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Always Appreciating What's Good...

May 2014

Company of Experts Consulting Services


Why? A simple question and, so open to multiple ways of understanding. Recently Melissa Robaina asked if 'Why' is an Appreciative Question. Here she writes about the responses that she has receives and continues to receive.

This started me thinking of how we use words and how our brain processes those words. In the book, Lead Positive: What Highly Effective Leaders SEE, SAY AND DO. Kathryn Cramer, citing Hebb's Law (the 1949 work of Donald Hebb) that "Every time you intentionally shine the spotlight on assets - what is positive, valuable, and worthwhile-you change your brain for the better." This is exactly why Appreciative Inquiry is so powerful. We don't look for the opposite of negative, we search for the "Positive Core", that which gives life to human systems. It is the quest, the search, the journey into the positive, valuable, and worthwhile that allows the generative potential for not just organizational change but to transform our relationships.  We have been working with an International Manufacturing Company recently. With them, we experienced how one person can be transformed by high energy words and become motivated to share that experience publically. This particular plant is located in the Southern United States. The 100+ stakeholders attending the Summit (out of the 400 who work at the Plant) included employees who work the factory "floor", engineers, and management. They operate three shifts and all shifts within the plant were represented.


The Plant Manager had been introduced to AI earlier this year by the Human Resources Manager, and agreed to the summit. In preparation for the Summit, he attended training, read books and participated in virtual discussions. On the morning of the Summit, he talked about the tough times they have had, the economic meltdown; and, how it had impacted the Company, their Division and their Community. Then, he shifted to his personal journey. He told the stakeholders that his early morning schedule has always been to get up at 4:00 a.m., with a quick check-in to see if there had been any crisis' during the night, and to look over the production statistics for the prior day. He said to the crowd, "I am an Engineer. These numbers set my priorities and my focus. I looked at them for problems, and corrections we need to take. Now, I have been introduced to a different way. New ideas about how we work together. Words like love, compassion, hope, and inspiration do belong in the workplace."


He went on to describe how their plant productivity is thriving and wondered the costs to individuals this level of activity over the long haul might be. "We are on a rise in terms of production and hiring. We have the opportunity now to join together to build the foundation that combines our past strengths that our people built with the production requirements to be competitive now. I welcome you to our first AI Summit."


Gives you goosebumps, doesn't it?



Kathy Becker,  

President of 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. 
New: Expert on Call Directory
Are you a consultant, coach, trainer or facilitator called to create a thriving more sustainable world? Join the growing Expert on Call community and be a part of a global network of change agents forming a generative community focused on this shared mission.

We are happy to announce the release of our Expert on Call Directory. Our directory is a global network of people with outstanding expertise in Coaching, Consulting, Facilitating, Keynoting, and Training. This network serves the needs of the community colleges, schools and universities, businesses and corporations, governmental agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

Each Expert on Call has an editable profile page that includes your photo and professional biography that highlights your specialties, articles, videos and testimonials. As an Expert on Call, your profile will be added to our Directory - making you and your company searchable by our worldwide audience.

Experts on Call also enjoy several other benefits, such as: free event postings, being a featured Expert in our "Ask the Expert" or "#AskEoC" programs, publish your articles, add your products to our store and more. To see a full list of benefits, please click here
Is "Why" an Appreciative Question?

A few days ago I shared a fascinating HBR article on LinkedIn titled, "Become a Company That Questions Everything". The article talks about how companies should encourage curiosity in the workforce by inviting employees and other stakeholders to ask questions. The article itself has a large graphic of the word "why". As I shared the article on our various social media outlets, one person asked me if "why" is an appreciative question. I stopped what I was doing just so that I could let that question sink in. I mean, I believed it could be, depending on the context in which it is used but I was curious as to what others thought.


After pondering the question for a day or so, I posted the question on various LinkedIn groups I am connected to. The question spread like wildfire. I was honored that so many people took the time to share their thoughts and experiences. The discussions that emerged were engaging and insightful. Read Full Article>> 

What is Your Best Possible Self?
Use this exercise to boost your hope and well-being.

Whether you're a therapist, a client, or neither, this positive psychology exercise is a good one to try. This exercise, called Best Possible Self, by researchers and practitioners, is one of the stronger happiness exercises because it has good research support (see below) and people tend to find the exercise beneficial.Whether you're a therapist, a client, or neither, this positive psychology exercise is a good one to try. This exercise, called Best Possible Self, by researchers and practitioners, is one of the stronger happiness exercises because it has good research support (see below) and people tend to find the exercise beneficial.

The exercise has been shown to boost people's positive emotions, happiness levels, optimism, hope, improve coping skills, and elevate positive expectations about the future. I suggest you to consider it in two basic steps: visualizing yourself at a future moment in time having accomplished your goals and considering the character strengths you'll need to deploy to make that vision a reality.
Read Full Article>> 
Don't Be So Sure

We don't have to agree with each other in order to think well together. There is no need for us to be joined at the head. We are already joined by our human hearts. --Margaret Wheatley 


Most people I meet want to develop more harmonious and satisfying relationships. But we may not realize that this can only be achieved by partnering with two new and strange allies: uncertainty and confusion.


