Thursday, October 24, 2013
In the last blog post, I asked, If one is to truly transform one's self and one's life, where would you start? What changes could you begin to make now?
Let's step back and look at this term "transformation." Transformation is a type of change. It's change that moves you "beyond the current form" so to speak. The dictionary puts it this way: to transform is to change form, shape, appearance, structure, or character. Even to metamorphose (as a caterpiller into a butterfly) or to convert (as a believer to an atheist).
So in sum, transformation is a much more fundamental type of change than a new coat of paint or moving the deck chairs around.
Transformation, then, is something like alchemy. Alchemy comes from the Arabic al + kimiya meaning 'the transmutation.' The myth of the alchemist that we learned in Western Civilization class went like this: the alchemist was searching for the secret catalyst that would change lead into gold. Although the medieval alchemist never found this solution, we have been given a great metaphor.
To take a metaphorical leap, today's transformational leaders and change agent often work some alchemy in organizations. The catalyst however is not a secret sauce of some sort. Rather the catalyst is the change agent!
Consider Louis V. Gerstner, who was hired by IBM back in the early 1990's as CEO. IBM's once great prowess was failing and the board was looking for someone to turn the company around. Gerstner was the right choice.
He focused on IBM's people and culture, identifying it's strengths, but also pinpointing where change was needed. He is quoted saying:
"Reorganization to me is shuffling boxes, moving boxes around. Transformation means that you're really fundamentally changing the way the organization thinks, the way it responds, the way it leads. It's a lot more than just playing with boxes."
He didn't change the core business, computers. He went after its culture, the "wiring" of the people of IBM.
This is the job of the change agent, whether you are CEO or a concerned constituent. If the place needs to change, really change, you can't just move the boxes around and expect the result to be any different.
There is a crisis in the church right now. Luckily, the new pope of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, is a transformational leader. He is not changing the core business, leading people to salvation. But he is going after the culture. The culture of the Vatican bureaucracy, as well as the global culture of the faithful.
I wish him well. The church needs transformation badly. Millions of its members have stopped going to church regularly. Soon our churches will be mostly empty except for the gray-haired remnant. It is time, as Saint Francis once heard, "to repair my house."
What can be done? Gerstner and Pope Francis are showing the way to be effective alchemists of transformation. In particular:
Crisis - The awareness of the pressing need to change creates the sense of urgency and galvanizes the people.
Vision - The positive vision of the better tomorrow gives the people hope that it is possible to improve things.
Pathway - The plan of actions gets people mobilized and moving even if it's just baby steps for starters.
And one more:
Dive Deep - Don't be fooled into "moving the boxes around," as Gerstner warns. Reorganizing is seductive because you tell yourself that you have really changed things. While a fresh coat of paint can make a big difference sometimes, it is still only cosmetic change.
As Gerstner once said, Transformational change means fundamentally changing the way the organization thinks, the way it responds, and the way it leads.
Posted by Terrence Seamon on Thursday October 24, 2013
Sunday, October 06, 2013
As Roman Catholic Christians, we believe that the Eucharist, the Body of Christ, is the bread from heaven that nourishes like no other. Spiritually, we subscribe to the saying "You are what you eat."
And the meal is not only comprised of the communion bread that we partake in, but also the Word of God that we hear in the scripture, and even the community present in the congregation that becomes "the eyes and hands and feet" of Our Lord in today's world.
So by full participation at Mass and beyond, we "become what we eat." We become strengthened in our faith to live the Good News and make the world a better place for all.
Yet that is not our only meal. From Monday to Friday, we are stuffed full by other "food" that comes to us via society, especially the mass media. By consumerism, by racism, by capitalism. What is on the menu that we consume in our society? And how does it shape us?
Whether believer or atheist, if you are a person who desires to improve the world in some way, you are up against an incredible obstacle, namely the steady diet of political malarkey that you are fed. The diet that leaves you doubting, confused, fearful, anxious, and maybe filled with hatred for "those people."
If one is to truly transform one's self and one's life, where would you start? What changes could you begin to make now?
A few thoughts.
Turn down the news - Notice I did not say turn it off. You need some news. Like the weather. The traffic report. The obituaries and the movie reviews. Any crises or emergencies that may be happening in your area, like hurricane Sandy. And any good news that gladdens the heart and stirs the soul.
Question what you hear - There is a lot going on that affects you and your neighbors. For example, the rollout of new laws such as Obamacare. What do you make of it all? Let me share a secret with you about the news: You are not getting the whole truth. Every news outlet (not just Fox) is slanting the news based on their own political affiliations. So take everything you hear with a good size "grain of salt."
Seek the truth - In the Gospel stories, Roman governor of occupied Israel Pontius Pilate is supposed to have said, "What is truth?" The question is no less vital in today's world. Here are some words of wisdom in this regard:
Walter Cronkite: "In seeking truth, you have to get both sides of a story."
John F. Kennedy: "Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future."
So in sum, go on a diet from the worldly news. Turn away from the -ism's and the poisonous partisan bickering.
Tune into the Good News wherever you may find it.
And focus on making things better.
To be continued in Part 2.
Posted by Terrence Seamon on Sunday October 6, 2013
Saturday, October 05, 2013
Recently he related this story to my wife and me.
