Showing posts from 2011

Happy New Year 2012

The name of the first month, January, comes from the Roman god Janus who has two faces, one that looks back, and one that looks ahead. A perfect name for the month when we turn the page and start a new year.

Looking back at 2011, one of the highlights for me was the opportunity to contribute to several global articles on Organization Development, including this interview.

As an OD practitioner, I've often said that the place to be is in the midst of change. "Change is where the action is," so to speak.

Over my career span, that is often exactly where I have found myself. Change is a crucible of learning. It can get hot in there. But if you can take it, it will strengthen you.

At last night's New Year's Eve party, a friend showed up who had changed: he had lost 40 pounds. We were all impressed by his achievement. How did he do it? Discipline. He had set a goal for himself. He resolved to achieve it. And he persisted, without slipping back to his old ways.

It got m…

Fight VUCA Stress in 2012

At a Christmas party this week, I took an informal poll on the question "At your workplace, what would really help you and your fellow workers most in 2012?" I heard these answers:

- hire more staff
- shorten meetings
- communicate and listen more
- be more appreciative, flexible, and considerate
- provide more training

As I keep my finger on the pulse of my diverse clients here in New Jersey, I notice that stress has been pretty high in the workplace. My prediction for 2012 is that stress will continue to stay at a heightened level.

Why? According to recent news reports on the U.S. economy, hiring will be slow in 2012, and many employers are planning further headcount cuts. Workloads, however, are likely to keep going up. "Doing more with less" will continue.

This is the main driver of workplace stress! When you combine workloads, pressure, and time shortages, with uncertainty and chaos, much of it due to organizational change, watch out: stress will increase. As deca…

The True Meaning of Christmas

As the Catholic son of a Jewish mother, I've always had a mixture of feelings about Christmas. On one hand, it's definitely my favorite time of the year. On the other hand, I am saddened that so many find no joy in its celebration.

Yesterday, I came across a blog post by communications consultant Shel Israel, called "A Jew's View of Christmas," a bittersweet remembrance of growing up as a Jew and watching the Christians around him enjoying Christmas.

This is the comment I left on his blog.

For me, the meaning of Christmas comes down to one word: Gift. In the Gospel story, gift is a central image and idea:

~ The Incarnation is God coming into the world as a gift of love and transformation.

~ The baby is an unexpected gift to Mary and Joseph.

~ And the Magi bring extraordinary gifts to the Holy Family.

So the best way to keep Christmas? Here are five ways:

G - Give the gift of yourself to others

I - Inspire others with peace and joy

F - Find the star in your life that leads …

Positive Demolition

"You know how I handle stress?" the workshop participant answered. "I use positive demolition."

The speaker was a participant in a recent stress management class. He was one of a group of very busy technical managers with lots to do in the demanding and fast-paced environment of a global pharmachem company.

Positive Demolition, I echoed. "What's that?"

He said: "Sometimes, what eases my stress the best is the opportunity to destroy something. Like busting down a wall so I can expand a room in my house. When I bust down a wall, I feel great. I take all my frustrations out on that wall."

The other participants were enjoying this. They were each up against a lot of stress at work. Overloaded, overstretched, dumped on.

"I feel a lot better afterwards," he said.

Listening to their discussion, I could tell that the wall was substituting for something (or someone) else that they wished they could pummel into dust.

Here are several ideas for ho…

The Teaching of Suffering

You've heard the old expression "If you want an omelette, you have to break some eggs."

Came across this quote the other day:

~ There is no oil without squeezing the olives; no wine without pressing the grapes; no fragrance without crushing the flower.

I don't know who wrote it or where it's from. But I like it.

As a believer in synchronicity, I'm wondering what the message is for me. My mom had a saying: "It's a sign."

At the moment, here's the message I'm coming up with.

Sometimes, to obtain the sweetest things in life, you have to suffer first. Perhaps a great deal of suffering. Maybe even to death.

Khalil Gibran wrote: "Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls . . . seared with scars."

There are many who are suffering. The 14 million unemployed Americans, and their families, who live each day in ever-increasing desperation. The family of a slain police officer. The grieving widower who lost his wife.

Recently, in working …

The "No" Principle

Bronnie Ware is an Australian songwriter, author, blogger and creative soul. She recently released a book titled The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, wherein she shares the sad thoughts of people she met in palliative care:

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Bronnie Ware writes: "When you are on your deathbed, what is (on) your mind? How wonderful to be able to let go and smile . . . Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness."

She is right. Life is a choice.

The Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset once wrote, "Living is the constant process of deciding what we are going to do."

And every Yes is accompanied by a No. Like the yin and yang principle in Buddhis…

Real Change

Many have wondered what the Occupy Wall Street protests are all about. This morning, while listening (and butting into) my son Kevin's podcast recording session, "Stuck Between Stations," the topic turned to the economy and society.

Kevin and his co-host Peter Tumulty, and their guest Patrick Healy, agreed that Occupy Wall Street is a social movement that is saying "Enough is enough."

The protesters don't have specific demands because the issue is not specific. Instead, the issue is the need for fundamental change. Radical change. Real change.

Filmmaker Ian MacKenzie has made a great little video about what Occupy Wall Street means. He believes that there is a shift in consciousness going on right now. I hope he is right.

There are millions mired in misery right now, just inches away from foreclosure, homelessness, and hitting rock bottom.

It is time for real change.

Posted by Terrence Seamon on Saturday December 3, 2011

On The Way

Today, my wife Joan and I saw the new movie "The Way" starring Martin Sheen, directed and written by his son Emilio Estevez. Can a movie be both incredibly gorgeous and spiritual at the same time? Apparently it can. Director Estevez has proved it with this inspiring road movie.

El Camino de Santiago, the Way of St. James, is an ancient route from the Pyrenees in southern France, across northern Spain, through Galicia to the Atlantic Ocean. For over 1000 years, pilgrims have followed The Way, a route that passes through such places as Pamplona, Burgos, and Leon. The Way 'ends' at the tomb of the Apostle St. James the Greater located inside the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (Field of Stars).

Martin Sheen plays a Dad whose son dies in the mountains while starting The Way. As Sheen's character decides to make the pilgrimage his son had begun, he meets others along the way. Each is searching for an answer to a dilemma. One wants to quit smoking. One wants to lose …

Thinking As One

Yesterday, the Villagers TheaterPlayers concluded a three week run of the rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar." It was a spectacular triumph for all, the cast, crew, orchestra and everyone else involved. A great team effort.

For decades, researchers have studied teams --teams in sports, teams in healthcare, teams in space exploration, teams in entertainment, teams in emergency response, teams in the military-- and have tried to figure out what makes the most effective teams tick.

One of my favorite studies is the work by Larson and LaFasto where they identified eight characteristics of highly effective teams:
1 The team has a clear goal.
2 The team has a results-driven culture.
3 The team has capable team members.
4 The team has unified commitment.
5 The team has a supportive and collaborative climate.
6 The team has high standards of excellence.
7 The team has external support and encouragement.
8 The team has facilitative leadership.

In a recent team building class at a manufactur…

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 did that for me a couple years ago when he took the word Thanksgiving and broke it into pieces: Thanks and Giving.

When he said that, "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

As the day of Thanks and Giving approaches this week, 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 on Saturday November 19, 2011

Toward More Respectful Workplaces

With sexual harassment allegations, as well as sexual abuse, in the headlines again, managers would do well to revisit and reflect upon their affirmative duty to take steps each and every day to ensure that their workplaces are safe and free from all forms of harassment.

In a recent series of workshops, participants generated ideas on actions managers can take that will help to prevent harassment. Here are a few of those ideas:

- Listen actively and with empathy
- Be aware of what's going on it your environment
- Keep lines of communication open
- Educate everyone about the issue and your policy
- Lead by your example
- Be mindful of your own conduct
- Show respect to others
- Treat others as you would want to be treated
- Be a professional at all times
- Take these issues seriously
- Act promptly
- Express strong disapproval of behavior that crosses the line

Do you want to stop workplace harassment? If you are a manager, you've got to DARE to take the lead.

- Differences

In today's incre…

How Goes the Fight?

After attending a funeral service this morning, I walked across the windswept parking lot and briefly spoke to a friend. His greeting was, "How goes the fight?"

He was referring to the challenge of the job market. For job hunters, every day is a fight in a war that seems to have no end.

If you are seeking a job, or know someone who is searching, the big question is: How are you surviving and thriving in today's difficult job market?

Back in 2008 and 2009 when this Great Recession blew in like an arctic storm, freezing millions out of work, the story of Charles Pixley stood out like a beacon. A courageous soul, Pixley did something quite creative. I had to blog about it. Here is that entry, from November of 2009, re-posted:

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 w…

Tiramisu for the Soul

For many, the time in between services at your house of worship is a long soul-less period of working, chores, deadlines, and worries. Wouldn't it be wonderful if, during the week, you had a "pick me up" for your soul?

