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December 2014

Company of Experts Consulting Services


We feel such a depth of gratitude for the opportunity to meet so many awesome people in this business whose energy and passion heighten us to achieve the best we can be.


This past week we had the opportunity to read and review the AI practicums of several individuals who have joined us at one of our Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Trainings somewhere throughout the World. The stories we read are touching, encouraging, and most of all speak of individuals coming together with a common purpose and outcome. Learning how people have taken the skills they have learned from our workshops or trainings and applied them in their day-to-day lives that helped them make a difference personally, at work, or in their communities are the type of stories that give you goose bumps and leave you yearning for more!


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.

Warmest Wishes,
Your Friends at the Company of Experts, Inc.

Welcome to the AI Community!

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

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

  • Angie Bradley-Brown and Sherri Sutton, "SOARing to New Heights"
  • Aaron Gray, "Working Together to Deliver Value"
  • Richard Graff, "Business Not as Usual"
  • Jane Hoelker, Delivering an Outstanding Patient Care Experience Through a Holistic Approach"
  • Margaret Barron, "Daily Commitment to Providing World Leading Care in the Sports Medicine Field"
  • Rev. Dr. Julie Roberts-Fronk, Mike Fronk, and Russell Willoughby, "We are a Caring, Giving, Progressive Congregation that Expresses Itself Through Music and Outreach"
  • Memory Nguwi, Lesley Nhauranwa, Pamela Chijokwe, Dorcas Bhebhe, David Shambare, and Linda Mupawaendo, "Cross-Cultural Communication to Enhance Team Effectiveness"
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. 
Using Appreciative Inquiry to Solve Management Problems
Appreciative inquiry (AI) is an approach to organizational management that emphasizes working from strengths to find new directions for growth rather than focusing on weaknesses or issues to be solved. If this sounds a bit off the beaten path, it is only a matter of being unfamiliar with the official name - elements of appreciative inquiry can be seen all over the business world.

The origins of appreciative inquiry go back to a 1987 paper, "Appreciative Inquiry in Organizational Life" by David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva, but it is more strongly associated with Cooperrider. Appreciative inquiry was created to provide an alternative to the problem solving approach to management. Cooperrider saw the problem solving approach as limiting and inherently biased towards the negative from the outset.


roblem solving focuses an organization on what is wrong and how to fix it. Appreciative inquiry starts by looking at what is working well and expands to what possibilities there are for doing something greater in the future. For example, appreciative inquiry was behind Walmart's (WMT) sustainability drive and the creation of the sustainability index for measuring progress toward the goal of being 100% renewable energy and zero waste throughout the lifecycle of all its products. That's a surprising goal for a business that depends on volume and tight margins, and it probably wouldn't have come out of a traditional strategy sessions.Read Full Article>> 

3 Steps to Appreciative Living
Podcast host, Robyn Stratton-Berkessel, Positivity Strategist and Jackie Kelm, The Joy Engineer of Appreciative Living engage in conversation and share stories about their passion for Appreciative Inquiry (AI), the strength-based, positive change methodology.  Jackie shares her 3 step Appreciative Living process and announces the launch of her home study course to bring greater joy into our lives whatever the situation, and move beyond our cultural negativity bias.

Listen in to find out what Jackie discovered when when she applied her own AIA process to herself. What Jackie experienced is that applying Appreciative Inquiry in organizations, as a consultant, or teaching it, does not automatically mean you live it, nor that it's integrated into your own being.  Jackie suggests there might be some things that map across, but without the personal work, it doesn't mean you are truly living the principles and values of AI. Read Full Article>>
What is Appreciative Inquiry?

Appreciative Inquiry is a model that can help organizations come together in a spirit of trust AND happiness.


So what is Appreciative Inquiry anyway? Have you ever heard the following phrase? 'People join organizations, but leave managers.'

Would you say you are the type of manager people leave or the type of leader that people stay for and want to work with? Are you trying to solve the problem with your staff or are you including them in creating a better reality? Do your employees trust you? How do you know?

Happiness and Trust
In a recent podcast with David Hain, Director of Transformation Partners, based in Cardiff, Wales, we discussed some scary statistics about the declining level of trust in organizations around the world as well as the benefits of happiness and trust in the work place. We then explored how the Appreciative Inquiry model can be used as a way to not only develop trust, but to inspire others.


Let's start with the benefits of happiness at work. According to the Happiness at Work Global Index, empirical research involving 9,000 people from around the world reveals some astonishing findings. Read Full Article>>  

Power of Positivity: Use Appreciative Inquiry to Improve Engagement

Appreciative inquiry expert, positivity strategist and TEDx speaker, Robyn Stratton-Berkessel, says that the tone of the first question we ask influences the quality of the interaction - by first asking (not telling) and then focusing on the positive, we engage others to participate with us more openly and more personally.

