Company of Experts, Inc.

Always Appreciating What's Good...

May 2012

Company of Experts Consulting Services


The fifth World Appreciative Inquiry Conference (WAIC), held in Ghent Belgium, is over, but what a magical and wonderful experience us. The theme of this conference emphasized Appreciative Inquiry (AI) as a theory and practice of connecting people and generating new possibilities. Unlike any other process, AI helps us to understand, to build, and to enhance interconnectedness.   


With over 600 people from over 45 countries in attendance, the possibility for opportunities was great - almost overwhelming one's senses. From this conference, we learned it is important for us (collectively) to bring experiences of positivity, encouragement, and hope into mainstream business, transcending and transforming old structures into coherent, resilient networks of professionals that bring out and connect the best of their capacities. This newsletter contains several appreciative resources that can be used to help spark innovation and jump-start this positive movement. 


"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things." ~ Niccolo Machiavelli




Kathy Becker, President and CEO,

Company of Experts 

Welcome to the AI Community!!

Company of Experts is pleased to introduce its newest Certified Appreciative Inquiry Facilitators (CAIF) to its growing AI family. 

The individual(s) listed below participated in our 4-day Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT) 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.  

Words Creates Worlds
Better living through positive dialogue! Words Create Worlds

Read an issue of our "Words Create Worlds" (WCW) - a periodical compilation of success stories collected from AIFT participants from around the world. Words Create Worlds illustrates how AIFT participants have used words to help shape their world and the world of others - resulting in positive change.


If you wish to read our WCW publications, please click here.


WAIC 2012 Recap
Looking for 2012 WAIC Resources? Well look no further...


The Center for Appreciative Inquiry was honored when their presentation was accepted for the 2012 World Appreciative Inquiry Conference (WAIC). While there, the Center for Appreciative Inquiry compiled an extensive list of resources (PowerPoints, newsletters, videos, interviews, webcasts, etc) that was distributed before, during, and after the conference by keynote speakers, presenters, and conference attendees.

What's nice about this list is that all of the resources are found in one page - no more searching! We invite you to check out this page and share this page with other AI enthusiasts you may know! Enjoy! View WAIC Materials>>
Loving Your Job and the People You Work With
Article derived from Ron Frye and Gervase Bushe presentation at WAIC


As the Dutch IT firm Schuberg Philis grew, it started to become more of an "organization." In his keynote address Thurday, information manager Ilja Heitlager explains: "Without realising it, we created departments and hierarchy, inadvertently alienating our experts from our customer. Our people are very skilled and focused, but they were lost. In times of crisis, however, for instance if a machine broke down, multidisciplinary teams were created, with experts in the front. And the whole energy changed."


Schuberg Philis decided to make this interdisciplinary approach their way of working all the time. They linked their experts closer to the customer, by making them fully responsible for their systems. "Our people are not running an IT machine, they are running a bank," says Ilja. "If the machine breaks down, people can't draw money, and they know it".


The conversations changed. "If people are responsible for the system, and something happens, they don't talk about the past ('what happened', 'what went wrong', 'why did it break down?') or about others ('they should just...')," says Ilja. "Instead, they talk about the future and about themselves ('how do we solve it', 'how can we get the bank up and running?')." At Schuberg Philis they call this this cupfighter mentality. Read Full Article>>  

A Learner's View on Global Appreciative Inquiry Gathering
Are you looking for an approach to change that moves beyond incremental steps of change? Do you recall bringing opposites together in a fruitful conversation?


Crafting questions, active listening, looking for "lived" experiences that help to explore the future. These are just some of the learning dimensions that emerged for me from the World Appreciative Inquiry Conference held April 25-28 in Ghent, Belgium.


For several days, practitioners and learners of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) rubbed shoulders with founding elders of this positive approach to change.


My highlights: AI is firmly grounded in how we construct our daily life and reality. Enactment of key concepts, such as dialogue; generative design and connections and the AI summit were woven into the conference program. There was a rallying call for working towards the beckoning horizon of what is possible and not to get bogged down by reverting to past history of mistakes, failures, and pessimism. 