There is a wonderful dessert that you'll find on the menu of most Italian restaurants, called tiramisu, which loosely translated means "pick me up." Called by some "heaven in the mouth," tiramisu is a delicious way to end a meal.

For me, a faith sharing group meeting is like tiramisu. It's a spiritual "pick me up" that refreshes you during the week.

At my parish, St. Matthias in Somerset, NJ, we encourage the formation of small groups that gather in someone's home, once a week for six weeks. Each week there is a theme, a reading from scripture, and a discussion. The aim of the gathering is to connect the scripture to our lives and share our faith journeys with one another. Small scale, simple to carry out, yet profoun…

Leading With the Heart

So much of what is written about leadership is "in the head," meaning that the competencies highlighted include planning, organizing, strategizing, decision making, problem solving, analyzing, improving, and the like. All good and useful to be sure.

But really leading effectively involves being "in the heart" too. So here are some additional competencies that the well balanced leader will take the time to ponder and develop.

Helping: In my leadership classes, I always ask the participants to tell stories about leaders they admire. I encourage them to say what makes these leaders so memorable and effective. One answer that comes up time after time is, Leaders that help. Leaders that are there for you. That you can count on. That pitch in and get their hands dirty. Who back you, and go to bat for you.

Engaging: We often say that the best leaders are ones who "lead by their example." But what example are we talking about? What would be included in this? One s…

Together Everyone Achieves More

When my sons were young kids, they swam on a local swim team. Every swimmer was given a t-shirt with the slogan "TEAM means Together Everyone Achieves More" printed on the back.

Are you part of a team? Or a team leader? Or a manager responsible for teams in your organization? If so, here is a way to turn this slogan into an operating model for your team.

For each word in the TEAM acronym, I offer some questions that you and your team can use to discover resources to improve your team's performance.

Together - How well is the team working together?

Everyone - Is everyone on the same page? Is everyone pulling in the same direction? Can everyone be counted on?

Achieves - How well is the team achieving its goals? What is working? What could be improved?

More - What more could the team do to work more effectively as one?

The legendary baseball player Babe Ruth said it well: "The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual…

Be the Blessing

We are in the middle of a month long renewal of stewardship at my church, St. Matthias in Somerset, NJ. Each weekend, we hear from diverse speakers who talk about the many aspects of being a faithful steward and active disciple.

This weekend, the message touched on Tikkun Olam, which refers to repairing (or restoring) the world. By doing good deeds (mitzvot), deeds that feed the hungry, clothe the naked, put a roof over the homeless, and destroy injustice, we perfect ourselves and we repair the world.

I was reminded of a saying that Canada-based consultant Jan Yuill often mentions on the Organization Development Network discussion board:

~ "Take care of yourself. Take care of each other. Take care of this place."

That sums up the steward's role nicely.

Florida-based consultant Ed Hampton puts it poetically like this:

~ "Please keep your goodness coming! You were blessed to be a blessing. And take your blessings to action of spirit."

Posted by Terrence Seamon on Su…

Unemployed? Deja Vu All Over Again

I’m sure you are reading the latest articles and stats on how bad the jobs crisis is in the US. What saddens me is when someone who has been unemployed finally lands a gig, only to find himself (or herself) bounced out again, back to the unemployment lines.

Just earlier today, I got one of those emails from someone I know here in New Jersey.

In his email, he asked me for my advice on how to keep his LinkedIn profile up-to-date while he resumes his job search. I offered the following advice:

- Number One, make sure that your profile (and your resume) are up-to-date, including the gig you had that ended too soon.

- Make sure that you put in your accomplishments! Even from non-paid work such as a pro bono project or volunteer work.

- Take a good hard look at your headline on Linkedin. That’s the space right under your name. It may be the most precious real estate on your profile! When someone (like a headhunter, a recruiter, or a business owner) looks at your name, what message will they see…

Stewardship Is Love In Motion

Jeanine is a friend from church at St. Matthias in Somerset, New Jersey. Wife, mother, and teacher, she is also a living saint, an inspirational model for all of us. Ten years ago, she suffered a spinal cord injury in a car crash and has been paralyzed from the chest down ever since. Confined to a wheel chair, you might think she would be a bitter recluse. Quite the contrary.

Jeanine is on the go, driving her kids places in her specially equipped van. And she is filled with the Spirit, her heart full of gratitude for all the gifts in her life.

This morning, at all four of the Sunday Masses, she and her husband joined our pastor Father Doug for the homily. The topic? Stewardship Is Love In Motion.

