Words Create Worlds®
December 2015 Newsletter
Company of Experts Consulting Services
End of the year reflection... 


As we reflect on all that has happened over this past year, we are so appreciative of the opportunity to work with each of you. The challenges have ignited in us the fuel to inquire, reflect and focus on outcomes drawing upon our strengths.  In this New Year, we will continue to work with organizations and individuals to "change the way we think about change" and to "facilitate a sustainable future regardless of the challenges". We won't ignore the challenges or deny the problems; however, by initially adapting to change we create dreams of opportunity.  
This year we had the pleasure of meeting many new and memorable individuals. Our experience with each of you made this year one to remember. We were also blessed with the opportunity to meet people and to participate in many fun and fulfilling projects around the World.  We have been honored by the hospitality and warmth of people from Australia, Cayman Islands, Jakarta, Kathmandu, Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nairobi, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States (Alabama, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington D.C.) and all Canadian provinces. 
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 and CEO,
The Center for Appreciative Inquiry
In This Issue:
Appreciative Resources:
Welcome to the Appreciative Inquiry Community...
Company of Experts / Center for Appreciative Inquiry 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.
  • Jennifer Keach and Jenne Klotz, "Librarians Enrich Communities"
New practicums are frequently posted to our website, so please check back often to see what new stories have been posted. Click here for more practicums.
Proof That Positive Cultures Are More Productive
By Emma Seppälä and Kim Cameron, Harvard Business Review

Too many companies bet on having a cut-throat, high-pressure, take-no-prisoners culture to drive their financial success.

But a large and growing body of research on positive organizational psychology demonstrates that not only is a cut-throat environment harmful to productivity over time, but that a positive environment will lead to dramatic benefits for employers, employees, and the bottom line.

Although there's an assumption that stress and pressure push employees to perform more, better, and faster, what cutthroat organizations fail to recognize is the hidden costs incurred.

First, health care expenditures at high-pressure companies are nearly 50% greater than at other organizations. The American Psychological Association estimates that more than $500 billion is siphoned off from the U.S. economy because of workplace stress, and 550 million workdays are lost each year due to stress on the job. Sixty percent to 80% of workplace accidents are attributed to stress, and it's estimated that more than 80% of doctor visits are due to stress. Workplace stress has been linked to health problems ranging from metabolic syndrome to cardiovascular disease and mortality. Read Article>> 
Why Attitude is More Important than Intelligence
By Travis Bradberry, Entrepreneur

When it comes to success, it's easy to think that people blessed with brains are inevitably going to leave the rest of us in the dust. But new research from Stanford University will change your mind (and your attitude).

Psychologist Carol Dweck has spent her entire career studying attitude and performance, and her latest study shows that your attitude is a better predictor of your success than your IQ. Dweck found that people's core attitudes fall into one of two categories: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

With a fixed mindset, you believe you are who you are and you cannot change. This creates problems when you're challenged because anything that appears to be more than you can handle is bound to make you feel hopeless and overwhelmed.

People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort. They outperform those with a fixed mindset, even when they have a lower IQ, because they embrace challenges, treating them as opportunities to learn something new. Read Article>> 
Language as Action: Managing Progress & Accountability
By: Luke Younge, Certified Ai Trainer & Coach, The Center for Appreciative Inquiry
In a previous post I wrote about the concept of Destiny in Appreciative Coaching. For many, the 'radical' approach outlined in that article made sense and breathed new life into their coaching practice; however, many people are curious - how do we evaluate or monitor our client's progress as they live out their Destiny? The International Coaching Federation (ICF) requires its members to adhere to eleven core competencies. The purpose of these competencies is to help coaches support and maximize their client's personal and professional potential. One core competency involves managing a client's process and accountability. This article intends to suggest some methods to: measure, track and evaluate the progress of one's coaching, assess progress and accountability, and reinventing what these terms can mean for us as appreciative coaches.

Progress and Movement
There is a paradigm of progress that says that to progress we must close the gap between where we are and where we want to be. We start here and move to there. In this paradigm milestones, markers, progress indicators all make sense and are very helpful in making good progress. Let's call this the traditional paradigm of progress. Read Article>>
How Heartfelt Conversation is Co-Created with Appreciative Inquiry
By: Robyn Stratton-Berkessel, Positivity Strategist
I continue to be struck with wonder at the transformative power of Appreciative Inquiry. It doesn't matter how often I'm present to the experience of  Appreciative Inquiry, the magic, the power, the spirit to move people toward each other to give of their best selves and share their aspirations never fails to deliver.  The collective energy among a group of people who don't know each other at the start, irrespective of how many are in the room, who they are, what the topic is delivers expressions of hope, possibility and positive potential.

Affirmative topic of Generations Wiser Together
I've just come off designing an AI workshop and facilitated the same workshop with two very different groups.  The goal of the groups was the same.  We were inquiring into the affirmative topic of Generations Wiser Together.  My client, WiseTribe.us worked tirelessly to bring groups together in two different towns.  We aimed to attract as much diversity as possible. Read Article>> 
Engaging Your Employees is Good, But Don't Stop There
By Eric Garton and Michael C. Mankins

Genius, as Thomas A. Edison famously declared, may be 1%  inspiration and 99% perspiration. But building a company employees truly love reverses the equation: it's almost all inspiration, and sweat has only a little to do with it. This is the unexpected conclusion of new research from Bain & Company, conducted in conjunction with the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Here's the background. Many commentators talk glibly about employee "engagement," as if that concept were all-encompassing and easy to define. But we have always found it helpful to break the idea into its component parts.

