MassBay Organization Development Learning Group
  • 13 Nov 2014 6:06 AM | George Embleton (Administrator)
    Do you receive unrealistic agendas for upcoming meetings? You can almost see the difficulties ahead for an effective session. I recently received an agenda for a board meeting where there were too many items and the biggest, toughest item was put last. I felt this meeting was going to be a long grind and had my doubts whether the most important tasks would receive the needed attention. A week later, as the meeting ended (more than a half-hour late), my fears were shown to be (sadly) true … in spite of the best efforts of the leader to get it all done.


    Agendas can be such a helpful tool for designing and leading a well-structured meeting. It is too bad that most agendas are not designed to really serve the needs of the meeting.

    Here are three common pitfalls in many agendas:

    Not designing the meeting before you draft the agenda. Many of us start to put an agenda together before we have given much thought to how the meeting needs to be designed and structured. I recommend that creating an agenda be the last step after completing the various choices you can make in designing the structure of your meeting. For more information on this see the Planning page under Choices and Tools on my web site. Also, see my earlier post on agenda design: One Plan to Rule Them All.

    Putting the most important, and typically most time consuming items late in the meeting. Often this is because the intent is to get many small items out of the way first. But this leads to time running out for the more important subject that is now at the end.

    Trying to fit too much into the meeting. Meeting agendas often become too crowded limiting the time for real dialogue on the most important items. Can you remove some items to a “consent agenda where they get reviewed and approved as a group? Can “updates” be provided in advance as reports and time given only for any questions? (See my earlier post: Challenged by Updates, for more).

    No time for planning? You may be thinking that with all meetings you attend, you can hardly afford the time to design your next one. If so, I suggest you consider how many people are in your meeting, and then think about how much better you could use their meeting time if you had an effective design and agenda. The beneficial impact on the use of your participant’s time could be huge and investing your time up front could provide the best return of anything you could do that day.

    Meeting for Results on Amazon

    More information. In next month’s post I will describe the before and after transformation of a meeting agenda to show what an effective agenda can look like.

    For still more information, see the Meeting for Results Tool Kit: Make Your Meetings Work which outlines 12 choices for structuring effective meetings along with various tools for implementing your decisions.

    This entry was posted in Agenda, Planning Choices and tagged agenda timing, effective meetings, meeting tools, return on meeting time. Bookmark the permalink.

    Meeting for Results is a service of Brownfield & Lent based in
    Stow, Massachusetts 01775 USA

  • 13 Nov 2014 5:38 AM | George Embleton (Administrator)
    So you have a vision that People Succession (PS) at your organization will surpass the victories experienced by other firms, result in a highly engaged and productive workforce, and catapult your company to one of the most revered employers in the area. Not so fast. Without concrete goals and action planning, your vision is simply a dream.

    First, consider what your organization has set out to accomplish by getting reacquainted with the business strategy, strategic objectives, and organizational values and culture.

    Second, recognize that PS goals fall into at least two categories: building the talent pipeline and critical role replacement. Then compose goals using the SMART format where S = specific, M = measurable, A = attainable, R = relevant, and T = timebound. Below are a couple of multi-dimensional sample goals.

    Note: There is a third category of PS goals. It’s called Emergency Succession and is focused on unplanned leadership gaps so critical, starting with the CEO role, that your organization overnight may lose its ability to compete in the marketplace and confidence among key stakeholders. Stay tuned as this is the topic for another article.

    Define the most important mix of skills and capabilities needed from the workforce so that your organization’s vision and strategic objectives can be achieved. Then develop people so that they are skilled, proficient, and confident when needed to step up.

    Situation 1: If transforming from a technical to customer centric organization is the vision for growth, then stellar customer service skills are paramount. Since leaders by definition make change happen, develop change management, coaching and customer service skills in your leaders first. Then charter them to champion the change throughout the rest of the workforce. You will move toward customer centricity while building a pipeline of change leaders to support your growth goals.

    SMART Goal: Develop a cadre of leaders sprinkled across all levels of the organization who possess stellar customer centric skills, measured through customer experiences, coaching skills, measured through employee experiences, and change capabilities resulting in (on or before December 31, 201x) a workforce that routinely evaluates and improves its performance on the basis of customer experiences and outcomes.