For Jeanine, being a faithful disciple means following the example of the faithful steward in the Good News. In the gospel according to Matthew, we find the "parable of the talents" which tells us what God expects us to do here on earth.

Essentially, each of us is given time, talent …

New Models Thinking

Physician, Libertarian and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul says he would have a “Secretary of Peace” in his cabinet. Now that's what I call 'New Models Thinking.'

We are in a global crisis at this moment in history. More than ever before, we need new thoughts, new ideas, new models.

And this includes models of leadership. We need new models for leaders and leadership development.

In my view, we need more leaders like Dr. Paul. Leaders who:

- Stick to their principles
- Speak truth to power
- Hold to a higher standard
- Call everyone to a better quality of life

Watching the Republican debate the other night, I was struck by the sharp divide between the 'Same Old' candidates and the 'New Models Thinking' candidates. The 'Same Old' ones want to tweak our existing processes. The 'New Models' Thinkers are looking to new ways. They are ready to initiate radical ("at the root") change. They want to innovate and take America out of th…

Leaders Honor Their People

We have all read the quote from ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu about a leader, but have we ever read the entire quote? Here it is.

~ A leader is best when people barely know that he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worst when they despise him. Fail to honor people, They fail to honor you. But of a good leader, who talks little, when his work is done, his aims fulfilled, they will all say, "We did this ourselves."

Did you notice the sentence that almost never is quoted?

~ Fail to honor people, They fail to honor you.

Whoa! Let that sink in, folks.

So, what can a leader do to honor people?

- Listen to them

- Let them fly

- Lift them up

This may be the killer app of leadership that we have been waiting for.

Posted by Terrence Seamon on Tuesday September 20, 2011

Running Conversations

Have you tried twitter chat yet? I participated in my first one the other day. It was like running in a race with a group of people that are having a spirited discussion on a given topic. Hard to keep up. Yet, exhilarating at the same time.

The invitation came from careers expert Alexandra Levit who tweeted me, asking: "Hi Terry! Are you free Friday at 1PM ET to drop into my Twitter chat on workplace productivity? Would love your expertise!"

I said I'd love to. So I went and researched what a twitter chat was and how to participate. It turned out to be a simple process using tweetdeck.

What was not so simple was the experience itself! As the participants arrived, folks started tweeting their hellos and replies to the questions posed by the moderator. And whoosh! the chat was rolling. I jumped right in and found it to be a rush.

A flood of ideas, each in under 140 characters (the twitter limit) swept by, but all containing the hashtag quickbasechat. With that hashtag, I can…

What Does OD Mean. . . to You?

Rowena Morais, the Malaysia-based editor of HR Matters, asked me to weigh in on an article she is writing for the October issue. The question she is asking many HR thought leaders is this:

~ What does OD mean to you? What are the things that you believe the person tasked with this role should look to manage and resolve?

At its essence, Organization Development (OD) is about change. Change that renews and strengthens the organization, enhancing its capacity to pursue and reach its goals.

Years ago, one of the seminal figures in OD, Dick Beckhard, defined it this way: "Organization Development is the planned effort to increase organization effectiveness and health through interventions in the organization's “processes,” using behavioral-science knowledge."

The intent of organizational change, then, is to improve the operating effectiveness of some part of the organizational system (or the whole system), improve the results, and improve the capabilities of the organization.

The Leadership Rulebook Appendix by Chris Glennie

In today's blog post, I am pleased to feature guest blogger Chris Glennie from the UK. His post, titled "The Leadership Rulebook Appendix," follows this intro.

I met Chris recently via social media. Chris is a creative, energetic and motivational leader with experience in general management, professional services, professional, academic, educational publishing and marketing experience, sound strategic judgment and an ability to join the dots across organisations, effect change and get things done.

He has a bachelor's degree from Oxford University and an MBA from the University of Middlesex, where he specialised in organisational culture. After 20 years in academic and educational publishing, Chris has started thinking and writing on a wide range of leadership and management issues at

The Leadership Rulebook Appendix
by Chris Glennie

Don't throw the rulebook out, just add an appendix

The resignation of Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple has filled many co…

HR Leaders, What Keeps You Up At Night?

Back in 2006, I wrote a blog entry called “What Keeps You Up At Night?” about the priorities of HR leaders. Here is the original blog post, followed by some current thoughts.

Original Post

A handy needs assessment tool I learned years ago is to ask a client: “What keeps you up at night?” In other words, What concerns are on your mind?

