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Words Create Worlds � 

January 2015

Company of Experts Consulting Services

As we move into a new year, we cannot help but reflect on the past, consider present possibilities and dream of "what if".

A quote by Aristotle reads, "The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inner significance". To us, an "inner significance" provides each human spirit with a dream of what might be.  As we draw from the best of our past, we too, in a sense, become artists - creating an ideal future through the use of words, pictures, stories and thoughts.  

The questions we ask are fateful and provide us with a sense of direction or focus.  Are the questions you ask tapping into your "inner significance" or do they consist of measurable concepts such as processes, things or resources?

Your Friends at the Company of Experts, Inc.

Welcome to the AI Community!

Company of Experts is pleased to introduce its newest Certified Appreciative Inquiry Facilitators and/or Coaches to its growing AI family. 

The individual(s) listed below participated in our 4-day Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT) and/or our 5 day Appreciative Inquiry Coaching Training (AICT) program and submitted a practicum demonstrating their knowledge and application of Appreciative Inquiry. In reading their practicums, we are able to celebrate in their achievements and observe how Appreciative Inquiry has positively influenced their lives - personally and professionally.

New practicums are frequently posted to our blog, so check back often to see what new stories have been posted. Click here for more practicums. 
Leadership Courage: Creating a Culture Where People Feel Safe to Take Risks
#1 responsibility of leaders: create an environment that not only engages, but draws out the best of their employees.


The human ingenuity within any organization is it's greatest competitive advantage.  Yet the fear, complacency and outright disengagement that can exist within it's walls are the biggest barriers to leveraging it.

The number one responsibility of any leader is to create an environment that not only engages their workforce, but draws out the best of what they have to offer. The best thinking. The best creativity and innovation. The best strategy and business execution. The best customer service and quality control. The best accountability and collaboration.  The organizations that are the most successful at this are those that build and sustain the strongest competitive advantage over the long haul. Easier said than done of course. Read Full Article>> 
Learning to Hope
Article shares why learning to hope is important to your whole being...

Hope and faith are powerful feelings of looking towards the future with an optimistic view. Medical science has recognized the importance of hope a long time ago. How many of us have heard of people facing life threatening illnesses like cancer bearing the odds of survival based on their hope that they can make it?

Hope is one important concept in Positive Psychology. Hope isn't something you should reply on only when you're in a crisis. Being hopeful that the future reserves better things is also an important motor in motivation and drive. Why work harder if you can't believe you will do better tomorrow than today?

If you are familiar with broaden and build model or positive emotions by Barbara Fredrickson, you might remember that building yourself up with positive emotion helps increase resilience in the face of crisis and also generates a cycle of positivity in your life, where you "attract" the positive towards you. It's more or less like tuning into the positivity channel. Which doesn't mean that no bad will happen to you (we all know bad things happen to good people), but instead you will bounce back faster. Read Full Article>>
Create Your Corporate Values By Design, Not By Accident

In an interview with one of the authors, founder and CEO of Cypress Semiconductor, T.J. Rogers, commented, "Values are the things you get for free." Rogers didn't mean that having good values is free. He meant that whatever your company's values actually are-good or bad-will guide people's actions. To succeed long-term, leaders must ensure they're nurturing the right corporate values.


What happens in the workplace translates into marketplace performance. Shared values cultivate a corporate culture that should serve as the ultimate platform to drive growth, innovation and opportunity. Without the right shared values everyone can embrace, corporate cultures harbor contradictions and conflicts, fueled by silos where leadership agendas abound and disengaged employees lack the right mindset to perform at their best.


Effective corporate cultures support high-performance through both diversity of thought and like-mindedness in approach, style and attitude. Strong corporate cultures blend the strengths of people while celebrating their individuality and authenticity in support of an organization's vision and mission.   It takes great leadership to keep corporate cultures on the right path and continuously improving. Read Full Article>> 

Make the Most of Twixtmas
The period between Christmas and New Year is for many a pot of unstructured time that can lapse into a wasteland of mindless eating and slumping in front of the TV. The days are short and energy levels are low. But this time is perfect for reflecting on the year that's gone and planning the year ahead. Take a life audit of 2014 as a basis to plan for 2015.  


Here's a way to plan for 2015 based on Appreciative Inquiry, a process of change used in organizations. It starts with appreciating what's already working well, identifying individual and team strengths to power a forward move. We make more progress when we learn from what's working well. Ironic then that we tend to spend more time analyzing what's gone wrong, take the triumphs for granted, and fail to pause to reflect on what's gone right.


So choose a comfy seat (you might already be there), light the fire, make some tea, and reflect on the following questions that come from positive psychology. Read Full Article>> 

How Neuro-Linguistic and Appreciative Inquiry Complement Each Other (Podcast)

Andy Smith talks about his first experiences of Appreciative Inquiry as a table facilitator at AI summits.  He remembers how inspiring it is to witness the shifts that happen when people who don't know each other so well at the beginning of an event become inspired by what they dream together; even more inspiring is that together, they come up with ideas of how they can improve services, products and relationships.