    Reduce the risk of business disruption or organizational underperformance resulting from the departure of people who occupy mission critical roles.

    Situation 2: Four members of your executive team plan to retire over the next 3-5 years. The potential loss due to their departures includes: institutional memory, networks of people in and outside the organization who are instrumental in getting things done, and executive teamwork given their ability to achieve common strategic objectives repeatedly.

    SMART Goal: Fill at least three of the four mission critical roles with internal potential successors who achieve goals within the first year of occupying their new roles.

    Make the fruits of your labor count by crafting meaningful action plans and milestones for each goal so you can refine your approach to produce better and faster outcomes. Make your vision of People Succession a reality.

    Carol Bergeron is the President of Bergeron Associates™ (, 781-376-4071) and author of 'People Succession: Lessons From Forward Thinking Executives in Middle-Market Companies' which highlights 7 steps she uses to accelerate the design and implementation of succession planning & management through a mix of consulting, coaching and facilitation services.

  • 13 Nov 2014 5:30 AM | George Embleton (Administrator)

    Someone in a mission critical role wins the lottery and gives notice, has taken ill, or worse, the employee dies. An employee immediately comes to mind; someone whom you think could fill the role. After all he repeatedly vocalizes his career aspirations and is a good performer. Well, cool your jets. Regardless of the reason for the unexpected job vacancy, you must think through nuances of activating the succession plan before putting it into motion. Why? Because of the rapidly changing world in which we live and the ripple effect of moving people around in the organization. Please allow me to elaborate on an approach that works.

    What is the situation a new person in the role will encounter? Start with big, broad STEEP factors often analyzed in strategic planning. They include: social, technological, economic, environmental, and political factors. Then identify factors specific to your organization that could impact the success of whomever you place in the role.

    Since prospective successors may reside elsewhere in the organization, consult with their respective managers when answering these questions:

    • Is this role still of interest to the prospective successor(s)?
    • Is s/he qualified and ready for the role given the current and expected situational dynamics identified in the previous step? If not, what needs to happen to make a successful transition?
    • What impact will removing the prospective successor from his/her current organization have on that organization, its performance and employees?
    • What impact will moving the person have on the new organization, its performance and employees?
    • Does the prospective successor have someone ready to backfill her/his current role?
    • Which selection(s) best serves the organization?

    It is not uncommon for people succession deployment decisions to intersect with the hiring process particularly when it comes to new and replacement job openings. The intersection may require external and internal applicants, who apply via the job posting process, be considered alongside prospective successors. It behooves you understand the intersection, if any, prior to making and communicating decisions.

    Selecting a qualified and “ready” employee that best serves the organization’s needs, will be supported by employees and management, and fosters employee career advancement requires objectivity, openness, and fairness. Good job, you made an informed decision.
    Positioning the employee for success into the new role is your next challenge. It requires thoughtfulness and collaboration and is analogous to onboarding a new hire. It’s also a topic for a future newsletter so stay tuned!

    Carol Bergeron is the author of 'People Succession: Lessons From Forward Thinking Executives in Middle-Market Companies' which highlights the 7 steps Carol uses to accelerate the design and implementation of succession planning & management. For more than 16 years and through a mix of consulting, coaching, facilitation, and speaking services, Carol has helped leaders, who want their organizations to excel, become talent magnets. And in doing so these leaders have experienced the joy of helping people shine and their organizations excel.  (, 781-376-4071)

  • 02 Nov 2014 7:50 AM | George Embleton (Administrator)

    Posted by Steve Waddell in BlogM&E 

    A big challenge people are always asking me about is how to measure impact when many organizations and people are involved and when success depends on flexibly changing course in response to learning what works.  They are characteristics of complex environments.  Attribution is highly problematic with so many actors and measurement against baselines is often simply not useful when the learning actually leads to redefining goals and true innovation.  The International Development Research Centre in Canada has developed Outcome Mapping;  Michael Quinn Patton frames the appropriate response as “developmental evaluation” (more information).  Danny Burns draws from his considerable experience as an Institute for Development Studies action researcher in such situations in a valuable paper:  Burns- Assessing Impact  in Dynamic and Complex Environments Systemic Action Research and Participatory Systemic Inquiry.

