Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Crazy Good

Recently in conversation with a manager at a client company, I asked about the big changes going on, including the acquisition of another company.

She said,"It's good. Crazy good."

What's good is the growth that they will experience with this acquisition.

What's "crazy" is the overwhelming amount of change they are trying to absorb.

Her choice of words, "crazy," was an apt term. If you're not careful, huge levels of organizational change can have negative side effects.

I seized the moment to tell her about VUCA, that is, volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and uncertainty.

She nodded after each concept and said at the end, "Yep. That's what we are going through."

What does it take to stay resilient in such a hi-change environment? Here are four things to think about.

  • In highly volatile situations, people will feel endangered and scared. This type of change means stress. And stress can lead to illness.  Whatever you can do to reassure people and create islands of stability may help lessen the fear that often accompanies such change.
  • In uncertain environments, predictability drops, and surprises rise. In such a climate, planning, organizing, and adaptability take on a critical importance for managers and their teams.
  • In high complexity environments, confusion and chaos become the norm. Many of the problems that teams face will have no obvious "low hanging fruit" solutions that they can quickly implement. Instead, managers and their teams need to learn new ways to think critically and creatively to solve the dilemmas they face.
  • In the midst of ambiguity, where there may be multiple meanings of events, a team needs the mental ability to maintain their "line of sight" toward their objective. Having a clear and compelling sense of purpose ('Where can I do the most good for the business right now?') helps to laser focus on the most pressing priorities. 

Operating in a "good crazy" environment of change is not easy. People may feel like things are "out of control." By recognizing it for what it is, leaders can bring the energy and thinking needed to help their teams weather the storming.

Posted by Terrence Seamon on June 29,  2016. Looking for more ideas on how to manage change? Terry Seamon is an Organization Development consultant with Facilitation Solutions, a training and organization effectiveness practice based in New Jersey. He has designed and delivered training for his clients on leadership, coaching, engagement, managing, communication, customer service, conflict, stress, teamwork, and change, and has written extensively on these and many other topics. Invite Terry to your organization to speak with your teams. Call today and discover how Terry can help you achieve your goals: 732-246-3014.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Culture: By Default or By Design?

Every organization has a culture. But not every organization designs their culture.

How does Culture get to be what it is? From my research and experience, I'd say that culture can be by default (it just is) or culture can be by design (it is what we want it to be). 

A favorite example of a culture by design is that of Southwest Airlines, one that has been well researched over the years and written about extensively. Their story clearly depicts the influence of the early leaders, choices they made, obstacles they faced, and the first successes they had, all of which laid the foundation for what came later. 

For a small glimpse of the Southwest culture, here is a video of former CEO and founder Herb Kelleher and one of the flight attendants.

Clearly culture means a great deal to Southwest Airlines.

It reminds me of a company I worked for in the 1990's. Our CEO 'Bob' used to talk to Wall Street audiences about the "secret weapon" that we possessed, namely our culture. Like Kelleher's point about the competitive advantage that culture provides, Bob used to say that "Our people, and how we work together in teams to serve our customers, these are the secrets to our success."

Thinking about that company, I once wrote about the "secret recipe" that it developed and followed:

R = Results Focus: Everyone in the Company, from the CEO to the front-line, is focused on delivering results each and every day. That's why they come to work.

E = Engaged Employees: Engaged employees are "fans of the brand." They believe in the Company and they are willing to do whatever it takes to deliver high quality results to your customers.

C = Customer Focus: Your Customer is at the center of everything you do. They are The Reason you are in business. As Peter Drucker once said "The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer."

I = Innovative: Your culture is change-ready and always on the lookout for bright ideas that can keep you ahead of your competition. "Good enough" is not.

P = Purposeful: You are driven by your Mission, your Vision of the future, and your Values that you hold dear.

E = Engaged Employees: You are obsessed with talent. Talented people and teams are the key to growing the business. Where do you get engaged employees? You hire them.

Did you notice that Employee Engagement showed up twice in the secret sauce? That's because it is THE KEY ingredient. Your people are your most important asset.

Shake that ingredient in twice.