A CEO I once worked for used this question to start off his executive retreats. The company was growing rapidly and the two areas that “kept him up at night” were People and Systems.

I received an e-mail yesterday about an upcoming HR conference where the focus will be the “Top 5 Things that Keep HR Up at Night.” They are:

1. How do I get a seat at the executive table?
2. How can I take advantage of technology to get more efficient, effective and innovative?
3. What can I do to take a dysfunctional team from unproductive to extraordinary?
4. How can I make employees excited to come to work?
5. How can I bring humanity back into HR and the rest of my organ…

The Leadership Conundrum

Can you think of an organization that does not want its people, especially its managers, to develop into leaders? I can't think of one. All of my clients ask me for help with this goal.

What does it mean though? What is a leader exactly? Many smart people have studied and pondered this question. And many organizations have spent millions on the quest to develop leaders via readings, courses, competency models, feedback, 360 assessments, executive coaches, and more.

Then along comes a world-class leader who upsets the apple cart of all our thinking. I'm referring to Steve Jobs, the wunderkind CEO who just stepped down from Apple after a turn for the worse in his cancer.

In a very interesting article in Forbes the other day, called "Steve Jobs Broke Every Leadership Rule. Don't Try It Yourself," written by Frederick E. Allen, Jobs' leadership style is described in quite unflattering terms.

Allen quotes Prof. Jeffrey Pfeffer, of Stanford University: “Most boo…

Job Hunters: Do You Have NOW Knowledge?

Typos can be funny...and surprisingly meaningful.

One of my favorites occurred some years ago, when I was Training Manager at a Germany-based chemicals company. A hotshot up-and-coming manager was giving a presentation to a management group. A slide came up and he smiled when he saw it. It said "A now idea." But it was supposed to have said "A new idea." Being very quick on his feet, this guy took it in stride and quipped, "This is not just a new idea, it's a NOW idea." The audience chuckled, appreciating the humor in the flub.

Interestingly, earlier today, a colleague of mine from southern California shared the following comment from a job hunter she is coaching:

"I had a telephone interview with a recruiter recently. She was about as old as my daughter and said to me, “The manager is looking for ‘NOW knowledge’ and would be concerned about my being off the playing field for a couple of years..."

NOW knowledge, eh? Great phraseology. And th…

Five People Who Changed My Life

If you think about the course of your life, with the focus on the process of becoming Who You Are today, I think you will notice the effect that various people had on you. Some for good, some not. But the bottom line is, there were many people whose influence changed you in some way as you moved along your path in life.

On twitter the other day, someone suggested thinking about the five people who changed you for the better.

Though there are many more than five, these five head the list:

My Dad - When I was a kid, I was the egghead of the clan, not much into sports. My athletic and macho fatherloved me and supported me despite my being the odd one of the six kids.

My Mom - My farm-raised mother was a loving person. Raised in a family of Jewish immigrants, she had a lot of old sayings, some of which still resonate in me to this day. She taught me about wisdom. And I learned to cook by watching her.

My Wife - My funny and fierce wife, a professional church musician, has expanded my ap…

Batten Down the Hatches

My wife and I are getting ready for the onslaught of Hurricane Irene, just a few days since the East Coast earthquake. This is the time to "batten down the hatches" to prepare for the worst.

"To batten down the hatches" is a flavorful phrase. According to the dictionary, it comes from a nautical origin. If a ship was entering a storm at sea, the sailors would be told to "batten down the hatches." Quickly they would scurry around closing doors and covering openings so that the rain and ocean waves would not get in and soak the cargo held in the ship's interior.

In today's rough economy, storms sometimes hit us without warning, before we have had a chance to batten anything down. Here are a few ideas for protecting your precious cargo in today's choppy seas.

Think ahead. Have a plan in place for emergencies. What scenarios have you imagined? The process of "scenario planning" can be one of the most effective things your business can do…

Managing With Integrity

Integrity House, based in Newark, NJ, is committed to helping people reclaim their lives. Individuals and families who have hit bottom and are looking for a road back to wholeness. The motto of Integrity House is "Where Recovery Begins." They are one of my clients.

Although they have invited me to teach many topics to their management staff (including supervisory skills, leadership, communication, and workplace harassment prevention), I have learned a great deal from them. Including what it means to manage with integrity.

Managing with Integrity means:

- Being with people, for people. Not being afraid to talk with people, to listen to them. The Manager with Integrity doesn't hide behind her office door. Rather, she is visible, available, approachable. She cares about her team and wants the best for them.