AI is about using curiosity and the art of questions to actively explore what needs to change. Inspiring sessions on crafting questions, and enacting co-creation and dialogue showed the emergent strength of the approach and are building blocks for a future that we want to realize. Take-home questions for me included: How can I apply an AI approach in my professional and personal life? In raising my children? Inspirational stories of using AI for change at the system, organizational, team, family and individual levels illustrate the richness of AI practices. Read Full Article>> 

Increasing the Generative Potential of Appreciative Inquiry
Article derived from Ron Frye and Gervase Bushe presentation at WAIC


"AI has the potential to unleash transformational change." Ron Fry and Gervase Bushe agree upon that. "It has been proven, in practice, but also by research. So the real challenge now is to figure out how to really make that potential come true." In the second half of their keynote, they explore different things we can do as AI practitioners, to increase the impact of any AI intervention.


Powerful questions
It all begins with the questions. Gervase: "Which questions should we ask to elicit conversations that challenge the status quo? I found we need:

  • Surprising questions. Asking the same won't help - even the most powerful question loses its effect after a while;
  • Questions that engage heart and spirit. Just the head is not enough;
  • Reframing and unsettling questions: the ones that help you rethink what you take for granted;
  • Questions that help build a relationship as you discuss them.

You don't just 'find' questions that fit these criteria. You need to tweak and craft."

Read Full Article>>  

Values Talk Resonates at WAIC
Creating new stories about our world begins with return to core values

Klaas van Egmond's quick review of the past 2,000 years, the catastrophes we've brought on ourselves as humanity and what's needed to avoid a final calamity ended with a standing ovation at the fifth annual World Appreciative Inquiry Conference Friday. The Dutch professor's central point? That it is at the centre of four ways of being, individualism and diversity, idealism and materialism, we will find the freedom we most desperately need.


Klaas told the story of the knight Percival meeting the ailing fisher king and not asking a core question, so being thrown out into the darkness where he journeyed through various extremes of the above ways of being. It was only when he could bridge these opposites that he could return the king and finally ask the critical question - What is it that bothers you? - that he could step in as new leader of the kingdom.


Conference co-organizer and participant Luc Verheijen reflects the passion the audience obviously felt about the place of core values in our world today as the starting point for generating the kind of society we want to live into. Read Full Article>>  

How to Interweave Micro Practices in Daily Conversations

Highlight in the already enlightening dialogue between Ken Gergen and Danielle Zandee was their little play about how conversations can degenerate, and how to prevent this - or even turn them into a generative alternative. Subsequently, Danielle asked the audience to think about ways to 'interweave' or 'interlock' the micro practices into day to day conversations, and make them sustainable. Besides the fact that Ken was struggling with the challenge to keep the practices 'fresh', one could question Danielle's question, referring to the great philosopher Richard Rorty and his theory around the contingency of language.  


In fact, he suggests (!) that we are simply unable to 'interlock' practices in the conversation, because conversation itself is an in-between-emerging process, causing the language to develop, including the interpretations and meanings. You could say then that we have a solution to Ken's struggle, because conversation itself undergoes renewal. But I'm afraid this renewal does not always move into a generative direction, so to speak. I love Rorty's book title 'Take care of freedom, and truth will take care of itself'.


Imagine micro practices taking care of their generativity themselves...!

Read Full Article>>

Storytelling Scales up Change in Business

Since 2003, Brazil has had a yearly conference where business people gather and share stories about how they succeed in creating benefits for society and their business. Ilma Barros, the energizer behind this effort, says the initiative has inspired other organisations to increase their societal awareness. The organisers have also discovered that the companies telling the stories scale up their societal efforts after presenting at the conference.


A year after one conference, Ilma inquired into the effects the gathering had on the presenting companies. "The companies told us that after the conference, they generated new and interesting partnerships, and even a whole new way of building these partnerships," she says.


"They also reported an impact on the growth of their business. And it was definitely clear that presenting at the conference propelled more positive exchange and dissemination of their good practices." Read Full Article>>

Leadership in Appreciative Inquiry: Diana Whitney

'Every organisation needs a positive revolution'.  With this strong statement - a variation on the great Thomas Jefferson quote - renowned AI consultant and author Diana Whitney opens her keynote. She explains: "In an era where we need co-creativity, Appreciative Inquiry just fits very well. Leaders nowadays worry about questions like: 'How do I engage our people? And our customers?', 'How do I build bridges?' AI helps with exactly those questions."


