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Always Appreciating What's Good...

April 2014

Company of Experts Consulting Services


If it is April, it must be Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM)! Even though I cannot read music, carry a tune, or have rhythm - this has not diminished my love for Jazz, or music in general. Frank Barrett, a professor of management at the Naval Postgraduate School in California - who is also a jazz pianist, believes change agents can learn a lot from Jazz such as the art of improvisation, continuous learning, and permission to experiment. (You can read Forbes' article, Leadership Lessons From the Geniuses of Jazz where Barrett bridges Jazz to leadership). 


Barrett's phrase, "say yes to the mess" rings true for many trainers, consultants and facilitators I know. No intervention is every the same. Connecting Appreciative Inquiry to Jazz has been a learning journey for me. It really is a case of being curious and open that began my journey into the connection between Jazz, Appreciative Inquiry and Leadership.  What I have learned is the connection goes far beyond. We can look at parenting, teachers, police officers and being human and see that the threads of Jazz are woven into life.  In fact, one of our Certified AI Facilitators wrote an outstanding article Cooking, Jazz and the Art of Improvisation 


This quote by the great Herbie Hancock brings it all together for me "The spirit of Jazz is the spirit of openness."  We are living Jazz "When we are open, truly open that we are nurturing spontaneity, creativity, experimentation, and dynamic synchronization." Frank Barrett so clearly makes the connection and presents a call for leadership in another article, this time in Fast Company titled, If Miles Davis Taught Your Office to Improvise.


You can find out more about JAM at the Smithsonian Website.


Warmest Wishes,

~ Yours friends at the Company of Experts
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
Organizational Generativity: The Appreciative Inquiry Summit and a Scholarship of Transformation
Appreciative Inquiry has touched and inspired the work of thousands who apply its development principles in a wide range of settings including industry, government, spiritual and not-for-profit organizations.

The Advances in Appreciative Inquiry series facilitates an emergent dialogue within the social sciences and supports innovative and challenging scholarly work. It is dedicated to the advancement of Appreciative Inquiry as an approach to organizational and human development, and as an interdisciplinary, non-deficit theory of positive change processes in human systems. Guided by the ethos of Appreciative Inquiry, the book series supports an ongoing, distributed inquiry into the true, the good, the better and the possible. It is dedicated to advancing a 'scholarship of the positive' and 'positive scholarship.'

This volume aims to push the frontiers and solicit new tools and insights for expanding the state-of-the-art applications of Appreciative Inquiry. It revolves around three fundamental aspects of organizational generativity, namely: generative knowledge and organizational life, collective action and the appreciative inquiry summit, and sustainable inter-generative dynamics.

This book includes our AI Summit with 4500 people titled, "The Macon Miracle: The Magic of Intergenerational Design for the Future of Education". The book Organization Generativity: The Appreciative Inquiry Summit and a Scholarship of Transformation is available through Emerald Press. You can the buy the book in its entirety or purchase individual chapters. We are honored to share the pages of the book with so much Appreciative Inquiry Star Power!!
How Fiction Can Change Reality
Reading and stories can be an escape from real life, a window into another world -- but have you ever considered how new fictional experiences might change your perspective on real, everyday life? From Pride and Prejudice to Harry Potter, learn how popular fiction can spark public dialogue and shape culture.  View Video>>  
Honoring Those Who Question

Never lose your curiosity. Article takes a moment to honor those who question & provides questions for you to reflect upon.   


I was a curious child who sometimes got into trouble with my questions (I heard "children shouldn't ask those questions" or "you'll learn about that when you grow up"). Not one to let what I was told dampen my curiosity, I began my career as a laboratory biologist, where asking questions is foundational to important insights.


At some point, my ambition got the better of me, leading me into other career choices where asking questions wasn't always embraced. I did my best to fit in, not always asking the questions that I should have. If I couldn't be curious and bring others along on that ride to discovery, I knew it was a tradeoff - more prestige for leaving questions behind - I'm embarrassed to admit that today.


More than a decade ago a wake-up call that I wasn't on the right track happened when I lost my corporate position in an acquisition and I discovered that coaching was a way to use questions to guide and help others. Not only is the use of questions foundational to the work I do as a coach, I often have the opportunity to teach leaders the art of asking great questions. Read Full Article>  

7 Habits of Highly Emotionally Intelligent People
People with high Emotional Intelligence tend to do better at work. What habits do they have that set them apart?

It has increasingly become accepted that emotional intelligence is an important factor in our success and happiness, not only at work, but in our relationships and all areas of our lives. So what sets emotionally intelligent people apart? Here are seven habits that people with high EI have:


1. They Focus on the Positive 

While not ignoring the bad news, emotionally intelligent people have made a conscious decision to not spend a lot of time and energy focusing on problems. Rather, they look at what is positive in a situation and look for solutions to a problem. These people focus on what they are able to do and that which is within their control.

2. They surround themselves with positive people 

People with a lot of emotional intelligence don't spend a lot of time listening to complainers and tend to avoid negative people. They are aware negative people are an energy drain and are not willing to let others exhaust their vitality. Because they always look for solutions and the positive in situations, negative people quickly learn to avoid positive people as misery loves company. Read Full Article>> 

Lead At Your Best
5 simple exercises can help you recognize & expand your potential as a leader.


