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3 Words for a New Year

At this time of year, I often recall the "3 Word Exercise" that I learned from blogger Chris Brogan.

In a nutshell, he recommends visioning the new year ahead and letting 3 words filter out of the "big story" you have in mind.
As I sit here and envision my "big story" for 2019...three words that are percolating up for me are...
Epiphany (as in "shine forth")
Emerge 
Energy
I'll be pondering the significance of these words and write about them in the new year.

What are your 3 words for 2019?

Posted by Terrence Seamon on New Year's Eve December 31, 2018

Dark and Quiet

"Darkness reveals the heavenly lights."

For the past several years, a group of friends has gathered in December for the celebration of the Winter solstice. One of the group, a Franciscan sister, prepares a short and simple prayer for us to follow as we stand around a fire in the night.

This year, she asked us to reflect on the meanings we have for darkness.

After a few initial responses that brought out the "dark side" of darkness, someone said, "When it's dark, the stars come out."

We all oo-ed and ah-ed at that reflection and we immediately looked upward. It had been a cloudy day, but the bright moon flashed through the rapidly flying clouds.

Suddenly one of our group pointed and said, "Look a star!"

Filled with renewed animation, this triggered more reflections on darkness including one about growth. The individual said, "In darkness, seeds lay dormant in the ground, away from the light, until the seasons change and they begin to ger…

The Soul of a Company

There are organizations out there that are doing much more than making a profit and giving a return to shareholders. Some realize that they are providing jobs. Some realize that they are part of a community. 
Some realize that they are giving hope to those who have lost much in life.
There is a small enterprise in west Los Angeles called Timothy J Candles. They make specialty candles for special occasions and customers.
In this short video, Tim Sullivan, the founder of the company, lets all of us know what he and his firm believe in.
His is a company with soul.
What is it that keeps other companies from having a soul like this?

Consultant Kenny Moore once pointed out that the word "company" comes from "sharing bread together."

He wrote: "At its core, company is about meaning, purpose and mutual support. Many of today’s businesses had their origins around like-minded individuals coming
together to support and nurture each other in starting a labor of love."

That ga…

Follow your Internal Guidance System

Built into you is an internal guidance system that shows you the way home. All you need to do is heed the voice.”
I like that sentence from writer Neale Donald Walshe.
"Home" is You.
I think I am called to help people (myself and others) to 'tune into' it.
There are many methods for such attunement. One is the Holland Theory of Careers.
Some of you may be familiar with the Career Types theory developed by John Holland. It is used extensively in career counseling work, in educational settings, in industry, and in classifying schemes such as the federal government's Dictionary of Occupational Titles.
In a nutshell, Holland developed a system with six types:  RIASEC (Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional).  He found that every career has a code (i.e. a 3 letter combo such as CRS), and every person has a code as well. When the Person and the Career codes match (or come close) there is a recipe for success (meaning tangible succes…

Never Assume

"Never assume that the next guy knows what he is doing much less why."

Dave Davidson was one of my professors at Rutgers circa 1973. His specialty was Information Systems Theory.  
Amidst an interesting and diverse Department of Communication faculty, Dave was one of the more memorable professors that I met, equally stimulating and irritating.
His trademark was his pipe which he smoked all the time, even while teaching his classes. And it would not be unusual for his small group discussions to be held at Olde Queens Tavern.
As a teacher, Dave' style was to say something provocative and then take a deep puff on his pipe and gaze at us through his thick glasses, waiting for us to jump into the discussion. It never took long for an animated exchange to begin.
One of his statements has stuck with me in the 45 years since then. I call it the Dave Davidson Theorem:  
"Never assume that the next guy knows what he is doing much less why."
I think Dave was trying to prov…

A Gift for You

Seasons Greetings,
At this festive time of year, our thoughts often turn to the gifts that we might give to others. I would like to offer you this thought.
There are many important resources that every well-equipped job hunter and career changer should have, but foremost among them is calendar filled with high value activity to propel your progress.
You can fill your calendar in many ways, especially:
Attend webinars offered on job search and career change topicsSend out weekly updates on LinkedInUtilize learning resources in your local area such as community collegesBecome a recognized expert by offering your knowledgeAttend networking meetings near youForm an accountability team to help fuel your searchMake a presentation to a groupWrite an article and publish it on LinkedInJoin professional associations in your occupational field

I hope this list gives you ideas!
If you would like to discuss any of these, let me know.
Happy holidays!
Terrence Seamon helps his clients to reach the…

Being Human

Many years ago, my former pastor Fr. Doug preached on the theme that each of us is both Gifted and Broken.  It resonated so deeply with me that it became one of my Nine Steps to OD:
At the time that I published it (back in 2005), I was attacked over the "broken" part. I remember one reader writing (something to the effect) "Speak for yourself. I am not broken. I don't see people that way. And if you do, it's an unhealthy perspective to take."
All I could say then, and all I can say now, is:  Take a look around. So much is broken:  Greed. Inequality. Climate change. Extinction.
This world of ours is a human creation. And this creation of ours is heading to Hell in a speeding handbasket.
Why?  Because we are asleep at the wheel. We are so stupid in our denial of the reality of our present situation that the next generations (if there are any) will look back and ask, "What was wrong with them?"  
This essay by writer Umair Haque captures the present…

The ART of Navigating Change

Much of my work is about change. Helping companies to change through learning processes, for example. And helping my one-on-one clients to change through a coaching process.