     He starts by emphasizing a systems approach, and that in complex  environments “changing system dynamics is critical to sustainable  impact.” He notably writes about “assessment” rather than  “measurement”:  the latter concept is almost equated with quantitative  measures that can have very differ14-09-24 Burns 1 - Assessing Impactent meaning to different stakeholders  and on their own, can  be largely  meaningless.  “Assessment” is  much more  about understanding      context and learning, which are  critical ingredient in complex  environments.  

     Burns modifies the famous  learning cycle and nicely  addresses a question I’ve always  had  about the usefulness of  approaching complex issues  with theories of change when  learning  from action can make  the theory inappropriate:  he  integrates generation of new  theories of  change into the  learning cycle.  Duh.  Seems obvious now!

     Another challenge working in complex environments is the non-linear  nature of change that  makes traditional planning process designed around  moving from point A to point B  inappropriate.  He looks at four aspects of  complexity and systems that have particular impact  on assessment:

     Change is emergent:  Figure 2 illustrates the original belief that 14-09-24 Burns2 - Assessing ImpactjpgA leads  to B, which leads to C  to get to  goal 1.  When learning early on  suggests that goal 2 is a more  desirable goal and it’s  best  approached by going from A to  K, traditional planning would  break down.  Emergence  requires assessing against the  decisions during the program,  not against the original logic.

     Unintended consequences:    Changes in one part of a system  often result in unforeseen  ways  within the system (such as a  neighborhood) beyond its  boundaries (such as in an  abutting neighborhood).  This  means assessment has to ask questions about impact on the  wider system.

     System dynamics:  Change is constrained by system  dynamics and sustainable change  requires change in system dynamics.    This means assessment must focus on how the system  dynamic has  changed, not on what changes have taken place within the system  dynamic.

     Tipping point:  Latent change often leads to tipping points characterized  by sudden major  transformation.  Therefore assessment is required of the  underlying change as well as the  surface level of change.  This might  involve, for example, noting how discourse has changed.    Dave  Snowden’s Sensemaker would be great for this.

     Iterative processes are particularly critical to support complex environment  assessment with respect to:

    • Assessing impacts in real time;
    • Adjusting action to maximize impacts;
    • Adjusting program goals to maximize impacts; and
    • Setting new baselines and indicators of success against those baselines.

     Of course all this emphasizes undertaking interventions as learning  processes.  Attentiveness to what is changing and new potentials  must be  supported through discussion, documentation and routines.

  • 02 Nov 2014 7:09 AM | George Embleton (Administrator)

    Posted by Steve Waddell in Net Dev

    Constant growth is driving humanity off an ecological cliff, writes Dr. Sandra Waddock (Boston College). She describes how growth has become a “meme,” a core value, and she identifies diverse alternatives, from “thrivability” to “enough.” Dr. Waddock is active with the Ecosystems Labs, an Network for Business Sustainability Thought Leader (NBS), and a world expert on sustainability issues. This is a reposting of an NBS blog, August 13.

    It’s easy to take for granted our society’s core principles. It can be difficult to imagine alternatives: even when the status quo threatens our survival.

    Memes: The Genes of Culture

    Memes, a word coined by biologist Richard Dawkins, are ideas, behaviors, and styles that spread within cultures. Dawkins wanted a word that sounded like gene to reflect something that reproduced ideas or other aspects of culture, much the way that genes reproduce biological traits. Memes affect how we think about the world around us.

    Memes can, in fact, shape whole social or economic systems. In complex social systems like our economic and business systems, this glue of memes links individuals, organizations, and societies. To effect change we need to tap into undefined and change undefined fundamental memes: the core ideas, values and operating norms of these systems.

    The Meme of Growth

    In Western society, the notion that constant growth is essential to a successful economic system is such a meme. Most people believe that without growth, our economy and companies could not survive or prosper.

    The growth meme may have served a purpose in the heady days following World War II, when it became prominent.  Leaders in that era saw a need to foster growth because the war had destroyed companies’ ability to produce and peoples’ ability to get goods and services. Whole countries, including Japan and Germany, needed to rebuilt their manufacturing infrastructure, so the emphasis was on regenerating productive capacity undefined and consumption.

