Words Create Worlds®
February 2016 Newsletter
Company of Experts Consulting Services
The Collective Work of So Many Amazing People is Awe-Inspiring... 


Last week, Jim Pulliam and I worked with an amazing team of dedicated employees who help incarcerated people to overcome societal stigmas, reduce recidivism, and thrive in the communities in which they live.

As we worked with this group, we heard inspiring stories from individuals who had reached out to community colleges and other services for their 'second chance'. The underlying themes that surfaced in the stories shared included being heard, understood and valued. Jim and I always enjoy hearing stories of successes, and these were no exception - as they further fan the passion for our work.

The need for individuals who work to serve the greater good is in greater demand. Many of the conversations Jim and I have turn to the topics of Hope and Resilience.  If Jim and I could take what we experienced last week on a larger scale - giving away the voice - allowing the opportunity for others to be heard. How would this improve our relationships and understandings with one another?

How does Appreciative Inquiry sharpen our focus on 'wholeness' and spark hope in negative, hope-striven environments? How can we, collectively, reframe the conversations in these environments to ones of love, compassion, and resilience?

Many of you are doing amazing work changing the conversations in schools, companies, industries and communities around the World. On the flight home, as I reflected on the past few days and imagined what might be the next steps, I listened to a podcast that I had previously downloaded and as it turns out it is about resilience, hope and building a better World. To listen to this podcast, please click here. It reminds me, that we are doing this great work at just the right time.

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.
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.
Just Launched: FREE Appreciative Inquiry Directory

The Center for Appreciative Inquiry's Directory was created to allow clients to find Certified Appreciative Inquiry professionals worldwide, provide expert support and peer collaboration for independent consultants, and build a growing network of individuals who want to increase their impact for making a positive difference in the World - inspiring success and connections of people, community and organizations.

Individuals certified through the Center for Appreciative Inquiry (CAI) from 2010 to present are eligible to be included in the Center for Appreciative Inquiry Directory Listing for FREE for the duration for their certification. Directory profiles are easy to create and update and will make you locatable by our worldwide audience. All Directory profiles will remain visible on our website for the duration of your certification.

Create your Free Ai Directory listing today! Our Directory Profile creation process is easy and takes only a few minutes. Once approved, you can begin enjoying all the benefits of your Free Appreciative Inquiry Directory Listing.

To learn more about our Appreciative Inquiry Directory, please click here.
5 Habits of Genuinely Appreciative Leaders
By: Elizabeth Grace Saunders, Fast Company
"Well, the Internet was down for days and just came back up last week. And my computer also caught on fire."

"Your computer caught fire?"

"Yes. It's pretty common here because the electricity isn't consistent. But I'm actually glad these things are happening now, so I can figure out how to get around this stuff before my business officially launches and I've got clients to answer to."

I had this conversation with one of my coaching clients who lives in an island country. For one thing, it made me feel grateful for the reliable public utilities I take for granted. And for another, it was an arresting example of how powerful genuine gratitude can be for business leaders and entrepreneurs.

How come? Because if my client had instead gotten upset, his business would've stalled during the crucial period in the run-up to his launch. Not only did that appreciative attitude help him hang onto his peace of mind, it also allowed him to work out creative solutions to the nontechnical components of his business. Finding opportunity in a fried computer isn't something many of us probably excel at. But that ability-and others like it-can offer some major advantages.

With that in mind, here are five habits of leaders who show meaningful gratitude, and the reasons why it counts. 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.

There's another paradigm that says that progress is really only seen in hindsight. Read Article>>
How to Shift Out of Negative Thinking to Positive Thinking
By: Debra Kasowski
Everyone has their own story of how their day went. What you see and how you think all depends on what you focus on. A positive thinker, the optimist, will share their story with excitement ensuring they don't miss out on the details. They are hopeful and anticipate that good things will happen in the future. Whereas the negative thinker, the pessimist has a tendency to see the worst aspects of things and believe that the worst will happen. They lack hope and confidence in the future. They see positive outcomes a just flukes. Do you know anyone with these qualities? Which one are you?

Knowing the Difference
The negative thinker is often exhausted, depressed, moody, irritable, and easily frustrated. Little things increase their stress level. Some negative thinkers are prone to overeating as they use food to comfort them. Positive thinkers tend to be healthier, more successful, and happy and fulfilled.

What is your reaction when an unexpected event occurs? Do you focus on the negative ignoring the positive? Do you look for the imperfections? Are you jumping to conclusions or trying to read someone's mind? Do you take things personally regardless if it's one person's opinion? Chances are you are a pessimist or negative thinker if you have said yes to these questions. Read Article>> 
How to Bring 'More Beautiful' Questions Back to School
By: Katrina Schwartz, MindShift

In the age of information, factual answers are easy to find. Want to know who signed the Declaration of Independence? Google it. Curious about the plot of Nathaniel Hawthorne's famous novel, "The Scarlet Letter"? A quick Internet search will easily jog your memory. But while computers are great at spitting out answers, they aren't very good at asking questions. But luckily, that's where humans can excel.