When we think of leadership, we often focus on the what: external characteristics, practices, behavior, and actions that exemplary leaders demonstrate as they take on complex and unprecedented challenges. While this line of thinking is a great place to start, we won't reach our potential as leaders by looking only at what is visible. We need to see what's underneath to understand how remarkable leaders lead-and that begins with mind-sets.

As important as mind-sets are, we often skip ahead to actions. We adopt behavior and expect it to stick through force of will. Sadly, it won't if we haven't changed the underlying attitudes and beliefs that drove the old behavior in the first place. Making matters worse, our behavior affects other people's mind-sets, which in turn affect their behavior. A leader's failure to recognize and shift mind-sets can stall the change efforts of an entire organization. Indeed, because of the underlying power of a leader's mind-sets to guide an entire organization toward positive change, any effort to become better leaders should start with ourselves, by recognizing the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that drive us. Read Full Article>
Is Appreciative Inquiry a Useful Workplace Tool?
I think we all know the answer to this...


Appreciative Inquiry has now been around as a methodology for over 25 years, having first appeared publicly as a concept in 1987 in David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva's article on the subject.


Like its linked predecessor Action learning (developed 25 years earlier by Dr Reg Revans in the UK), the Appreciative Inquiry (or AI for short) model (evolved originally at Case Western University in the US) is based on the assumption that the questions we ask are critical and if well-crafted and positively framed will tend to focus our attention in a particular direction. Cooperrider and Srivastva also argued  that most problem-solving processes (of which there are many) tended to exacerbate the problems they were attempting to solve, and a more generally positive or appreciative approach was therefore needed.


The following table, which comes from the original Cooperrider and Srivastva paper helps to describe some of the distinctions between Appreciative Inquiry and the more traditional problem solving: Read Full Article>  

Develop Strategic Thinkers Throughout Your Organization
No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. - Albert Einstein

In study after study, strategic thinkers are found to be among the most highly effective leaders. And while there is an abundance of courses, books, articles and opinions on the process of strategic planning, the focus is typically on an isolated process that might happen once or twice per year. In contrast, a true strategic leader thinks and acts strategically every day.


So is there a way to encourage routine strategic thinking throughout the organization?


I would say yes - and that it's the most important thing you can do as a leader. In 2013, Management Research Group (MRG) completed a large scale global study addressing this question. We evaluated the leadership practices and effectiveness of 60,000 managers and executives in 140+ countries and 26 industries. Each participant was assessed with the Leadership Effectiveness Analysis (LEA), a 360-degree assessment tool measuring 22 leadership practices and more than 20 measures of effectiveness. Leadership included such practices as innovation, persuasion, communication, and results orientation, while measures of effectiveness included such characteristics as future potential, credibility, business aptitude, and people skills. Read Full Article>  

To Change Behavior, Change Your Focus

What are your currently focusing your attention on?


Recently, one of our clients, the president and CEO of a mid-size company, sent me an email after participating in a development group with his senior leadership team that was focused  on collaboration and emotional intelligence.


His message went something like this, " A situation came up at work where I had the opportunity to put into practice some of the information we discussed and realized how hard it is to change and break old habits."  He also asked a question that many clients ask -  how do I remember to remember these things that we're talking about?"   Essentially the question becomes -  how do I become more  conscious of my intentions and my behavior?


It got me thinking about how easy it is to become captive to our internal narratives and reflexive in our behavior.  The question compelled  me to go deeper into what it is I do as a  coach to support  people to break through habituated, unproductive behavior. Read Full Article>  

Inspiring Team Vitality

Rather than looking for what's wrong, what might your team look like if you focus on what's working?  


Todd Johnston was a designer before designing was cool.  For decades, he and his

We're hard-wired to be critical, continually on the lookout for "what's wrong". This might come from our human brains that were needed by our primitive ancestors to be aware of threats in their surroundings in order to survive. This critical thinking plays out in our organizations with leaders continually rehashing things that went wrong or speculating on what might go wrong.


Sound familiar? How often do you communicate what went right or what might/will go right? If you are like most leaders I know, you may admit to yourself that you don't do it enough. If I asked your team what you could do better I wouldn't be surprised if they told me you could take a more positive view.


You want your team to have vitality. An unbalanced focus on what's wrong won't provide the kind or energy you want your team to have. Can you imagine what it would be like if there were more positivity and vitality in your team? What would you see people doing and how might it impact your business?


What can you do to lead your team to be more vital and energetic?  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:
Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry: Creating What Will Be
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada  
Dates: May 5-6, 2014 

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 Coaching Training (AICT) 
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada  
Dates: November 3-7, 2014   
View Company of Experts' Entire Event Calendar
here >>
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Author shares a few words she includes in her vocabulary to employees; what words do you use?  

Daily Exercise: Think about 3 things that happened today that you are most happy about & why/how they happened. Jot it down in a journal  


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 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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