    But the growth meme no longer serves humanity well; indeed, it is driving humanity off an ecological cliff.

    Questioning Constant Growth

    Economic growth is measured using gross national (or domestic) product: GNP and GDP. But these measures, and the goal they represent, are fundamentally flawed: They only assess activity that can be priced. As a result, GDP and GNP don’t consider possible negative consequences of economic activity, such as environmental degradation and social costs.

    GDP and GNP also fail to capture vital elements of the economy. They don’t consider human wellbeing and other important values. And they leave out activities with no monetary value but important economic consequences: like, for instance, childrearing in the home.

    Numerous studies (e.g., from the Club of Rome) conclude that continued economic growth, as currently measured, is not physically possible over the longer run. As climate change heats up, the need for systems change becomes even clearer.

    Nonetheless, the meme of constant economic “growth” powerfully shapes our views about how an economy or society is doing. Just listen to any news broadcast or read any economic report to confirm the bias towards constant growth.

    Finding a New Meme

    Memes can evolve as the culture around them changes. What new memes can reflect the realities of our resource constraints undefined and human beings’ place in that world?

    We need a meme that allows businesses, societies, and, importantly, human beings and other creatures, to thrive without destructive growth and the emphasis on material consumption undefined the relentless pursuit of “more” undefined that we find with the current meme of growth.

    By thinking carefully about possible new memes and talking about them with others, we can all play crucial roles in changing the growth meme to something that works better for the long term.

    What might this new meme be? Here are some suggestions:

    • Flourishing. Management scholars John Ehrenfeld and Andy Hoffman urge a focus on “the fullness of life, not some material metric,” and specifically on caring for oneself and others. “Corporations’ basic strategies would move from satisfying needs (or wants) to enabling care, Ehrenfeld writes.
    • Wellbeing. In our recent book SEE Change, Malcolm McIntosh and I argue that humans crave community, balance, connection and artistic and spiritual development for wellbeing, not just material goods and money. A focus on wellbeing could create a saner, more interpersonally connected, and more sustainable world.
    • Plenitude. Sociologist Juliet Schor urges households to diversify income sources and explore small-scale enterprises. She calls for appreciation of “undervalued sources of wealth”: time, creativity and social relationships.
    • Enough. Writing from a religious perspective, Will Davis also emphasizes caring for others.
    • Thriving or thrivability. This is my personal favorite. It incorporates sustainability without that word’s connotation of status quo, recognizing that we cannot “sustain” the meme of growth.

    We need a new core meme for our economic, productive, and social systems that connotes thriving in a context of using fewer ecological resources while still supporting the world’s living beings. I call this new meme thrivability.* What do you call it?

    *The idea of thrivability was generated by a group I participated in at the Business as an Agent of World Benefit Conference in 2006.

    Additional Resources

    Davis, Will, Jr. (2012). Enough: Finding more by living with less. Ada, MI: Revell.

    Dawkins, R. (2006). The selfish gene. London: Oxford University Press.

    Ehrenfeld, J., & Hoffman, A. (2013). Flourishing: A frank conversation about sustainability. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.

    Gilding, P. (2011). The great disruption: How the climate crisis will transform the global economy. Bloomsbury Publishing.

    Schor, Juliet (2010). Plenitude: The new economics of real wealth. New York: Penguin.

    Waddock, Sandra and Malcolm McIntosh (2011) SEE change: Making the transition to a sustainable enterprise economy. Sheffield, UK: Greenleaf.

  • 02 Nov 2014 7:00 AM | George Embleton (Administrator)

    By Bruce Katcher, Ph.D. 
    Founder and Executive Director The Center for Independent Consulting

    Finding a good job often takes a long time, but unfortunately your household bills keep coming every month whether you are employed or not. Earning consulting income while looking for a job can bring in needed cash but can also distract you from your job search and confuse your network about whether you really want to find another job or become a consultant.

    This article talks about 7 ways to manage this problem.


      I typically advise new consultants to send an announcement to everyone they know. If, however, you really are planning on finding another job, then sending an announcement about your consulting could be counterproductive.

      Tell only your closest and most trusted contacts that you are still looking for a job but can help them or people they know on a consulting basis if they need assistance.


