain that the word "magi" means magician or astrologer or masters of mystery.

When these strangers reached Israel, they stopped to see King Herod, who was very interested in their reason for coming to his land. Secretly hoping to find and slay the newborn king, he told them to be sure to stop by his palace again on their way home to tell him where the infant could be found.

After they found the child, an angel visited the Magi in a dream and warned them not to go home the way they came, but to go another way.

What rich imagery and food for the creative soul:

- astrologers from the East

- following a star

- an angel in a dream

- returning home a new way

As he dismissed us at the end of Mass, Fr. Nick suggested that we go home a different way.

As 2010 dawns, I think I will try some new ways.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Jan 3, 2010

Friday, January 01, 2010

What Was the Big Idea?


What was the "big idea" in management over the past decade?

The esteemed editors of the Harvard Business Review came out with their top ten list. It's a smart list, but it's missing a few things. And one Big Idea in particular:

~ Employee Engagement!

Last year, I wrote a blog entry on a new era of management, Management 3.0.

Management 3.0 is about engaging and unleashing people.

As I have said before, we are witnessing a paradigm shift in organizations worldwide:

~ from focus on weaknesses to focus on strengths

~ from appraisal to appreciation

~ from “our way or the highway” to flexibility

~ from “one size fits all” to customization

~ from “command and control” to coach and engage

Management 3.0 recognizes that the aims of the earlier eras --increasing productivity and satisfying customers-- are still relevant, but are achieved by hiring the best and trusting that they will do what the organization needs to have done.

Call it the talent management movement, or the positive workplace movement, or the employee engagement movement, or the strengths-based movement, or the appreciative inquiry movement, or whatever. It is happening.

Expect to see this tectonic plate continue to move in 2010 and beyond.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, January 1, 2010