"A quote from one of my teachers that I always remembered is: "Learn to live and work in the energetically positive. Understand and do what gives life to the people." And that to me is exactly what AI is about: we focus on those things that enhance energy, vitality, wellbeing to a system."


Leadership is very important to the AI process. To Diana, "Leadership is a story of why things happen, (or not)... It is not about a person." She has the audience reflect on leadership in AI processes and key elements that characterized it. After a few minutes of buzzing, she collect some of the words.  "Letting go of egos, trust, being AI, ..." She embraces the words that the audience comes up with: "It is important to continually enrich our vocabulary of leadership." Read Full Article>>  

New Workshops To Be Scheduled
Dates of new workshops to be announced soon...

Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry: Creating What Will Be
This two-day introduction Appreciative Inquiry (AI) workshop 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.

Appreciative Inquiry Practitioner Training (AIPT)
In this highly experiential workshop, participants will become immersed in the practice of facilitating clients in identifying what gives life to their human systems in ways that build agile, adaptive and innovative organizations. Together, participants will experience an advanced community of practice where they can identify their personal strengths as AI facilitators, enhance their contracting skills, and expand their capacity to design and lead AI initiatives that result in accelerated, sustainable change with measurable outcomes. Participants will be encouraged to share their experiences and participate in dialogues drawn from their actual experiences while in the field.
Our Websites got Facelifts!
Check out the look and feel of our new websites

Company of Experts is pleased to announce the release of its new websites. Our websites have been redesigned with a fresh new look and have been updated with information about our latest products and services.

By updating our websites we are able to:
  • Improve navigation within and amongst each website to allow users to quickly find the content they are looking for;
  • Enhance support and provide information to answer your most common questions;
  • Update our website with relevant articles, resources, and events on a consistent basis.  
  • Provide a greater emphasis on the range of products and services we offer.
  • Expand ways in which we communicate with the World by embracing Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Skype and other social media outlets.  

Our websites have the same url address. If you have our websites bookmarked, you may need to delete them and then re-bookmark our site. We invite you to browse our websites. While they are still in the process of having information added to them, we welcome feedback on how we can improve our websites to better serve you.


*NEW* Company of Experts, Inc. -- View New Website>> 

*NEW* Center for Appreciative Inquiry -- View New Website>> 

*NEW* Department Chair Institute (DCI) -- View New Website>>  

*NEW* Leadership Development Institute (LDI) -- View New Website>>  

Appreciative Inquiry Resources
Curiosity leads to growth, inspiration, and innovation
  •  The Secret of High-Trust Leadership (Business Performance) Creating high-level trust: it can make or break your team. Do you know how to engage your team in conversations that stimulate trust in you? Here's a good story on the secrets of high-level trust leadership.
  • When Leadership Style Meets Trust (About Leaders) Why is it that some people give their trust unconditionally while others give it more cautiously? Answer: It has to do with style.
  • Creating a Great Culture (Forbes) What is your company's foundational DNA? It may impact its ability to maintain a healthy culture.
  • When Nothing Works (DailyGood) When all else has failed, sometimes it's important to do nothing. That's right--nothing. Doing so can give you the opportunity to refocus and gain a greater perspective or see the challenge in a new light.
  • 12 Most Necessary Shifts in Your Leadership Thinking (Teamster) In today's complex world, the command-&-control hierarchy limits employees' exploration & implementation of fresh ideas - it's time for a shift... 
  • The Absence of Negative Emotions is not the Same as Positive Emotions (Happiness 1st) The absence of chronic negative emotions is not the same thing as the presence of positive emotions.  
  • The Psychology of Choice: 5 Perspectives (DailyGood) Out of the myriad choices we face each day, what makes one option more preferable over another? This is one of the most fundamental questions of the social sciences, from consumer psychology to economic theory to behavioral science.
  • Balancing Skepticism and Openness (DailyGood) How do you balance skepticism & openness? Learning how to think means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think.  
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 or Heather for more information.

