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Always Appreciating What's Good...

August 2014

Company of Experts Consulting Services


Do you find it hard to be appreciative during this time? Economy, politics, war, climate change, education, poverty - there is a lot of "stuff" in the way; and it is all serious "stuff". Staying open to see the possibilities is so important to our happiness, health and general well-being. What helps me is to spend time reflecting on what gave me joy during the day, and equally fulfilling is to give others joy.  


Seeing the possibilities requires us to be open to receive those special moments when, for example, someone smiles at you or goes out of their way to help you - like the cashier at the grocery store, the receptionist at the Department of Motor Vehicles, or the secretary at your child's school.  Show them your appreciation. Take a moment to ask them, "What was the best thing that has happened today?" or "What excites you the most about your job?" You may hear something like "no one has ever asked me that question before." Be genuine in your interest, listen with your heart, and you may just find that this is one of those joyful moments.


We invite each of you to join in the high energy and well-being that gratitude, compassion, and generosity brings to each of us. As always, we thank each of you for sharing your stories of success - seeking the high points to learn, adapt, and thrive - your stories always bring such light into our office and to our work. Please keep sending us your personal stories of success via email, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.



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.

  • Marian Sanphy, PhD, "Grandparents as Second Time Parents: What Works"
  • Jennifer Wicks, "Embracing Communication and Teamwork - Leading to a Sharing, Caring Work Environment"
  • Theresa Renando, "Building a Trusting, Accepting Community that Makes a Difference in the World"
  • Peter Moore, "A Perfect Day in the Life of..."
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. 
Destiny in Appreciative Coaching: Appreciative Process as Action Planning

Destiny can be the hardest phase in Appreciative Inquiry to understand, but why? AI Coach & Trainer Luke Younge shares his thoughts


I'd like to write a little about Destiny/Delivery - the last phase in the 5 D model of Appreciative Inquiry - because it's the phase that's taken me longest to understand. And it appears I'm not alone.


What makes this phase different to the others in the process? Up till this point we have been moving through a familiar pathway - we have defined a topic to inquire into, we have conducted a discovery into best experiences and we have created a dream, which has now been refined into a provocative proposition or possibility statement. All through this we have carefully put aside our knee jerk problem-solving habits and learnt to trust that locating sources of energy and life will be more than enough to deal with the problem we may have.


The pinnacle we have reached in this high-energy process is the possibility statement - we have finally captured in words a future that both inspires us and is rooted in the best experiences of the past. We are connected to our positive core and, driven by that energy, we can imagine a future that inspires us and calls us to action. Read Full Article>>  

Why You Can Change the World, No Matter Who You Are!
"Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don't know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!" - Anne Frank


I want to honest with you. I feel like I have been a little lofty and over the top with the content of this blog so far. Don't get me wrong, I completely believe we all have vast potential, and that our purpose in this life is to become the best-version-of-ourselves. But I am afraid that the message of "unlimited potential" doesn't always resonate with people.


The idea of reaching for our potential can be a little overwhelming and even scary to think about. It can also be a little off-putting and frankly discouraging to compare our current reality to the powerful possibilities for our life. 

That is why I want to open up and let my guard down. I don't you to read these messages and feel down and out. I want you to realize we're all in the same boat, dealing with the same currents and storms.


I want to share my insecurities along with my dreams to help you see that even an "ordinary Joe" such as myself believes in greater possibilities! Read Full Article>> 

The Science of Happiness
There are always different ways of looking at things or new insights to be had - perhaps new positive psychology research findings or simply the benefit of a new perspective on an old subject.

1. The Importance of Paying Attention to Reality (or 'What you see is what you get')


"We see what we look for and we miss much of what we are not looking for even though it is there.... Our experience of the world is heavily influenced by where we place our attention" (Stavros & Torres)


Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar started by explaining some of the background and history of positive psychology, how it could be useful in today's world where more people are suffering from debilitating conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression at a younger and younger age, despite rising economic wealth and better physical health.