      Avoid a consulting assignment where you are required to be on site full time or even several days a week. You need to maintain the flexibility of your schedule so that you can make job search-related activities (i.e., telephone calls, emails, and attending networking meetings and job interviews) your major priority.


      Don't put yourself in the position of having to decide, "Should I work for another hour so that I can charge my client a little more today or attend that networking meeting?"

      Try to avoid charging by the hour or the day. You still want to own your time. If you charge for your time, you will be looking at your watch, your client will be looking at his or her watch, and your valuable time will be used primarily to service your client rather than search for your next job.


      Instead of charging for your time, charge for deliverables (e.g., a report summarizing your findings) or results (e.g., increased revenue). That way, you will be held accountable for what your client needs, rather than the amount of time you spend providing it.


      Another way to maintain control of your schedule is to work for your client on a retainer basis.

      For example, labor attorneys often charge a fixed monthly fee for a minimum of 6-12 months to be available to offer their advice when needed on complex legal issues. They don't tie their fee to the time they spend. (That would be charging for their time.) They make it clear what services are within and outside of the scope of the retainer relationship so that they are protected from having all of their time monopolized by one client. Often they price their retainer fee for less than their hourly rate to make it more enticing for their client.


      Generally, serving as a subcontractor to other consultants who need help on projects is not a great practice for independent consultants because the client is not yours and you can't charge what you would get if they were your client.

      However, for those who are really seeking a job, subcontracting is a great way to land business quickly. Just make certain that you are not commuting daily or selling your time in ways that make it difficult for you to search for your job.

      Think about reaching out to those consultants you hired while you were employed at your last job. They might need your assistance. Also, it is probably very important to them to maintain a good relationship with you because when you land your next job they will be anxious for you to hire them again.


      Another good possibility, of course, is for you to take on a consulting assignment that has the potential to lead to a full time position. You might even be willing to commute and sell your time if you think that there is a strong possibility that the consulting assignment could turn into a full time job. Make it clear, however, to your client that you will need time off periodically to continue your job search. Then it is your challenge to impress them to the point where they just feel they have to hire you full time.


    You can have your cake (i.e., earning consulting income) and eat it too (still actively search for the job you desire). You just need to take the proper precautions to make certain that your consulting does not interfere with your job search.


    If you need help launching your consulting business, accelerating your consulting practice, or finding the right job, call me at 781-784-4367 or via to discuss whether it would make sense for me to serve as your mentor and coach.

  • 02 Nov 2014 6:34 AM | George Embleton (Administrator)

    Many meetings are held to engage everyone to agree on actions to move some plan ahead. These can be difficult meetings, particularly when not everyone is equally committed to the initiative. The meeting tool I call Forces Review[1] can turn an unproductive debate into an exploration of both problems and possibilities. It engages the group in a constructive conversation about how to improve the possibilities of success while recognizing the difficulties.

    Forces Review is particularly helpful when you are trying to engage others in taking on some new initiative or supporting an organizational change. For example, I recently worked with a nonprofit organization to launch a new set of strategic initiatives. After a few months, they held a follow-up meeting to see how the change was progressing. Twenty people with a range of responsibilities were present. The Executive Director decided to use a Forces Review for this discussion.

    Together they brainstormed all of the factors that could restrain progress with the new strategy. They also completed a brainstorm of all those factors that were supporting the success of this strategy. They then identified the top three factors that were restraining progress and then the top three that were supporting progress. After reviewing the results with everyone, the leader divided the whole group in two. One half of the group was to focus on identifying ways to weaken the top three restraining factors. What could they do to make these less of a threat to the strategy’s success? The other half of the group would work on ways to strengthen the top three supporting factors. These became creative, energized discussions.

    When both groups were done, the results of their ideas on ways to weaken or strengthen various factors were shared. From this point, it was an easy step to begin action planning to work with the ideas they had generated.

    Want to Know More?

    For more information on Forces Review, see Meeting for Results Tool Kit: Make Your Meetings Work.  Additional information will be available in my new book to be released in early 2015.


    [1] Forces Review is based on Force-Field Analysis as originally developed by Kurt Lewin. See the description of his work in Weisbord (2004, pp. 82-83).

    This entry was posted in Change managementEngagementMeeting tools and tagged action planningengagementmeeting toolsstrategic planning. Bookmark the permalink.