Curiosity is baked into the human experience. Between the ages of 2 and 5, kids ask on average 40,000 questions, said Warren Berger, author of  "A More Beautiful Question," at the Innovative Learning Conference hosted at the Nueva School. Young kids encounter something new, learn a little bit about it, get curious and then continue to add on a little more information with each new discovery. Warren says that's where curiosity happens, in the gap between learning something and being exposed to something new.

"Kids are lighting up their pleasure zones and getting dopamine hits every time they learn something that solves something they were curious about," Berger said. He contends that questioning is a highly valued skill. Companies are looking for people who can ask deep questions that will solve real problems and lead to profitable solutions. Equally important, it's up to an informed citizenry to ask questions about the world, policies and the actions of our government.

Luckily, kids are hard-wired for that kind of generative curiosity. Unfortunately, "right around age 5 or 6, questioning drops off a cliff," Berger said. Paradoxically, when kids go to school they stop asking so many questions. "Children enter school as question marks and leave schools as periods," Berger said, quoting Neil Postman.* But why? Read Article>> 
How to Cultivate Humble Leadership
By: Vicki Zakrzewski, Greater Good

A teacher recently told me that after explaining to her middle school students how their test scores impact the school, one student raised his hand and said, "It seems like we exist for the school rather than the school existing for us."

How many school leaders and teachers would agree with this statement? And how many would love to reverse the situation?

That's exactly what one principal did. And it transformed the school culture. Her secret? Humility.

Humility and leadership are words not often used in the same sentence. But nascent research is revealing that school leaders who recognize their strengths and limitations, remain open to feedback, ideas, and advice, and express appreciation for the value that others bring to the table - all cornerstones of humility - create a school culture in which teachers are more satisfied with their jobs and also believe in the school leader's ability to lead. Read Article>> 
Don't Waste Time Fixing Your Weaknesses
By: Ian Altman, Contributing Author, Forbes

No matter how much he trains, Shaquille O'Neal will never be a great jockey. He's a world-class athlete, but he'll also never be a great pole vaulter or top-ranked tennis player. But, he was a dominant basketball player. There are thousands of books that promise to teach you how to overcome your weaknesses. If you are an introvert, they can teach you how to appear more outgoing. If you are too technical, they can teach you how to appear less so. They even promise to take those with no leadership talent, and coach them to lead more effectively. The problem, however, is that the person who is a lousy leader, might become a mediocre leader. But, they are not likely to ever be as good of a leader as the person who comes to it naturally. This is why you should not waste time fixing your weaknesses.

The Problem With Fixing Weaknesses
A right-handed hitter in baseball could be taught how to hit left handed, too. But, wouldn't their time be better spent enhancing their hitting skills from their natural side? In almost every case, the answer is, "Yes." Lisa Cummings, CEO of Pinch Yourself Careers is an expert at building on your strengths. Lisa explained, "We have to stop trying to teach fish to climb trees." Read Article>> 
Change Management vs Change Leadership - What's the Difference?
By: Cheryl Cran

When I mention 'change' to  a client or to an audience I will often get that glazed over look that says, "here we go again talking about something that we have been DOING for decades!" That's because what has been talked about for decades is 'managing change' and that IS cause for a glazed look. Why?

Because managing change means that change keeps happening and people and companies continue to 'react' and 'deal' with change - change has become a word of resistance and even apathy.

There is a difference between 'change management' and 'change leadership' - the difference is vast and I cover the differences off in length in my book "The Art of Change Leadership - Driving Transformation In a Fast Paced World".

The main difference is that change management refers to a set of basic tools or structures intended to keep any change effort under control.  With change management the goal is often to minimize the distractions and pains of the change.

Change leadership, on the other hand, harnesses the energy, the power of people,  the driving forces, visions and processes that fuel large-scale and sustainable transformation. Learn More>> 
What if Schools Taught Kindness?
By: Laura Pinger & Lisa Flook, Greater Good

Walking to class one day, one of us (Laura) saw a young student crying and waiting for his mother to arrive-he had split his chin while playing. When Laura got to class, the other students were very upset and afraid for their friend, full of questions about what would happen to him. Laura decided to ask the class how they could help him.

"Caring practice!" exclaimed one of the children-and they all sat in a circle offering support and well wishes. The children immediately calmed and they continued with their lesson. This is what's possible when kids learn to be kind at school.

Various mindfulness programs have been developed for adults, but we and our colleagues at the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, wanted to develop a curriculum for kids. Every school teaches math and reading, but what about mindfulness and kindness? 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>>