He made several important points. Psychology's traditional response to helping people has been to focus on what is going wrong. We ask 'why is that child failing?" and hope that with sufficient analysis and discussion of the problems we will find the right answer. Positive psychology encourages us to take a different perspective and to ask an altogether different question: "why is this child succeeding despite the same unfavorable circumstances?" Studying how and in what conditions people flourish is far more likely to enable others to flourish than studying how and in what circumstances people do not. Read Full Article>> 

Positive Psychology: How Positive Thoughts Build Your Skills, Boost Your Health, and Improve Your Work

Positive thinking sounds useful on the surface. (Most of us would prefer to be positive rather than negative.) But "positive thinking" is also a soft and fluffy term that is easy to dismiss. In the real world, it rarely carries the same weight as words like "work ethic" or "persistence." But those views may be changing.


Research is beginning to reveal that positive thinking is about much more than just being happy or displaying an upbeat attitude. Positive thoughts can actually create real value in your life and help you build skills that last much longer than a smile.

The impact of positive thinking on your work, your health, and your life is being studied by people who are much smarter than me. One of these people is Barbara Fredrickson.


Fredrickson is a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina, and she published a landmark paper that provides surprising insights about positive thinking and its impact on your skills. Her work is among the most referenced and cited in her field, and it is surprisingly useful in everyday life. Let's talk about Fredrickson's discovery and what it means for you...Read Full Article>> 

Three Questions to Discover What is Happiness to You
Last week I had the pleasure of attending an inspirational talk by Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, one of the inspirational driving forces behind positive psychology. His module on Happiness 101 was one of the most popular classes at Harvard when he was lecturing there. He started by answering the common "What is Happiness?" question, and said there are three secrets to happiness: reality, reality, and reality!

He spoke about how happiness is about learning to face the reality by focusing on the things that are working yet still acknowledging the problems that are happening. It is about looking at the whole picture of your life so you can build the best qualities in life whilst repairing the worst. This is exactly what positive psychology is about. It's about strengthening your psychological immune system so that you can use your positive emotions as fuel to move forward and recover quicker from challenges.


The obstacle that you often come to face is obsessing over finding the right answers, rather than asking the right questions. By asking the right questions you can focus your attention in the right places and see things in your life which you might have not seen before. It's the questions, not the answers, that create your reality as you gain an understanding of yourself and the world around you. It's these questions that help you gain an understanding of what is happiness to you, and hence adapt your mindset to see more of what's going right in your life as well as change the things you're not happy with. So here come the sets of questions for you to explore what is happiness to you and redefine your reality. Read Full Article>> 

Positive Intelligence

In July 2010 Burt's Bees, a personal-care products company, was undergoing enormous change as it began a global expansion into 19 new countries. In this kind of high-pressure situation, many leaders pester their deputies with frequent meetings or flood their in-boxes with urgent demands. In doing so, managers jack up everyone's anxiety level, which activates the portion of the brain that processes threats-the amygdala-and steals resources from the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for effective problem solving.


Burt's Bees's then-CEO, John Replogle, took a different tack. Each day, he'd send out an e-mail praising a team member for work related to the global rollout. He'd interrupt his own presentations on the launch to remind his managers to talk with their teams about the company's values. He asked me to facilitate a three-hour session with employees on happiness in the midst of the expansion effort. As one member of the senior team told me a year later, Replogle's emphasis on fostering positive leadership kept his managers engaged and cohesive as they successfully made the transition to a global company.


That outcome shouldn't surprise us. Research shows that when people work with a positive mind-set, performance on nearly every level-productivity, creativity, engagement-improves. Yet happiness is perhaps the most misunderstood driver of performance. For one, most people believe that success precedes happiness. "Once I get a promotion, I'll be happy," they think. Or, "Once I hit my sales target, I'll feel great." But because success is a moving target-as soon as you hit your target, you raise it again-the happiness that results from success is fleeting.

In fact, it works the other way around: People who cultivate a positive mind-set perform better in the face of challenge. I call this the "happiness advantage"-every business outcome shows improvement when the brain is positive.
Read Full Article>>
4 Steps to Inspiring Others - Vision, Connect, Communicate, Believe

When was the last time you felt truly inspired? I'll bet for most of you, it's been awhile.


Something like the feeling you had when seeing the ocean for the very first time - or a majestic mountain range - or listening to a speech from a truly great leader.


Now think; when was the last time a leader or colleague in your organization really inspired you to do something...or conversely - when was the last time you were able to inspire others? For most folks, it's hard to think of recent on-the-job examples.