Listen in to this episode, as we share experiences of applying AI in different contexts. I mention that I find the very first AI discovery interview sets the scene for when you discover what truly matters. The discovery interview invites people to recall a high peak experience, when they feel most connected to the topic they are are inquiring into. This helps them to remember positive experiences, which in turn helps them tap into to their strengths and all the things they appreciate about a situation. Read Full Article>> 

Sustainable Momentum Requires the Big Why

You started out with an unimaginably exciting idea, made a plan that you've started, and now you're down in the trenches. It's not flowing as easily as you had hoped, and some days it's not even fun anymore.


What happened?


Any new venture involves six basic stages of development: imagining, clarifying, aligning, planning, executing and adapting.


Understanding this sequence is important, but it all gets rather dry without the inspiration of your Big Why. Why are you called to invest time, energy and money in this new idea, this new venture, this new solution to big challenges you are ready to face?


Are you letting yourself be guided by small why's or your Big Why?

Read Full Article>> 

4 Pillars or Positive Leadership That Promise Results

Negativity costs our economy $500 billion dollars a year in lost productivity.  Disengaged workers lose customers, drive up healthcare costs, and contribute to absenteeism and turnover rates.


In contrast, positivity at work is associated with better organizational behavior, better relationships with colleagues, better customer evaluations, less absenteeism, and less turnover.  So happiness doesn't just feel good - it is good for you, your employees, customers, and the organization's bottom line.


The goal of positive leadership is to create workplaces that foster high satisfaction and high productivity.  How can you become a more positive leader?  These 4 strategies will help you transform your organization from the inside out... Read Full Article>>  

Appreciative Inquiry and Church Leadership

Conversations are interesting things. In a recent blog, I explored what having different conversations might mean for churches. When we engage with one another, sometimes we realize that if we keep doing the same things we've always done, we are likely to end up with what we already have. Rituals that offer a sense - perhaps even illusion - of stability, therefore, may not be that helpful as churches, or other organizations, navigate these times of change.


It's one thing to name this, it might be another to answer, "so what?" Or - perhaps - what are our alternatives? I do not claim that there's a cookie-cutter solution, but I thought I would offer one possible resource. In this shifting landscape in which churches find themselves, how might they share their faith contextually and engage in activities that create positive change for their members and communities? My experience and use of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) feels like something I might share as a way to continue the dialogue. Read Full Article>>  

Appreciative Inquiry and the Power of Questions

Questions are essential within the perspective of Appreciative Inquiry. The questions we ask ourselves - as a person or a system - determine the direction towards which we develop ourselves. What sort of questions can then help to facilitate a movement towards the desired direction?


The Craftsmanship of Designing Questions 

The other day I heard an anecdote about David Coopperrider, one of the main thinkers on Appreciative Inquiry, who spent three months on thinking up a question to open up a conversation between religious leaders from all over the world. The question he ended up giving them was: 'Can you tell me something about the moment you knew you wanted to live your life in service of religion?'. In an Appreciative Inquiry process it is typically not the facilitator - in this case Cooperrider - who asks this question to the group. Rather people are invited to talk about this question in pairs or small groups. The craftsmanship of the Appreciative Inquiry practitioner is exactly that of thinking of and crafting exactly that question that will hopefully create some sort of shift - and to let the people that are actually touched by the topic or change enter into a conversation about it. Read Full Article>> 

Introductory AI Workshop: Creating What Will Be
This two-day introduction Appreciative Inquiry (AI) workshops: "Creating What Will Be" focuses on gaining an appreciation of Appreciative Inquiry and its applications.  The objective of this course is to strengthen the capacity of your use in participatory approaches at work or at home through the use of appreciative and assets-based approaches that encourage greater self-reliance, identification of local assets, and promotion of improved decision-making within groups, teams, and organizations as a whole. By combining theory and practice, this experiential workshop provides participants with the skills to change their personal and professional relationships. Learn More>>
Appreciative Inquiry Coaching Training (AICT)
Infuse Appreciative Inquiry into your coaching/consulting practice to strengthen the positive core of both you and your clients.
Appreciative Inquiry Coaching Training ICF CCE
Discover how to use your existing coaching skills within the energizing and affirming framework of Appreciative Inquiry to deepen and enhance both your personal sense of yourself as well as your skills as a coach/consultant.  
The "Appreciative Inquiry Coaching Training (AICT)" is an intensive 5 day course and will comprise of a full Appreciative Inquiry into our collective experience of Appreciative Inquiry and Coaching. Together we will explore and experience each of the 5 D's as it relates to one-on-one relationships (between you and your client). The practicum, which participants will submit for certification, will embody "Destiny" as you apply the lessons taught during this course into your coaching work. Learn More>>
Become a Host for our Trainings
We offer incentives to hosting organizations for their hospitality

Company of Experts is seeking host organizations throughout the world to host any of our trainings (Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT), Department Chair Institute (DCI), and Leadership Development Institute(LDI)). To show our gratitude, host organizations receive two complimentary registrations for a training held on their site when minimum enrollment is met.
Host organizations may limit the training to people at their organization or it can be open to others. If the training is open, Company of Experts partner with the host organization to help promote the training.