Posted by Terrence Seamon on June 26, 2016. Looking for more ideas on how culture can be designed to help your business succeed? Terry Seamon is an Organization Development consultant with Facilitation Solutions, a training and organization effectiveness practice based in New Jersey. He has designed and delivered training for his clients on leadership, coaching, engagement, managing, communication, customer service, conflict, stress, teamwork, and change, and has written extensively on these and many other topics. Invite Terry to your organization to speak with your teams. Call today and discover how Terry can help you achieve your goals: 732-246-3014.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Partnering - A Key to Success

For decades now, the Human Resources field has been implementing a concept, first introduced by guru Dave Ulrich, called the "business partner" role.
It was, and still is, a brilliant idea. And one that many other professionals would do well to adapt.
What is a business partner then? Using HR as a model, a business partner works closely with her client (e.g. R&D or Operations), getting to know the client's business intimately, advising her client on specific issues (e.g. talent acquisition or talent retention) related to her areas of expertise, and helping her client to achieve success.
Imagine transferring that concept to other areas such as EHS, IT, Project Management, Communications, Change Management, Learning & Development, and Quality, for example. Specialists in these areas have much to offer and desire a "seat at the table" with their clients in order to contribute meaningfully.
The idea of partnering is key. Here are several component aspects of partnering to assess yourself against and to develop in your area of the business:
Value proposition - What is it exactly that you are offering to your clients? Do they know what it is? Do they feel the need for it? Do they understand it?
Expectations - What do they expect of you? Do you know?
Business acumen - Learning to grasp and speak the language of business is essential to build credibility with the leaders of your business.
Relationships - Building trust with your clients will open doors and minds to your ideas and solutions.
Be "easy to do business with" - Reducing any obstacles and barriers that the client experiences in working with you will go a long way toward facilitating the working relationship you desire. 
Deliver - At the end of the day, accountability (keeping your commitments) and execution (getting it done) are the final litmus tests that your clients will use to judge you. 
Improve continually - Provide ways for your client to provide feedback. To complain. To be heard. And make sure you demonstrate that you are listening and taking their input to heart.
Go the extra mile - Keep on asking yourself, Am I doing enough? Have I differentiated the services I provide? Is there something else that my client would value?
Think ahead - The legendary hockey star Wayne Gretzky once said, "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been." Are you anticipating your client's needs and moving in that direction proactively?
To net it out, all of the partnering components above can be summed up in the word consulting. As a business partner, you are a consultant to your client.
Your job, in a nutshell, is to help them achieve their goals.
Terrence Seamon is a Learning & Organization Development consultant. Follow him on twitter @tseamon. Learn more about his work at Facilitation Solutions on facebook.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Free Webinar June 22 - Leading Teams thru Change with Terrence Seamon

Free Webinar from Rutgers Executive & Professional Education: 

Leading Teams Through Change - June 22nd at Noon EST

In today's complex business environment, the ability of leaders to guide their teams through change is becoming one of the most critical skills. Join Rutgers EPE for a 30 minute webinar on June 22nd EST where we will explore the leader's role as catalyst, communicator, and coach in the midst of change.

In this webinar you will learn why organizational change is so difficult; recognize the leader's role in driving change; and understand the importance of coaching to help others through change.

SpeakerTerrence "Terry" Seamon is a Learning and Organization Development professional whose interests and strengths include: training and organization development, coaching and facilitation; leadership and management development; and change and transition.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Winning Attitude

What do you think drives your Life?
Many people have a "Sh#t Happens" view of their Life. They view the happenings in their Life as consequences of external forces (i.e. the Sh#t).
I have long been a believer in a different point of view. I got it from my mother who used to say "Life is what you make it."
It's a view of Life that believes in the power of the mind. A view that says that our purpose, attitude, and intention are the things that make the difference. That these are the major determinants of what happens in our lives.

"Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change." - Jim Rohn

Recently I was working with a client on ways to develop a winning attitude that could be spread throughout their organizational culture. A tall order, no?
So we started with their Mission, Vision, and Values. And we spent a number of hours on what those words were really saying about the kind of company they implied. We discussed how the attendees could personally connect to these aspirations. And own them. And live them.
Years ago, I attended a management seminar on leadership and change. We had just been acquired by another company. The instructors were consultants, hired by the new owners, charged to shake us and wake us up to the new realities of being acquired.

They were provoking us to think about the results we want to obtain in life. They were pushing us to think about who really determines the outcomes that we get in life, both at work and at home.

