Tuesday, February 28, 2012

When Agents of Change Resist Change

What do you do when the people who were once the Agents of Change in your organization become, at a later point in time, the biggest resisters of change?

An example of this happened years ago, in the 1980's when I was with a global chemicals company. The regional training managers were brought together by the HR leadership team at headquarters, to work collaboratively on a comprehensive leadership development program and competency model. It was a rocky time to say the least. Each of was was embedded in a different business unit. Though we were matrixed to HR as well, our allegiance was to our client groups. It became apparent quite quickly that no one wanted to be there. The storming phase would go on a lot longer than anyone thought. One of my fellow training managers quipped, "Who will facilitate the facilitators?" We all laughed but we got the point.

Even agents of change, such as Training & OD Managers, can get in their own way, stuck with their hand in the banana jar.

More recently, there is a project team that, a couple years ago, was given the challenge of revamping their organization's intranet to make it more attractive and engaging. They did their job well, approaching it with care, inviting input and delivering a new interface with lots of new social features like groups and blogs.

Now, a few years later, the powers-that-be are dissatisfied with it and want it changed. The new staff person tasked with the upgrade met with the team members to re-enlist their help. She appealed to them to participate, but the team that delivered the new site dug in their heels and resisted the call to change their "baby." She came away from the meeting disgusted, thinking that "these people are the biggest resisters of change" she has met in a long time.

My advice to these and other change agents is learn to "let go of the banana." Hanging on to something you developed, while understandable, can hurt you.

As the legendary negotiator Herb Cohen once said, "Care...but not that much."

If you care too much, you won't be able to walk away when you ought to.

Posted by Terrence Seamon on Tuesday February 28, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

Busy Week o' Writing!

This has been a busy period of writing for me! Topics range from job search to engagement to leadership. So here is a round-up for those who may have missed something.

My Book! - I self-published my first book, called To Your Success! a motivational guidebook for anyone in transition, whether seeking a job, or seeking more meaningful work.

Keys to Success - After speaking to a local Professional Services Group gathering of job hunters about some of the points in my book, I published this article via examiner.com to reach a broader audience.

Importance of Invitation - On the topic of engagement, one of the keys to connecting and engaging others is the simple (yet powerful) gesture of an invitation. This post was inspired by the prolific John Maxwell whose new LinkedIn group gave me the inspiration.

Leaders, Honor Thy People - On the topic of leadership, I was invited to be a guest blogger at the excellent About Leaders site that is run by Dr. Mary Kay Whitaker and Ron Whitaker. This post, on the importance of honoring your people, has struck a chord.

One more thing: My friend and fellow blogger Dave Summers interviewed me, about my book, for his blog Busted Missive. Check it out here.

Posted by Terrence Seamon on Friday February 17, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

My New Book: To Your Success!

After years of preparation, I finally self-published my first book the other day. Called To Your Success," it is a motivational guidebook for anyone who is "in transition" seeking their next job or searching for more meaningful work.

As the great writing coach William Zinsser once said, "Write what you know." As a veteran of the job search, being "in transition" is something that I know quite well.

The topics covered include:
- identifying your strengths
- clarifying your mission
- writing your accomplishments
- setting goals
- telling your story
- building your resilience
- strengthening your confidence
- learning to sell yourself
- overcoming obstacles
- managing your time
- making change happen
- learning from failure
- achieving success

If you are out of work, or know someone who is searching, then consider this guide. Having been there myself, and having helped many job hunters these past several years, I know how difficult it is.

But there is a process. And it does work.

Posted by Terrence Seamon on Friday February 10, 2012

Monday, February 06, 2012

Fail Well

Have you failed lately? Rather than shuddering at such a question, it may be time to rethink the role and value of failure in life.

At Wimbledon school for girls in the UK, they are having Failure Week, a program intended to boost the resilience and courage of their students.

Headmistress Heather Hanbury says that the program's emphasis will be "on the value of having a go, rather than playing it safe and perhaps achieving less."

When we are kids, the socialization process teaches us that failure is bad and to be avoided. When you get bad grades in school, for example, you sweated the eventual showdown with your parents. Our culture says "Failure is not an option," which pretty strongly slams the door on failure.

At the same time, there has been another school of thought on failure, reflected in such thoughts as these:

Thomas Edison: "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward."

This is what Heather Hanbury is building on with her Failure Week program. She says:

"The girls need to learn how to fail well - and how to get over it and cope with it. Fear of failing can be really crippling and stop the girls doing things they really want to do. The pupils are hugely successful but can sometimes overreact to failure even though it can sometimes be enormously beneficial to them. We want them to be brave - to have courage in the classroom."

And in their lives. Knowing that fear of failure can hold them back, Heather Hanbury wants to equip her students with a healthier outlook.

Don't play it safe. Have a go!

Posted by Terrence Seamon on Monday February 6, 2012