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Showing posts from January, 2012

The Process of Improving

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Looking to improve something in your life in 2012? Perhaps you are thinking of improving yourself? If you are looking to improve your team or your business, here are seven steps to process improvement.

P = Pick your target. Picture success. What would it look like if you actually reached your improvement goal? Envision it as specifically as you can.

R = Review your starting point. Where do things stand right now? What are your strengths that can help you reach the goal? What obstacles stand in your way? Make a list of each using the Force Field diagram where Driving Forces are listed on the left and Hindering Forces on the right. (This excellent strategic change management tool, the Force Field Analysis method, was developed by Organization Development founder Kurt Lewin, and was one of the first OD tools I learned.)

O = Open up. Have you ever been on the receiving end of an improvement hatched behind closed doors? Don't repeat that mistake. Who could help you with this improvement p…

Afflicting the Comfortable

As a youngster, I dutifully attended religion classes and learned many things that have stayed with me through life. The Corporal Works of Mercy, for example:
- To feed the hungry.
- To give drink to the thirsty.
- To shelter the homeless.
- To clothe the naked.
- To visit and ransom the captive.
- To visit the sick.
- To bury the dead.

In sum, to comfort the afflicted.

Somewhere later down the line, I learned another one, that turns the summary on its head:

- To afflict the comfortable.

That one was NOT taught in catechism, if my memory serves. However, it's there, for those who have eyes to see. Afflicting the comfortable is the job description of prophets. That's why they are so often thrown in jail, run out of town, and even crucified.

In today's world, who is fulfilling this prophetic role? Journalists have laid claim. The Occupy Wall Street protesters more recently.

Anyone else? To my way of thinking, there are others in life whose job description contains Afflicting the Comfo…

Goal Setting Made S*I*M*P*L*E

In the training and consulting that I do, I talk about goals quite a bit. Goals are fundamental to success in life. The latest research on success by Dr. Heidi Halvorson points to the importance of setting very specific goals.

My impression, however, is that most people don't set goals. Perhaps they don't buy it, or they don't get it. Or perhaps they did, at one time, but something got in the way, and their goals faded away.

What's the problem then? The SMART (Specific, Measurable, Aggressive, Realistic, and Time bound) formula has stood the test of time quite well. Is something missing?

For those who have been staying clear of goals, for whatever reason, here is a six-point model that I call Goal Setting made S*I*M*P*L*E:

S = Stop to think about what you want out of life. To make more money? Get a better job? Move to a different state? What do you aspire to? What would make you happier?

I = Important vs Urgent: We get so caught up in the crises of the moment that we hard…

Your New Year Epiphany

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It's January 8th in the new year of 2012. Have you had an epiphany yet?

The ancient word "epiphany" comes from the Greek meaning "to show forth." Like a light appearing in a dark room. In more recent usage, some have likened epiphany to the "aha moment" when an idea suddenly occurs to us, like a light bulb appearing in our minds.

An epiphany comes when we least expect it. It's a surprise. A gift.

Writing about the feast of the Epiphany in his daily e-newsletter, Fr. Richard Rohr says that it is about seeing with wonder. The Magi who followed a star to find the newborn king were "questing in wonder." What they found was a mother and father and their baby, huddled in a humble manager.

As a new year opens, what star are you following?

An epiphany can be a very small, ordinary thing. On twitter this morning, South African artist Laureen Raftopulos wrote: "Live in the moment by becoming fully aware of the beauty in the smallest of things aro…

To Your Specific Success

Driving my son Kevin to the train the other morning, I asked him if he had given any thought to his New Year's Resolutions. To my surprise, he said "Yes."

Kevin is a recent college graduate (Rutgers, Class of 2009) who has embarked upon a career in television, working as an editor for a well-known food show, based in New York City.

His goal, he told me, is to make a very specific move within his line of business, a move that would be a good next step in his career path in television.

I was happy to hear that. I offered some words of support to encourage him. And I told him that he is doing one of the things that Dr. Heidi Halvorson says that highly successful people do, namely: set very specific goals.

In her research (published last year in the Harvard Business Review), Halvorson found that successful people do a number of things differently that contribute to their success. And when it comes to goals, she has some very clear pointers to offer:

1. Get very specific - …