Showing posts from November, 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…