    • Meeting for Results is a service of Brownfield & Lent based in
      Stow, Massachusetts 01775 USA

  • 18 Oct 2014 3:44 PM | George Embleton (Administrator)

    I have yet to meet the business leader who has enough people, time, and resources to get everything done on the “to do” list. Why? Because the list seems to grow exponentially making it feel like you are running fast-forward on an infinite hamster wheel. Preaching “do more with less” does little to change the situation and creates cynicism. And adding staff may not be an option.

    Get your team (and yourself) off that hamster wheel by taking proactive, repeatable steps to evaluate and redesign work and deploy talent to get the mission critical assignments done. Try out the approaches below and let me know which work best when combined with your own tried and true methods.    

    1. Catalogue the work – Create a list of the work to be done and organize it (ex. one-time project vs. daily transactional or operational work).

    2. Align the work – Identify work that supports achievement of the organization’s strategic objectives.

    3. Prioritize the work - Evaluate each work list item on the basis of importance and urgency or other criteria you deem most valuable. When thinking with others my favorite approach is simple. Draw an X & Y axis ranging from low to high for both importance and urgency. Divide the chart into four quadrants. Plot each work item in the applicable quadrant. Then highlight the work that’s aligned with strategic objectives from step 2. Reflect on the results; it can be eye opening.

    4. Eliminate work – Start with the work that scored low on both importance and urgency. Ask “Is the work accomplishing what it is supposed to?” and “Can the work or part of the work be discontinued?” Once all work items have been reviewed for elimination then move on.

    5. Assess quality expectations – “Have appropriate quality standards been set for the work?” Sure some work must be completed to meet the highest quality standards, while “good enough” is “good enough” for other types of work. Make the distinction.

    6. Analyze for improvements - Where quality needs enhancement, collect and analyze data and trends that help identify root causes of problems and opportunities for the most significant quality improvements.

    7. Streamline work flow – Ask “Is there a better way to complete this work?” Redesigning a simple process may be a breeze, so just do it. Streamlining a complex process involves many people. Be sure to engage the employees who actually do the work. And don’t overlook streamlining communication flow since it is always ripe for enhancement. 

    8. Automate – Automation may go hand in hand with streamlining processes assuming a positive ROI. Make sure the business process drives automation tool functionality otherwise you may be back at square one in no time.  

    Steps 6, 7, and 8 may require time and effort in the short run. If you and your team can visualize the long term value then it will be worth the effort. This is especially true if work was eliminated prior to taking on redesign efforts.

    9. Redeploy employees – The redesign of work often changes the skills needed to complete it. So, assign employees to the work that optimizes their strengths.

    10. Develop and delegate – The redesign of work often creates employee development opportunity be it for new skills, tools, or process. And cross training coupled with delegation moves your benchstrength building and people succession efforts forward.

    Some leaders will reflect on the above steps individually which is a great start. You’ll want to engage team members since they know where the opportunities reside for streamlining and improvement. Plus it’s a win / win when employees experience the sheer joy of influencing the design of their work, eliminating work, and recharging by learning marketable new skills.

    Putting this process in place and routinely using it will help optimize your team’s energy, productivity, and contribution. The hardest part is developing the habit. So, as leader what small steps will you take over the next three months to navigate a hefty work load while working within a limited budget?

    Carol Bergeron is the author of 'People Succession: Lessons From Forward Thinking Executives in Middle-Market Companies' which highlights the 7 steps Carol uses to accelerate the design and implementation of succession planning & management. For more than 16 years and through a mix of consulting, coaching, facilitation, and speaking services, Carol has helped leaders become talent magnets. And in doing so these leaders have experienced the sheer joy of helping people advance their careers and their organizations excel.  (, 781-376-4071)

  • 18 Oct 2014 3:19 PM | George Embleton (Administrator)

    Hesitant to groom the next generation of leaders for your role? Here’s why people succession belongs on the front burner.

    1. You will be labeled a “lifer” in your current role. Yes, that’s right. Failing to groom successors obstructs your own career advancement since no one is ready to move into your role.

    2. You can kiss the reputation as an effective “Talent Magnet” goodbye. New hires and existing employees recognize and pursue great people developers. Thus top talent will not flock to you when job openings occur. Instead filling your openings will be frequent and more difficult than need be.