Throughout it all, the essential challenge is, in a word, change. How to face it. How to embrace it. How to master it so that you are able to navigate the often turbulent waters of change.

Much has been written about change, but here I only want to dwell on three aspects. Three that I will call "the ART of navigating change."

Adaptability:  This refers to the things we do, from day to day during a change journey, to adjust continuously to the ever-emerging surprises and challenges that a change-filled environment brings. On a change journey, every day brings something new to reckon with. Some new problem. Some unexpected difficulty.

What is this new challenge? What will it take to deal with it? What am I learning? 

The more adaptable you are, the more you are learning as you go, the more likely you will ac…

Endings

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” - Joseph Campbell
Endings are hard, sometimes too much to endure, like when we lose a job, or lose a loved one...or lose a pastor.
Endings often trigger emotions. Sadness. Anger. Sometimes relief.

We have an Ending going on right now at my parish, where our pastor of many years has resigned due to health issues. 
This Ending started several years ago when he was first diagnosed with a serious health condition and had to stop working and go away for treatment. He was never the same again. Though he was still pastor, he was mostly absent. The leadership vacuum became the uncomfortable norm.
It became a long, drawn-out Ending that many in this community felt...and suffered ill effects from as a result. 
My late sister-in-law had a saying that we used to smile at:  "Leave before it gets ugly."
This Ending got ugly...very ugly. And now, with his resignation, it will likely tr…

Action Changes Things

Inspired by a colleague's list of tips for resilience and coping...

Here are six ideas for taking action in dark times.
A = Aspire to an Attitude of Accountability where the old saying "If it is to be, it is up to me" becomes our maxim, and instead of waiting for someone else to take the lead, we step forward and seize our responsibility to make a difference.
C = Convene critical conversations - This is the time to communicate, to gather together and share, to generate ideas, and to formulate a vision for a better future.
T = Teach by everything you do - As my pastor Fr. Doug used to say, "Everything you do teaches." Be mindful of your conduct. Be a role model.
I = Invite others to join in - Reach out and form groups in solidarity around issues that need to be addressed. 
O = Organize with Optimism and Open Minds & Hearts
N = Never give up on what matters most - Get in touch with your inner values, the principles you hold most dear. These are the immovable …

Hustle and other keys to success

Recently, I came across an image online about "hustle" that said:
HUSTLE - Verb - 1. The only controllable pillar of success
Seeing the word hustle reminded me of when I played Pop Warner Football as a kid in grammar school. The coaches would frequently urge us to "Hustle!"
I took it to mean "Get moving!"
Looking up the word in the dictionary, hustle has several meanings, including: to proceed or work rapidly or energetically; to push or force one's way; to aggressively pursue a business aim While I don't agree that hustle is "the only controllable pillar of success," I certainly salute its inclusion. Other pillars of success over which we have a great deal of control include:
Attitude - What is your attitude right now? Henry Ford once said, "If you think you can do a thing, or if you think you cannot do a thing, either way you are right." If success is what you are after, then a Can Do attitude is a vital component.
Conduct - …

On the Art of Influence

The project manager is like a samurai who comes upon a tiger in the forest. If he turns and runs, he will surely be eaten by the tiger. If he stands and faces the tiger, the outcome is uncertain. What do meeting facilitationproject management, and the art of influencing others have in common?
In a nutshell, everything.
For the client, the art of influence is the ability of the project managers to work effectively with diverse stakeholders in a highly complex organizational environment, to reach consensus, make wise decisions, and move forward toward strategic aims.
What goes into this capability? Probably much more than we had time for, but here are a few of the points that emerged: Integrity - The project manager must operate from a foundation of integrity. This is the beginning of building strong relationships. Integrity stems from knowing oneself, one's values, and being aware in-the-moment of the choices that one can make. Trust - Building trust with stakeholders is essential.…

It's All About the Client

Way back when during the TQM movement, I was trained to be one of my then-employer's Quality Facilitators. Part of that role included teaching the 8-step quality improvement methodology to teams across the businesses.
This particular methodology had been selected by the new management that had recently taken over the company. The method came from an outside vendor.
During one of the training sessions, a participant put his hand up to ask a question. He said, "Just a comment about Step 1 of the process you are teaching."
Step One was "Define the problem."
"Go ahead," I said encouraging him to make his point.
"Wouldn't it make sense to have a prior step?"
"A prior step?" I echoed.
"Yes, a step where the client establishes an improvement goal for the part of the business, or the part of the process, that we are going to address and attempt to improve. For example customer service."
It was a learning moment for me. From …

Team Leaders, How are you doing? Part 3

'Action is the foundational key to all success. ' - Pablo Picasso It is often said that we "lead by our example." Or as my pastor Fr. Doug would say, "Everything you do teaches." For me, this leadership principle says, Teaching is more than just words. Your actions speak just as loudly. If you want to "lead by your example," then watch what you do. In view of this principle, an effective leader is highly mindful of his or her own behavior, actions, and choices. Everything you do, everything you say, has the potential for leaving a lasting impression. This impact will influence what people do as a result: If a manager wants improved communication, he needs to communicate effectively.If a manager wants improved engagement, she needs to be engaged in her work.If a manager wants his people to take pride and ownership in what they do, he must model the way. Whatever you do (or don't do) speaks volumes . . . and teaches. So here are six things that l…