He was networking with someone in the TV commercial voice-over business in New York City. Let's call him Guy. In the course of a lively conversation, Guy asked Dave two questions:
"Dave, What is your passion? And, How will you monetize it?"
From the little I know about Guy, he has a passion for acting and found a way to monetize it via voice-over work in TV commercials.
In Dave's case, his passions include acting, singing, and composing music for movies. He is already working on ways to turn his passions and talents into an income stream.
This story got me thinking about my situation. So I have decided to monetize my blog!
You'll notice three Amazon ads to the left, featuring my three books. Additionally, via Amazon.com, I have created an e-store dedicated to books on the topic of leadership and organizational change business books.
I've decided that it's time to monetize my passions which include writing, blogging, and designing creative solutions to leadership development needs that my clients are struggling with.
Posted by Terrence Seamon on Saturday October 5, 2013
Friday, October 04, 2013
Called Change for the Better: The Leader's Guide to Change, it is now "on the shelf" alongside my first two, To Your Success and Lead the Way.
Here is the press release now being sent to a wide audience of friends around the world:
PRESS RELEASE: NEW BUSINESS BOOK BY LOCAL WRITER
NEW BRUNSWICK NJ - OCTOBER 4, 2013 - New Brunswick-based writer Terrence Seamon has published his third book, entitled Change for the Better
Change for the Better - The Leader's Guide to Change is now available. Change for the Better is a practical guide for organizational agents of change. Whether you are a manager, parent, coach or consultant, if you are helping people through change to reach success, this book is for you. Anyone who is taking a leadership role in a change project, from an executive to a team leader to a subject matter expert, can use Change for the Better as a handy guidebook to more effective implementation of change.
Much is written about the high failure rate (and cost) of change initiatives. In Change for the Better, one of the critical success factors, namely the role of the change agent, is explored. Principles for change agents are presented. And a "tool kit" for change agents is included as well.
Essentially, the book provides a roadmap to leading change effectively, describing it in a clear and practical manner so that anyone who desires to be a more effective change agent can do so.
Based on research findings, as well as wisdom and best practices from the field of organizational change, Change for the Better integrates the topics of leadership and managing change. As the CEO Jack Welch once said, "Change before you have to." This book identifies and clarifies the essential elements change leaders must know and implement to change things for the better.
Change for the Better is published via CreateSpace, the Amazon.com publishing site:
This book follows Seamon's first two releases, To Your Success, a motivational guidebook for job seekers and career changers, and Lead the Way, a guide for leaders looking to engage their staff members for higher performance.
To Arrange a Talk
Terrence Seamon will be happy to give a talk to your organization. To book a presentation, call 732-246-3014 or send an email to"
About the Author
Terrence H. Seamon is a coach, speaker, writer and leadership and organization development consultant who provides training and employee development services to employers in New Jersey. Additionally, he is a job search and career coach who co-founded and co-moderates the St. Matthias Employment Ministry in Somerset, NJ.
Terrence Seamon can be reached by phone at 732-246-3014 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
~ "Grow your people, and they will grow your business" ~
Posted by Terrence Seamon on Friday October 4, 2013
Tuesday, October 01, 2013
First is Self. Borrowing a concept from Dr. Kathleen Hall, I teach the SELF model: Sleep (get enough), Exercise (get moving), Love (give and get), and Food (eat right). There are many other ingredients in self-care, but these four are basic.
Second, take care of Others (especially family, friends, neighbors, and customers) that you care deeply about.
And third, take care of this Place, particularly locally where you live and work. It's all we have.
Recently, I was inspired by a friend named Charlie who has really embodied the second and third aspects.
At his invitation, I attended a neighborhood meeting at a coffee house called Hidden Grounds (what a cool name for a coffee spot) here in my town of New Brunswick, New Jersey, home of Rutgers University. It was a meeting of 5th and 6th ward residents who are concerned about many vexing local issues like break-ins, vandalism, safety, litter, and the like.
The meeting was organized by Charlie, a young local journalist who, after graduating from college, made this town his home and cared enough to become a community improvement activist. I salute him for caring enough to organize the event.
I was pleased to see that there was a very good and diverse turnout. Local business people, long time residents, and many college age neighbors were there. Just about everyone spoke up, giving voice to real issues.
Did we solve any of the aforementioned problems? No, not at all. But there was a good feeling generated. A feeling of hope and solidarity. A sense of a bond that we must sustain and strengthen as time goes on.
As I walked home that night, I thought about how Charlie is living the ideal of service to others and to a place. What if more of us held and lived such values?
This blog post is the third in a series that started with Breaking Bread and continued with Love Made Visible. One of my readers, Maryalice, commented on the idea of serving. She wrote:
"I am here to say, We need to serve. Period. Unfortunately, that isn't the norm anymore as politicians, administrators, companies all have their own agendas and those agendas often come with a price tag."
The late great Peter Drucker once wrote that "The purpose of business is to find and keep a customer." How do you do that? In a word, by serving their needs. If you don't, they will go elsewhere.
If more of us adopted a servant's mindset and attitude, the world would be a much more hospitable place. And less stressful too.
Posted by Terrence Seamon on Tuesday October 1, 2013