Let's consider this perspective in the workplace. Most managers still communicate more with their employees by telling than by asking. Here is the value of shifting to asking instead of telling:
  • It encourages action or forward movement.
  • It encourages employee ownership and accountability.
  • It invites interaction and expansive thinking.
  • It creates opportunities and possibilities previously not considered.
  • It creates a balance of power - employees and management are all involved at the same level.

Once shifting more to questions than statements, then focus on the tone and language. As identified, a positive word and tone changes the nature of the interaction. We become actively involved instead of defensive or checked out; we are engaged by the inquiry instead of put off by itRead Full Article>> 

5 Reasons to Use Appreciative Change
Appreciative Inquiry is effective. It helps people hold conversations, dialogues, and tell stories that identify what they are good at. It also makes it easy for people to express the ways in which they work best, including processes, systems, techniques and, knowledge. Appreciative Inquiry has been, and continues to be, successfully used within organizations for specific teams and for coaching individuals.

At a meeting recently a senior business leader said: "There is something wrong with my people they don't like change, they don't get it". He was frustrated and was continuously trying to sell change to his employees, with no avail. However, during our conversation we talked about 'Appreciative Inquiry' and he accepted that his assumptions almost guaranteed resistance.

He asked me what may work instead. For me, collaboration and crafting the way forward with those who will be most affected has always proven to be effective, owing to... Read Full Article> 
Does the Future of Work Lie in Workplace Communities?

We continue to use the same structures and organize work in the same way as we have for decades, but is there a more effective way to benefit from our collective intelligence? Ian Gee and Matthew Hanwell find out.


The way in which we organize work has pretty much remained unchanged for more than 100 years, despite the transformation that we are all experiencing and the fact that we are now in a knowledge-based digital age.


Work is still organized largely by hierarchy and department, much as it was in the early industrial era. Employers continue to use these structures automatically by default, without thinking or considering what other options might be available.


What if we stop and think, pause to consider how we might accomplish our objectives in another way, and think about how we might be able to tap into more of the collective intelligence available both inside and outside of our organizations?  Read Full Article>> 

Expecting to Be Happy Makes You Happier
How happy do you expect to be today? Studies show that the answer to this question influences how happy you feel.

How happy do you expect to be? The answer to that question could have a major influence on how happy you feel.


A team of scientists led by Robb Rutledge from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London, found that our in-the-moment happiness levels are influenced by activities, events, and outcomes.


But our expectations for those events contribute to our happiness before they even occur. For example, simply booking the exotic vacation you've been looking forward will leave you feeling happy long before you ever wind up on the tropical island.

We have a real shot at happiness by simply expecting to be happy, according to Rutledge. Read Full Article>>  

Appreciative Inquiry and Church Leadership

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


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

Appreciative Inquiry and the Power of Questions

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


The Craftsmanship of Designing Questions 

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

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

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

Please contact
Kathy for more information.
Free Payment Plan Program

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


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


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

In This Issue
New to the AI Community
Using Appreciative Inquiry to Solve Management Problems
3 Steps to Appreciative Living
What is Appreciative Inquiry?
Power of Positivity: Use Appreciative Inquiry to Improve Engagement
5 Reasons to Use Appreciative Change
Does the Future of Work Lie in Workplace Communities?
Expecting to Be Happy Makes You Happier
Appreciative Inquiry and Church Leadership
Appreciative Inquiry and the Power of Questions
Introductory AI Workshop: Creating What Will Be
Appreciative Inquiry Coaching Training (AICT)
Hosting Opportunities
New Payment Plan Program
Free Downloads
Upcoming Events
Videos Worth Watching
LinkedIn Conversations
Webinar Recordings Available
Visit Our Websites
Free Downloads:
Exceeding Expectations: Appreciative Inquiry Stories in Education
By: Various Authors

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

The Neuroscience of Leadership
By: David Rock & Jeffrey Schwartz

Aligning Strengths Through Appreciative Inquiry
By: Nancy Stetson

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

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

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

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

Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry: Creating What Will Be
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada 
Dates: May 21-22, 2015    
View Event Page>> 
2015 World Appreciative Inquiry Conference (WAIC) 
Where: Johannesburg, So. Africa 
Dates: July 6-10, 2015    

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT) 
Where: Cape Town, South Africa 
Dates: August 24-27, 2015    
View Company of Experts' Entire Event Calendar
here >>
Recent Tweets

Free Ebook: Exceeding Expectations --  


10 Ways to Bring to Your Day; I think I'd like to start practicing #2 from this list     


 Love this infographic about "making the leap',  

 Videos Worth Watching

Playful Inquiry   

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


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


Appreciative Inquiry in the Working Place 

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


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:
Best Book on SOAR?
I'd like a book on SOAR. What are other books apart from the "Thin Book on SOAR"?

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

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


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

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

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


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

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