If life is truly what YOU make of it, then very few external things really influence your life. A tsunami, for example, can overwhelmingly influence your life. You don't have any say-so in the face of a tidal wave.

Outside of uncontrollable things like that, the major influence on your life is You. Your attitude. Your actions. You control 99% of what happens. Or doesn't happen.

"Assuming it can't be done, limits what can be done" is quite true.

In his autobiographical book Flying Without Wings by Arnold R. Beisser (published in 1989 by Doubleday), I read about a great example of the power of a winning mindset. Beisser was a champion tennis player who became a quadraplegic at age 25. Despite the catastrophic misfortune that befell him, Beisser went on to a successful career as a clinical professor of psychiatry, as well as a consultant and noted author.

His story is about choice and personal power. As he struggled with the awful truth that he had lost everything that he had most valued, he finally realized that he still had life. And he still had a future. And that he could still choose.

"If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right." - Henry Ford
What do you think?
Terrence Seamon helps his clients develop the winning attitude they need to be successful. Follow him on twitter @tseamon. Learn more about him on facebook at Facilitation Solutions.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The 4 A's of High Performing Teams

Looking to improve the effectiveness of the teams in your organization? Start here with the 4 A's.

Alignment - How unified are your teams? Are they "on the same sheet of music, singing the same song?" Are they operating upon a common mission, with shared goals?

Accountability - How reliable, responsible, and trusted are your teams? Can they be counted on when the heat is on? Do your teams operate with integrity? Do they treat one another with respect?

Adaptability - How well are your teams handling change? Are they bouncing back with resilience? Are you making sure that your teams have enough energy to give their best effort? Are you all improving and learning continuously?

Action Oriented - Do your teams have a bias toward action? Are they fast moving? Are they able to do what needs to be done to serve their customers and deliver on results? Do they get it done?

Terrence Seamon helps leaders to build strong teams. Follow him on twitter @tseamon. To learn more about his work visit Facilitation Solutions on facebook.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

3 Roles for Leaders of Change

If you are in a leadership role --and that means anyone in the organization who has the ability to influence others-- then you will have the opportunity to make a real difference during times of change.
Here are three of the roles you may play.
Catalyst - Periods of organizational change may seem crazy at times, like a runaway wagon headed for a cliff. Some may perceive the change this way because they are feeling like leaves caught in a flood, like it's totally outside their control. You can help in this regard by being a catalyst and teaching it to others.
Being a catalyst for change means recognizing that You are a part of it, not outside of it. Not a helpless victim of it.
When you are a catalyst for change, you take responsibility of it, for some part of it. You hold yourself accountable for the part, however small, you can play in making it happen.
The catalyst for change says "If it is to be, it is up to me." And then asks, How can I help make this change successful?
Communicator - Periods of organizational change can seem chaotic, confusing, and uncertain. When people feel "in the dark," their anxiety may increase. The "rumor mill" can go into over-drive as people participate in passing around the bits and pieces they are picking up through the grapevine.
The problem with such informal back-channel communicating is that it can cause misunderstandings of the situation, magnifying tiny details into imagined catastrophes, and causing a whole lot of unnecessary misinterpretation of what is happening.
Being a communicator for change means being accessible, keeping your door open. It means being as transparent as possible. It means over-communicating as needed so that your teams can stay focused on what matters most (i.e., serving customers and accomplishing results)  during the waves of change.
Trust depends upon being an open communicator during change!
Coach - Organizational changes often feel very uncomfortable because they sweep away what was familiar (the Old Way) and usher in the strange and unfamiliar (the New Way). The Old Way meant competence and confidence. Not so with the New Way. It's not unusual for organizational change to bring with it new tasks, new roles, and new ways to work.
Being a coach for change therefore becomes a critical leadership role! Coaches help their teams through change by building skills and confidence.
Though organizational change is often "change for the better," it can also seem scary to employees who feel threatened by it.
Being a coach can help establish the sense of safety and self-assurance that comes from carefully rebuilding competence.
Terrence Seamon, author of Lead the Way,  is a champion for change. Follow him on twitter @tseamon.
This post will be expanded upon in a free webinar coming up soon:  Leading Teams through Change on June 22, sponsored by Rutgers Executive and Professional Education