Most of us weren't trained to like confusion or to admit when we feel hesitant and uncertain. In our schools and organizations, we place value on sounding assured and confident. People are rewarded for stating opinions as if they're facts. Quick answers abound; pensive questions have disappeared. Confusion has yet to emerge as a higher order value or behavior that organizations eagerly reward.


As life continues to speed up (adding to our confusion), we don't have time to be uncertain. We don't have time to listen to anyone who expresses a new or different position. In meetings and in the media, often we listen to others just long enough to determine whether we agree with them. We rush from opinion to opinion, listening for those tidbits and sound bites that confirm our position. Gradually, we have become more certain but less informed, and far less thoughtful. Read Full Article>>  

Why Your Life Needs a Mission Statement
The same strategies used to create a business plan can help you create a personal mission statement.  


We'd all love to say we wake up in the morning feeling exhilarated--joyful even--and move through the day with purpose and intention, but the reality is most of us spend the larger part of our day going through the motions, feeling exhausted and wondering what the point of it all is.


Gallup's 2013 State of the American Workplace Report showed only 30% of American workers feel engaged or inspired at their jobs, and the vast majority (70%) feel they aren't reaching their full potential. Management consultant and coach Allison Rimm, author of The Joy of Strategy: A Business Plan for Life says it's possible for all of us to find joy in our business and personal lives, but to do so requires strategy.


Rimm spent 16 years as a senior executive at Massachusetts General Hospital where, in addition to her duties as vice president of Strategic Planning and Information Management, she informally coached and mentored co-workers. "I had people ask me 'should I take this promotion?', 'Is this the right career move for me?', and I would say 'How can I tell you if this is a step in the right direction if you don't have a direction,'" says Rimm. Read Full Article>> 

Purpose Drives Profits and Confidence, According to the Latest Study From Deloitte

"If you want to be successful over the long haul, you have to have a sense of purpose that is clearly articulated and embedded in your organization and processes, but you also have to live it.  There can't be two sets of rules."-Punit Renjen, Chairman of the Board, Deloitte  


I caught up with Deloitte Chairman, Punit Renjen, to discuss the release of the firm's third annual Core Beliefs and Culture Survey, as a follow-up to my profile of him last year that struck a chord with the Forbes Insights audience and was my second most read story of the year.  Here's what Punit had to say about this year's study...


"The difference between last year and this year's version of the study  is that, in addition to reaffirming the premise that  'purpose' is a driving force for business success, it points out that  focusing on purpose rather than just profits builds business confidence.  And we wanted to explore that notion, given the current climate of uncertainty and slowed economic recovery. Read Full Article>> 

Become a Company That Questions Everything

Imagine you're a bright, inquisitive person working for a company with long-established policies and work processes in place (or maybe you don't have to). Now let's say you've noticed one of those processes is not as efficient or effective as it might be, which leads you to reasonably ask: Why are we doing it this way? Is there a better approach?


What happens next in this scenario could be a good indicator of whether your company has a culture of inquiry or one of acceptance and conformity. If it's the former, that question you raised will be carefully considered and may trigger ongoing discussion - and possibly action - by the company's managers and leaders. You might be praised and even rewarded, just for asking it.


If, on the other hand, yours is a company that doesn't value or appreciate questioning, you might hear something like: "This is the way we've been doing things for 20 years - who are you to second-guess us?" Or the always-popular, "Around here, we expect people to bring us answers, not questions." Read Full Article>>  

Leadership is a Conversation

The command-and-control approach to management has in recent years become less and less viable. Globalization, new technologies, and changes in how companies create value and interact with customers have sharply reduced the efficacy of a purely directive, top-down model of leadership. What will take the place of that model? Part of the answer lies in how leaders manage communication within their organizations-that is, how they handle the flow of information to, from, and among their employees. Traditional corporate communication must give way to a process that is more dynamic and more sophisticated. Most important, that process must be conversational.


We arrived at that conclusion while conducting a recent research project that focused on the state of organizational communication in the 21st century. Over more than two years we interviewed professional communicators as well as top leaders at a variety of organizations-large and small, blue chip and start-up, for-profit and nonprofit, U.S. and international. To date we have spoken with nearly 150 people at more than 100 companies. Both implicitly and explicitly, participants in our research mentioned their efforts to "have a conversation" with their people or their ambition to "advance the conversation" within their companies. Building upon the insights and examples gleaned from this research, we have developed a model of leadership that we call "organizational conversation." Read Full Article>>  

The Best Leaders Are Humble Leaders

In a global marketplace where problems are increasingly complex, no one person will ever have all the answers. That's why Google's SVP of People Operations, Lazlo Bock, says humility is one of the traits he's looking for in new hires. "Your end goal," explained Bock, "is what can we do together to problem-solve. I've contributed my piece, and then I step back." And it is not just humility in creating space for others to contribute, says Bock-it's "intellectual humility. Without humility, you are unable to learn."