In This Issue
Welcome to the AI Community
Words Create Worlds©
WAIC 2012 Recap
Loving Your Job and the Peole You Work With
A Learner's View on Global Appreciative Inquiry Gathering
Increating the Generative Potential of Appreciative Inquiry
Values Talk Resonates at WAIC
How to Interweave Micro Practices in Daily Conversations
Storytelling Scales up Change in Business
Leadership in Appreciative Inquiry: Diana Whitney
New Appreciative Workshops Developed!
Our Websites got Facelifts!
Appreciative Inquiry Resources
Free Downloads
Upcoming Events
Recent Tweets
Online Videos Worth Watching
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)
Location: Corning, New York 
Dates: June 5 - 8, 2012  

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada 
Dates: July 17 - 20, 2012
Early Bird Discount Ends June 29, 2012 - space still available!  

Department Chair Institute (DCI)
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Dates: July 30 - August 1, 2012  

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: Reno, Nevada 
Dates: August 14 - 17, 2012 

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Place: Cape Town, South Africa 
Dates: August 27 - 30, 2012 

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada 
Dates: September 24 - 27, 2012 

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: Rockville, Maryland 
Dates: October 15 - 17, 2012 

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: Kingwood, Texas  
Dates: Oct. 29 - Nov. 1, 2012 

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada 
Dates: November 5 - 8, 2012 

View Company of Experts' Entire Event Calendar here >>
Recent Tweets

Destiny: What do you do to help an organization set itself up for ongoing success after an AI workshop?  


Learning professionals typically don't operate like the rest of the company: They promise a world-class learning...  


Why is it that some people give their trust unconditionally while others give it more cautiously? Answer: It has...  


Conflict is only the perception of opposing interests. With #Appreciative #Inquiry we can reframe the interest & resolve the conflict  


Genes play a role in forming character traits, but do they also hold they key to a life of success?  


"If a man has any greatness in him, it comes to light, not in one flamboyant hour, but in the ledger of his daily work."

Changing the Conversation in Your Company  
Videos Worth Watching

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.  


Appreciative Inquiry in Churches 

Description: a temporary pastor talks about using Ai as a way to transition from old 'traditional' ways to developing a new culture and selecting a new minister

Expert on Call Spotlight
Jeanie Cockell EOC picture

Jeanie Cockell is a dynamic facilitator who is known for her creativity, sense of humor, sensitivity, and ability to get diverse groups to work collaboratively together. She is a leader in Appreciative Inquiry as an organizational and community development process, a research methodology and foundation for fostering collaboration in groups. Jeanie has been certified by Company of as both an Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator and an appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT) Trainer.


Since 1999 Jeanie has worked as an educational and organizational consultant with organizations in the private, public and social-profit sectors. She has extensive experience in facilitating, presenting, training, coaching, conflict resolution, leading and collaboratively designing strategies for individuals, groups, organizations and communities to build positive futures and to respond effectively to change.


Her background includes teaching, presenting and delivering workshops in a variety of areas: appreciative inquiry; team building; leadership; diversity; mathematics; adult learning; instructional skills, planning and design; instructor and program evaluation; and facilitator training. Learn More>   


Interested in becoming an Expert on Call? Learn more here. 

Inspirational Quotes

"Your life is the sum result of all the choices you make, both consciously and unconsciously. If you can control the process of choosing, you can take control of all aspects of your life. You can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of yourself." 

~ Robert Foster Bennett 


"Life experiences set our beliefs. Our beliefs cause us to attribute value; what we value motivates ourselves. And when leaders understand what motivates, unexpected and exceptional results follow."    

~ Author Unknown 


"Redefine your self-concept by challenging everything that you've held to be true about yourself up until now. Be open to examining everything you've previously thought limited you in any way. Affirm: I place no limits and no restrictions on all that I intend to accomplish and become from here on in." 

~ Dr Wayne W. Dyer 

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.   

Follow Company of Experts

Like us on Facebook  View our profile on LinkedIn  Follow us on Twitter  View our videos on YouTube

Follow The Center for Appreciative Inquiry

Like us on Facebook  View our profile on LinkedIn  Follow us on Twitter  View our videos on YouTube

Follow The Department Chair Institute

Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter 

Join Our Mailing List