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Showing posts from December, 2011

Happy New Year 2012

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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