Merriam-Webster defines inspire - inspiring as: to exert an animating, enlivening, or exalting influence on. In its oldest form, inspire meant to literally breathe life into something or someone. Wow.


As a leader, the higher you rise on the org chart, the more you'll need to inspire others. For example; you've just landed that senior management position (you know you want it) - and you're tasked with turning around an under-performing team or division. What next? I can say with some assurance, that most under-performing teams lack good leadership. Assuming that people need to get pointed in the right direction (together, as a team) towards a clear, common goal - something might be needed to catalyze the motion. That something is inspiration. Read Full Article>> 

Leadership and the Battle of Perceptions

Leadership happens through relationships; End the battle of misperceptions through dialogue, not monologue


Are you a leader engaged in a battle of perceptions? Some leaders treat their employees like the most unwelcome houseguest around.  Instead of making employees feel like an important part of the team, no matter how long they stay, they are forever a visitor who could be asked to leave at any time.  Yes, we all understand at-will employment, however, it's tremendously difficult as an employee when you're constantly worried about getting the boot.


In cultures where great work is overshadowed by assumptions about the complexity and time required, even stellar results can have less-than-welcoming receptions from leadership.  The gap between front-line challenges and the perspective of senior leadership widens when connection, support and engagement is replaced with pesudo-stabs at motivation, limited contact, and a lack of true understanding of the work effort.  Talk about a battle of perceptions, just like with our homeowners and houseguests, leaders begin to ask themselves questions and make up the answers.  Why did it take so long?  Why did they do it that way?  Were they lucky or do they really know what they're doing?  Why can Joe do more in half the time?  At the same time, employees are looking back at you wondering why you're not happy and more supportive. Read Full Article>>  

Change Management Requires Leadership Clarity and Alignment
Change Management Requires Leadership Clarity & Alignment (I like the identifying opportunity graphic).


Change management is in full-force across all industries, yet many leaders are unprepared to act upon and operationalize the requirements for change to avoid business disruption. For many organizations, preparedness begins at the top and this means that leadership - across all levels - must have absolute clarity in purpose and focus; there also must be alignment in strategic philosophy and resolution goals.


Unfortunately, many organizations are slow to change as the internal politics makes it difficult to reach consensus across all levels of leadership - even when the necessity for change is urgent. This is why many companies unknowingly lose momentum as they fail to change fast enough - allowing the marketplace and competitors to pass them by.  The result: valuable time is misspent, resources applied and money invested without the required outcomes to stay competitive, keep clients satisfied and employees engaged. Read Full Article>> 

Join our Growing Expert on Call Community - Free for 90 Days
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
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
Welcome to the AI Community!
Destiny in Appreciative Coaching: Appreciative Process as Action Planning
Why You Can Change the World, No Matter Who You Are!
The Science of Happiness
Positive Psychology: How Positive Thoughts Build Your Skills, Boost Your Health, and Improve Your Work
Three Questions to Discover What is Happiness to You
Positive Intelligence
4 Steps to Inspiring Others - Vision, Connect, Communicate, Believe
Leadership and the Battle of Perceptions
Change Management Requires Leadership Clarity and Alignment
Join our EOC Community - Free for 90 Days
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: Cape Town, South Africa 
Dates: August 25-28, 2014   
View Event Page >>  
Class full - registration closed

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   

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT) 
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada  
Dates: November 12-15, 2014  
View Event Page >> 

Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry: Creating What Will Be
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada  
Dates: December 4-5, 2014 
View Company of Experts' Entire Event Calendar
here >>
Recent Tweets

Words Create Worlds � is out! Stories via   

: What can you do today to make a positive impact in the lives of others? 


Trainings for ALL Levels Available! --    


School District Engages 4,300 in Creating Future Through Appreciative Inquiry    


What makes questions so powerful?  

Videos Worth Watching

Playful Inquiry - Try This Anywhere  

Description: Robyn Stratton-Berkessel demonstrates how a simple, positive question can change your world.


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 "Why" an Appreciative Question?
A few days ago I posted an HBR article 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, one person asked me if "why" is an appreciative question. I believe it can be, depending on the context in which it is used. What do you think?

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!

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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