The foundational elements-call them employee satisfaction-are fundamentals such as having a safe work environment and the tools necessary to do the job. Abraham Maslow taught us that we can't concern ourselves with higher goals until we have the necessities of life, including security. So it is in the workplace: first things first. Read Article>>
How to Find a Job that Aligns with Your Values
By: Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Fast Company

Most of us want to feel the work we do is in some way meaningful, but many of us probably don't. With employee engagement figures in the toilet and the majority of workers open to considering a new job, it appears there's a high demand for better and more purposeful work. So where do we find it?

The Value Of Value-Driven Employment
For all talk of finding your passion, the truth is that the most exceptional job opportunities are open only to a few, exceptional applicants.

What's more, even those in coveted, super-competitive roles are often miserable at work, not least because the value of seemingly universal career incentives, like high pay or a high-status title, wears off pretty quickly.

In other words, the grass is always greener on the other side, and even high achievers are always asking for more. While some people find they're happier switching high-power business careers for lower-paying, more altruistic ones, the fact is that finding a job that feels meaningful varies from person to person, depending on what each of us values most. Read Article>> 
Why We Should Cultivate Gratitude In Our Leaders - Particularly in Difficult Times
By: Sarah Lewis, Appreciating Change

One might have thought that the expression of gratitude was for the benefit of the recipient, to feel acknowledged and affirmed in their generous act: possibly so. However the experience of gratitude also brings great benefit to the donor, and some of those benefits can be seen to act as an inoculation against the dangerous seductions of privilege, power and position.

Gratitude is an acknowledgement that we have received something of benefit from others. The grateful person reacts to the goodness of others in a benevolent and receptive fashion. Classically it was considered to be the greatest of the virtues. However, like all virtues, it needs to be cultivated. Resentment at the good fortune of others and a sense of personal entitlement seem to come more easily to us. So why bother to cultivate a sense of gratitude? What are the benefits? And why might it be especially beneficial to leaders to experience gratitude? Read Article>> 
Proof of What Works is Essential to Improving Later Life
By: Catherine Foot, The Guardian

What do you think is most needed to improve the quality of later life in this country?

You might say money - to reverse the chronic under-resourcing of publicly funded social care, for instance, or to invest much more widely in the housing adaptations that we know can help older people to remain independent.

You might say leadership - a form that brings together planning, housing, care and health, and the private, statutory and voluntary sectors, to work meaningfully together, sharing goals and delivering services that meet people's needs and priorities in later life.

You might say we need to focus on attitudes and empowerment - to build a society that fully values and includes older people, families and carers and creates services for them that are designed with them.

Or you might say that we need to help more people in mid-life get skills and information to think about and prepare for their financial, social, housing and care needs in the future. Learn More>> 
Appreciating Mindfully
By: Ezelle Theunissen, Certified Ai Trainer & Coach, The Center for Appreciative Inquiry

In the previous blog entry, I pondered how Appreciative Inquiry (AI), as a philosophy, transcends the duality of "positive" and "negative". On a slightly different note; however, I have been thinking how one might stay true to the principles of AI when the "going gets tough".

Say, for example, one experiences a number of challenges in one's life. For argument's sake, say a loved one dies, a relationship ends, one is in an accident, one is physically hurt, one's computer crashes days before a deadline is due, one's apartment floods, etc. Say all of these things happen pretty much at the same time (as it did for me). Can one stay honest AND inquire appreciatively into the situation? Is AI simply a nice perspective for sunshine days or is it a real life philosophy applicable in any given situation?

My experience has taught me that AI is a powerful way to bring me into the present moment. In a way, it is a practice in mindfulness. The temptation to be lured in to the "same ol', same ol'" story about the past, may seem overwhelming at times. We may acknowledge that the story itself serves a purpose and then gently allow it the space to be, or go - but it need no longer be given centre stage and held up as the one and only truth to be told. There is a fine, yet fundamental, discerning distinction between identifying with a construct or story as Truth, versus seeing it as a truth among many. The first implies becoming the story; the latter involves witnessing the story as a construction of the storyteller. There is no denial of the story. But there is also no need to keep telling it and revolve the rest of one's life around it. Learn More>> 
Talk to The Whole Person
By: Jae Ellard, Mindful

When talking with people at work-particularly those you're leading-don't focus too narrowly. Try to be more aware of what surrounds the topic at hand.

There's a lot of talk about making workplaces more mindful, but what does that really mean? Mindfulness is more than meditation. It's just as much about how we communicate with those around us as it is about finding stillness within ourselves.

In the workplace, so much of what we accomplish, particularly as leaders, comes in the form of conversations. And when those conversations can be more mindful, we can develop a kinder, more compassionate culture, while still maintaining high standards of excellence. We can all think of a conversation or two (or five or 10) that we wouldn't describe as mindful. But what really makes a conversation mindful? Learn More>> 
We Are Looking for Appreciative Inquiry Trainers

The Center for Appreciative Inquiry is seeking experienced trainers, coaches, consultants and facilitators to become certified to teach its Appreciative Inquiry Trainings and Workshops. Trainers will be certified to deliver our various workshops (to business, community, non-profit, education, etc.) to support the growth and interest in Appreciative Inquiry focusing on dialogue, collaboration and how the human systems thrive.

We are looking for high energy people with a commitment to helping others develop and grow as internal facilitators and to be part of creating a better World Community.  If you are grounded in humans systems flourishing demonstrated by your views of social change and by participating in the AI Community, you may be a good match for this program. Learn More>>