Showing posts from May, 2012

On Being a Leader - Memorial Day 2012

On this beautiful Memorial Day morning, when we remember the fallen heroes who served our country in times of war, I am thinking about my father, George James Seamon, who bravely served America during World War II, putting his life on the line in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy against the Nazis. He did not talk a lot about the war, but for the rest of his life (He died in 2003 at the age of 78), he carried a deep admiration for General George S. Patton. Patton, my dad would say, was a true leader. Fearless. Visionary. And genuinely compassionate toward his troops.

The same could be said about my dad, who after the war joined the New Brunswick Police Department and rose steadily through the ranks, attaining the rank of Captain, and ultimately Deputy Chief. Like Patton, my dad was fearless when it came to his job, whether dealing with the criminal element, or with corrupt politicians. Many is the time that men who served under my dad would say how wonderful a leader he was. He could b…

Transforming Ideas Into Action and Results

Ever had the experience of synchronicity? It’s when you notice some coincidental events and you say to yourself “Whoa.” I had one the other day. In the morning, I saw an HBR blog about making ideas happen, and then later I saw a post about the 99% conference on the subject of making your ideas happen.

When I worked for the American Management Association several years ago, I proposed a new seminar on this very topic: How to turn your Brilliant Idea into action. It was shot down in the new ideas committee. Somewhat ironic, you might say.

I was really bummed about that rejection. I thought the seminar idea had real potential. Little did I know that the Great Recession was about to commence. Sometimes, in retrospect, you realize that an idea you are having is “ahead of its time.” Or maybe your idea was like the proverbial seed that fell on rocky ground where there was no soil for it to take root and grow.

So, let me propose this course again. What would it teach? Some of the themes of th…

Making Change Work

Recently, I have been quite close to a few major change initiatives and I've noticed how certain basic principles associated with making change work are routinely overlooked.

People support what they help to create - Here's a basic question for the leaders of change: Have you consulted the people who will be most impacted by the change? Leadership experts like Meg Wheatley and others have taught us that "people support what they help to create." A simple and powerful truth about human nature. If you want the buy in of people in your organization, you must treat them with respect by inviting them to discuss the change. Listen to their concerns, and to their ideas. There's a great quote from Warren Bennis on this: "Good leaders make people feel that they're at the very heart of things."

Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater - How often have you seen this scenario? A CEO gets fed up with something in his organization that he perceives as dys…