A recent Catalyst study backs this up, showing that humility is one of four critical leadership factors for creating an environment where employees from different demographic backgrounds feel included. In a survey of more than 1500 workers from Australia, China, Germany, India, Mexico, and the U.S., we found that when employees observed altruistic or selfless behavior in their managers - a style characterized by 1) acts of humility, such as learning from criticism and admitting mistakes); 2) empowering followers to learn and develop; 3) acts of courage, such as taking personal risks for the greater good; and 4) holding employees responsible for results - they were more likely to report feeling included in their work teams. This was true for both women and men.


Employees who perceived altruistic behavior from their managers also reported being more innovative, suggesting new product ideas and ways of doing work better. Moreover, they were more likely to report engaging in team citizenship behavior, going beyond the call of duty, picking up the slack for an absent colleague - all indirect effects of feeling more included in their workgroups. Read Full Article>>  

10 Ways to Nurture Wellbeing and Build Resilience
We live in a busy world where children as well as adults encounter challenges and may find this stressful. Some people are naturally confident and resilient but most of us need some help. So how do we support children who need a helping hand? I passionately believe that we need to talk more about the positive factors which nurture wellbeing. The prevention of mental health issues makes such sound sense.


Wellbeing is not about being happy all the time or living a charmed life cushioned from want or challenges. Wellbeing is having the personal resources- mental, emotional, social and spiritual to deal with life's challenges and having the skills to create a good life which is authentic and satisfying. Wellbeing is not something we can assume comes naturally and we cannot afford to leave it to chance.


Positive Psychology has a growing evidence base on what creates wellbeing. Here are my top 10 ways to promote wellbeing so that children flourish. Read Full Article>> 

Celebrating 25 Years With Huge Savings on our Appreciative Inquiry Trainings
Since 1989, Company of Experts has developed an excellent word-of-mouth reputation by helping hundreds of organizations and groups, and thousands of individuals, heighten their energy, sharpen their vision, and inspire their action for change.


To celebrate 25 years, we are offering an additional $250.00 savings on all 2014 Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Trainings (AIFT) being hosted in Las Vegas! Register early and combine your $250.00 savings on top of our Early Bird Registration Discount. Please enter promo code: THEBIG25 upon checkout to receive our 25 year celebratory discount. Discount cannot be combines with group rates or other offers. 

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>>  

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.

In This Issue
New to the AI Community
New: Expert on Call Directory
Organizational Generativity: The Appreciative Inquiry Summit and a Scholarship of Transformation
How Fiction Can Change Reality
Honoring Those Who Question
7 Habits of Highly Emotionally Intelligent People
Lead at Your Best
Is Appreciative Inquiry a Useful Workplace Tool?
Develop Strategic Thinkers Throughout Your Organization
To Change Behabior, Change Your Focus
Inspiring Team Vitality
Celebrating 25 Years with Huge Savings on AI Trainings
New Payment Plan Program
Hosting Opportunities
Free Downloads
Upcoming Events
Online Videos Worth Watching
LinkedIn Conversations
Webinar Recordings Available
Visit Our Websites
Free Downloads:
Leadership Excellence (March 2012) - Highlighting 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: June 23-26, 2014  
View Event Page >> 

Appreciative Inquiry Coaching Training (AICT) 
Where: Cape Town, South Africa 
Dates: June 23-27, 2014   

Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry: Creating What Will Be
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada  
Dates: August 18-19, 2014 

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT) 
Where: Cape Town, South Africa 
Dates: August 25-28, 2014   

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT) 
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada  
Dates: September 16-19, 2014  
Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT) 
Where: Chicago, Illinois   
Dates: October 24-26, 2014 
Appreciative Inquiry Coaching Training (AICT) 
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada  
Dates: November 3-7, 2014   
View Company of Experts' Entire Event Calendar
here >>
Recent Tweets

Advanced Level Course Now Available  



: How do you address social factors in organizational change?  



 What makes questions so powerful?  

 Videos Worth Watching

Every Child a Talker - Appreciative Inquiry at Work  

Description: Robbie Macpherson shares a story about infusing AI into his work. 


Whole Systems Healing - Interview with Diana Whitney  

Description: An interview with Diana Whitney about Whole Systems Healing and Appreciative Inquiry.


Appreciative Inquiry in the Working Place 

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


Every Kid Needs a Champion 

Description: A call to educators to believe in their students' potential. 


Description: In this fast-moving & entertaining talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually happiness inspires productivity
LinkedIn Conversations:
Is it Time to Reframe How We Introduce AI to Clients?
We are so passionate about AI and experience tremendous outcomes. How do we gather our best moments for those new to AI? To help them over the fear of introducing this "radical" approach? I would love to hear how you introduce AI. What moments, words or actions have created the highest level of energy (buy-in)? What have you contributed to this excitement? How do we take those moments of high energy and heighten our individual successes?

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 "Discovering Appreciative Inquiry". It is an open group that allows participants to ask questions and share stories in regards to AI. All are welcome!

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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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