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Leadership Lessons from the Transition Zone

Do today's job hunters and employers have a really big blind spot about something very important? I have come to think that they do.

Recently two of New Jersey's finest jobs advocates, John Fugazzie (of NhN) and Ken Hitchner (of PSGCNJ) spoke forcefully in a meeting with Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez down in Washington, D.C. They said that the unemployed are struggling to survive in a difficult economy. They pointed to the bias of employers against hiring the unemployed. And they strongly encouraged the government to do something about that.

There is something else that can be done as well. Job hunters themselves can take ownership of this one. They can recognize the blind spot I am referring to and eliminate it. By getting rid of this unconscious obstruction, the unemployed can recognize and communicate a strength that they possess that will be incredibly attractive to employers!

What is it? Job hunters know something that is very valuable about leadership and change. Let me explain.

The great leadership expert Warren Bennis once defined leadership as the capacity to turn vision into reality.

Leading therefore is essentially about change. About making change happen.

Change is a difficult thing for many of us. Change expert William Bridges taught us about the distinction between change and transition. He once said: "So many change initiatives seem to cost too much, take too long, and fail to meet their objectives because they do only half the job. They are change-heavy and transition-light. Change and transition are different, and both are necessary for any significant change to work."

Job hunters know a great deal about transition. They are referred to as "transitioners." I even like to say that they are "transitionists," people who become quite adept at riding the waves of change.

So job hunters, whether they realize it or not, are learning very valuable lessons about what it takes to lead change.

Organizational change expert Roland Sullivan once wrote in a note to me, "The leaders that have a successful way to transform their organizations will win the game."

Every organization that I know is looking to improve, and some even want to transform themselves into a high performance organization. Who better to help with this than someone who is a living, breathing veteran of transformation and change?

Day in and day out, job hunters are selling their brand to potential employers with the aim of producing a job offer. Turning a vision into reality.

Leaders make change happen. Job hunters can do that for their next employer.

Note: To learn more about NhN:

Note: To learn more about PSGCNJ:

Posted on Terrence Seamon Thursday January 23, 2014

Terrence H. Seamon is a consultant who provides leadership and team development services to organizations. His book Lead the Way explores the challenges of leadership. Additionally, Terry is a job search and career coach whose book To Your Success provides a motivational guide for anyone in transition. His third book, Change for the Better, provides leaders with a guide to initiating, and navigating through, organizational change. Terry co-founded and co-moderates the St. Matthias Employment Ministry in Somerset, NJ. His free whitepaper on job search and transition, called "Galvanize Into Action," is available by sending him an email request. He can be reached at and via his website:

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