    3. Underperformance in developing, delegating, coaching, and mentoring employees detracts from your overall leadership effectiveness. Executives will start to wonder if leadership is the best role for you since your talent management skills are not up to par.

    4. The “lifer” perception spirals into “square peg / round hole” over time. Your responsibilities will change given a myriad of dynamic external and internal forces. Helping yourself and your employees anticipate, prepare, and adapt to the changes is paramount and requires effective talent management skills. To do otherwise results in capabilities obsolescence for you and your staff.  

    How do you get started developing the next generation, even if your organization has no formal people succession program in place?

    1. Dissect your role, its responsibilities and identify the most important capabilities needed now and in the future. Use this list of capabilities as the ones you want to develop most in your employees.

    2. Mix up work assignments so that everyone on your team is learning and doing something new. First map out the work that needs to get done and who is currently doing it. Then look for development opportunities that foster employees to use untried skills or strengthen existing ones. Do this in collaboration with employees for the best results. And be sure that skills needed in your role are being developed by others.

    3. Piggyback development action planning onto the existing performance management system. Don’t have one? Then build your own. You and your employees will take development more seriously if action plans are written down, measured, and there are scheduled check-ins.

    4. Strengthen coaching, mentoring, providing feedback, and delegation skills in yourself and among the members of your team most likely to delegate work. Set the expectation to use these talent management skills on a real-time basis.

    5. Conduct check-ins with employees so you and they know how they are progressing.

    6. Share your approach with your boss and Human Resources so that they know of your pro-activity in advancing the careers of your employees and yourself.

    Carol Bergeron is the author of 'People Succession: Lessons From Forward Thinking Executives in Middle-Market Companies' which highlights the 7 steps Carol uses to accelerate the design and implementation of succession planning & management. For more than 16 years and through a mix of consulting, coaching, facilitation, and speaking services, Carol has helped leaders become talent magnets. And in doing so these leaders have experienced the sheer joy of helping people advance their careers and their organizations excel. (, 781-376-4071)

The Neuropsychology of Motivation

Posted on Wed, Jan 25, 2012

Resistance. Technically, it’s what we OD types live for. After all, if it weren’t for resistance – what need would there be for change agents? More importantly, where would we get our thrills? The thrill of seeing someone see the light. The thrill of turning a challenging change corner. The thrill of opening up possibility for hundreds of people in one fell swoop, providing relief or catalyzing a success. The thrill of making a difference in people’s work and lives.

Our success as change agents is predicated on our ability to meet resistance, shake its paw, and help it see a brighter way. Happily, new developments in neuroscience, brain scan technology and neuropsychology are delivering even more thrilling tools for us to do our job well. But will it be our job alone?

Mass v Individual Motivation

From Frederick Herzberg to Daniel Pink, we’ve uncovered, confirmed and refined our understanding of the underlying tenets of motivation. We know there are external factors that organizations and managers can use to create motivating circumstances and environments and that there are internal factors that only the individual can define and satisfy for him or herself.

We’ve gotten better at incorporating that knowledge into our organizational systems but we still, in large part, take an outside-in approach to motivation and engagement. What if we added an inside-out approach to our efforts? How might the individual take more responsibility for identifying and managing their own internal motivation factors?

The Neuropsychology of Motivation

Developments in neuropsychology and modern motivation theory are giving us the ability to do just that. So many exciting things are coming out of a variety of fields that are combining to give us a clearer picture of how our minds, emotions, behavior and relationships work. From Martin Seligman’s Optimism to Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow Theory to David Rock’s SCARF Model, we have more and more effective ways to influence our relationship with the world around us. And these ways are available to all of us simply by better understanding - and managing - our brain.

Resistance: An Individual’s Responsibility

By synthesizing all the good stuff we know into a practical, accessible framework of tools that anyone can use, Helle Bundgaard, Founder of Motivation Factor® has developed a way to give individuals the ability, responsibility, and even accountability for getting and staying motivated. She’s translated complex brain research into everyday applications.

For change agents, these new tools give us greater ability to move those organizational mountains. We’ll still get the thrill of watching insight bloom and action unfold. We’ll even see more of it.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software