- Courage. He is unafraid. He has the courage to speak his mind on an issue. He is not afraid of conflict. He sees conflict as a process that can lead to new growth.

- …

Getting Away From It All

What do you do to "get away from it all?" You know: to escape the hum-drum ordinary life you live, to a place that is completely "other," where you can truly relax and de-stress.

This Summer, I have been very fortunate in this regard. I've gotten away to several wonderful places, including Germany, the Berkshires, and Maine.

In Germany, we attended several Women's World Cup soccer games, and visited Mainz, Stuttgart, and Berlin. In the Berkshires, we attended several concerts at Tanglewood including Yo Yo Ma playing Schumann. And in Maine, we drove to such far-off places as Lubec, Eastpoint, and Campobello Island in Canada.

What do these diverse places have in common? In every case, my wife and I were with old friends.

The poet Emily Dickinson wrote: "My friends are my estate."

There is a warm soothing effect that comes over you when you spend a few relaxing days in the company of friends. Talking, remembering, crying, laughing.

So, paradoxic…

How Your Imagination Can Improve Your Memory

Is your forgettory working better these days than your memory?

I often make that joke when I am teaching a class. I'll say something like, "If you encounter a good idea today, write it down. Remember: The faintest ink is better than the fondest memory."

I know I'm really talking about myself. If I say to myself, "I'll remember that," it's a sure thing I won't. So I'm disciplining myself to take better notes.

Recently my wife read a great book about memory called Moonwalking With Einstein by Joshua Foer. She so enjoyed it that she immediately applied one of the techniques, The Memory Palace, to memorizing all of the U.S. presidents in order from George Washington to Barack Obama. She then proceeded to amaze her family and friends with her ability to tick off all 44 of them.

This ancient technique, The Memory Palace, is intriguing, as it utilizes our human faculty of imagination to create a mental image of a house, room or other space wh…

Jumping the Curve

Recently, I was asked to speak to a group of job hunters. My talk, called "Jump Starting Your Job Search," went over well with the large gathering of mostly over-50 job seekers.

Afterward, I stuck around awhile to speak with some of the attendees on an individual basis. One man, a salesman, came up to me and said, in a low voice, that he was at the end of his rope and was ready to throw in the towel on his search. I could see that the light in his eyes had just about gone out. It moved me because I've been there myself.

I tried to offer him some words of encouragement and found myself saying, "You've got to jump the curve."

What does it mean to jump the curve?

"Jumping the curve" is a saying that has been around for a few decades. I trace it back to the Irish philosopher and management futurist Charles Handy who said that companies need to become aware of the sigmoid curve. The sigmoid curve (or S Curve) is the naturally occurring sloping line (see th…

Chasing Balloons

To the surprise of many, New Jersey has a lot going for it, including the annual Festival of Ballooning, held in the Summer from Solberg Airport in the rolling hills of central NJ.

My wife and I got up early today for the chance to see the balloons take off. Driving from where we live in New Brunswick to Whitehouse Station did not take long. Using our GPS, we found our way to a field near the airport just as the colorful flotilla was taking off.

Then, along with many others, we gave chase! With my eyes on the winding country roads, and Joan's eyes on the balloons, we raced along through the farmlands, stopping here and there to snap pictures.

Soon, most of the balloons had landed in yards, in fields, and in farm pastures.

A few kept going, floating off toward Rt. 206, somewhere beyond the trees.

Posted by Terrence Seamon on Saturday July 30, 2011

Does Your Team Have A Visionist?

I met a visionist this week.

Teaching "Building Productive Teams" for one of my clients this week, I gave them several team projects to undertake that would translate back to their work in the organization.

One of the assignments was the classic "team shield" exercise. The task was to create a shield that depicts the team's mission (what we do), vision (what we aspire to), and values (what we stand for). They were free to use words and pictures.

In one of the four teams, an Operations member named James stepped up to the task of drawing the team's ideas on a flipchart. To everyone's surprise, James had a talent, a real visual flair, both in printing letters and in drawing images such as a sword, a bow and arrow, a mountain range, and a sunrise. His drawing reflected the input of his whole team, but the end result stood apart from the other three teams in visual splendor.

You could see that he felt very good about what he had contributed. And his team posit…

Take Good Care of Your Self

Because of the stress many are experiencing these days from the recession, work overload, and uncertainty of the times, I am frequently asked to teach Stress Management to my client organizations.

If you (or someone you know) are stressed out, let me suggest an outline for your consideration, adapted from Dr. Kathleen Hall's wonderful book A Life In Balance.

Dr. Hall 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…