Please contact
Kathy for more information.
Free Payment Plan Program

Payment Plan Program is now available for ALL of our workshops!


Company of Experts, Inc. is pleased to offer a Payment Plan Program as a manageable alternative to paying your workshop registration in a lump-sum payment. Our Payment Plan Program allows you to pay your workshop registration over a number of weeks/months, interest free.


Enrollment in our free Payment Plan Program will reserve your seat(s) in the training of your choice. Your reserved seat(s) permit you to receive all the benefits of registered participants, such as access to any pre-workshop readings, materials and activities.  Learn More>>  

In This Issue
New to the AI Community
Leadership Courage: Creating a Culture Where People Feel Safe to Take Risks
Learning to Hope
Create Your Corporate Values By Design, Not By Accident
Make the Most of Twixtmas
How Neuro-Linguistic and Appreciative Inquiry Complement Each Other
Sustainable Momentum Requires the Big Why
4 Pillars of Positive Leadership That Promise Results
Appreciative Inquiry and Church Leadership
Appreciative Inquiry and the Power of Questions
Introductory AI Workshop: Creating What Will Be
Appreciative Inquiry Coaching Training (AICT)
Hosting Opportunities
New Payment Plan Program
Free Downloads
Upcoming Events
Videos Worth Watching
LinkedIn Conversations
Webinar Recordings Available
Visit Our Websites
Free Downloads:
Exceeding Expectations: Appreciative Inquiry Stories in Education
By: Various Authors

Leadership Excellence (March 2012) - Highligh
ting Appreciative Inquiry
By: Various Authors 

The Neuroscience of Leadership
By: David Rock & Jeffrey Schwartz

Aligning Strengths Through Appreciative Inquiry
By: Nancy Stetson

Managing with the Brain in Mind
By: David Rock
Upcoming Events:
Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT) 
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada  
Dates: February 10-13, 2015   

Appreciative Inquiry Coaching Training (AICT) 
Where: Cape Town, South Africa 
Dates: March 16-20, 2015    

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT) 
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada  
Dates: April 13-16, 2015   
View Event Page >> 

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT) 
Where: Johannesburg, So. Africa 
Dates: May 11-14, 2015    
View Event Page>>  

Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry: Creating What Will Be
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada 
Dates: May 21-22, 2015    
View Event Page>> 
Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry: Creating What Will Be
Where: Atmore, Alabama 
Dates: June 8-9, 2015    
View Event Page>>  

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT) 
Where: Haverhill, Massachusetts  
Dates: June 22-25, 2015    
2015 World Appreciative Inquiry Conference (WAIC) 
Where: Johannesburg, So. Africa 
Dates: July 6-10, 2015    
View Company of Experts' Entire Event Calendar
here >>
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 Videos Worth Watching

Playful Inquiry   

Description: Robin Stratton- Berkessel shares how a simple, intentionally appreciative inquiry can result in a playful state that fosters creativity, openness and togetherness. 


Be an Opportunity Maker 
We all want to use our talents to create something meaningful with our lives. But how to get started? Kare Anderson shares how she opened up her world by helping other people use their own talents and passions.


Appreciative Inquiry in the Working Place 

Description: Prof. John Hayes discusses Appreciative Inquiry and its use in the workplace.  


Description: In this fast-moving & entertaining talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually happiness inspires productivity
LinkedIn Conversations:
Best Book on SOAR?
I'd like a book on SOAR. What are other books apart from the "Thin Book on SOAR"?

As AI practitioners we spend a lot of time helping others discover their positive core (i.e. their strengths, best practices, positive attitudes, knowledge, skills, capabilities, etc.), but we don't always get the opportunity to discover our discuss our own. I'm curious to know how you discovered your own positive core and what you'd say is one of your greatest strengths.

How Do You Deal with Resistance?
Have any of you gone into an organization who resisted using AI? If so, how did you overcome the resistance? Also, I am curious how you were able to get your foot in the door to discuss the benefits of using AI.


We invite you to join our LinkedIn Group called "Center for Appreciative Inquiry". It is an open group that allows participants to ask questions and share stories in regards to AI. All are welcome!

Webinar Recordings Available On-Demand
Providing professional development tidbits on-the-go!

Company of Experts' webinar recordings provide you with the opportunity to learn at a time and place that is most convenient. Gather a group in a conference room or listen at your desktop when it works with your schedule. Company of Experts' webinar recordings are available for download which can be replayed as often as you wish and can be shared with with your colleagues and friends.


To view a list of our webinar recordings, please click here.   

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