Words Create Worlds?
June 2015 Newsletter
Company of Experts Consulting Services
Giving a Voice to All... 


The angst of change is all around us. Today's workplace requires that we do more with less and we must quickly adapt or risk becoming obsolete. When considering a change initiative, what do you, or your organization, focus your time and energy on?
Jim Pulliam, a retired college president, said it best. Reflecting upon his leadership role, he told me that so often conversations are centered around " things, buildings, materials, and resources. But, not much was said about what was most important - the collective WE." That is what he identified as the importance of an Inquiry (or any intervention) - it is not necessarily about the outcomes, but about providing "VOICE" to all -- collectively, what do WE want more of? Together how can WE make this happen? It is about us, all of us.
" There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things." ~ Niccolo Machiavelli

Kathy Becker,
President and CEO,
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.
Appreciative Inquiry - Leading By Asking the Right Questions
From the moment Jason entered my office, I could tell something was amiss. I knew he had taken some recent losses in his account, but at a hedge fund that was not necessarily a big problem and I knew he was profitable on the year. But big problem was written all over him. His brow was furrowed, his shoulders slightly slumped. He plopped down on the sofa and let loose with a barrage of questions. "Why do I keep making the same mistakes? What is wrong with me? Every time I get a good idea, a headline comes out and I'm stopped out. Can I really be that bad?"

I was tempted to respond to his questions, but held myself back. The problem was not a lack of answers, but the questions he was asking-and his lack of awareness of his own query process. He was inquiring, but it was more of a Spanish Inquisition than an appreciative inquiry. What Jason didn't realize is that our answers are shaped by our questions. He came to me hoping for answers, but what he needed was a different frame and mode of inquiry. Read Full Article>>
The Stories We Tell Have Power
By : Jennifer Cusick
Words. Words have tremendous power. Words, Stories, Narratives = Richness, Inspiration, Hope.

To me stories make meaning of the chaos of life. They add immense richness. Kinda like the cream cheese frosting on a cinnamon roll. Without it ...ehhhh - could take it or leave it.

I read a quote this morning by film composer Gustavo Santaolalla. He says "Movies, for some of us, are a form of the modern church". You may or may not agree with that statement, but regardless-the point is that stories are powerful.

Stories give us hope. Stories inspire. The words we choose to give meaning to our narratives have astounding power. Power to build up, and they also have the power to destroy. Read Full Article>>
Importance of Storytelling
By Robyn Stratton-Berkessel, Positivity Strategist


We are all story tellers and depend on a regular narrative to help us navigate through our days.  We tell each other stories everyday: at home with our families, at work with our colleagues and clients, at play with our mates, and in romance with our lovers.  Who you hang out with informs your narrative - your story -  what TV shows you watch, what clothes you buy, the food you eat and all that you regularly do informs your world view and is your story.

Stories Get Lived Out
Significantly, the stories we tell ourselves get lived out daily.  They guide our beliefs and choices, thereby impacting our actions.  As we become more conscious of our own stories and the stories of others,  we begin to notice different perspectives and potentially reach new levels of understanding.  We begin to make sense of complex issues, and together can create new stories. Read Article>>
Better is Based In Who We've Been
Something wonderful happens when we talk about what's working well in our organizations. We find we have the resources to be even better.

I'm always delighted to hear the stories people tell about peak moments in their organizations. I've heard a lot of stories along these lines since 2003 when I started using the organizational development process called Appreciative Inquiry. The storytelling is powerful, but what really excites me is the awareness of capacity that storytelling kicks up - the aha of "Hey, we can do this!" - and the actions which result.

A community needs to improve trust among its staff. How to do that? First, we tell stories of moments when the staff trusted each other in the past, and we unpack the details: the specific activities that fostered trust, how people communicated, how they kept their promises. We may have to dig deep, but the trust is there, somewhere, in our experience. Once we locate it, we come to see we are capable of trusting each other even more. So we make commitments around practices that cultivate greater trust. And these practices leverage what has already worked for us. Read Article>>
Entrepreneuralism - Being At Our Best

As has been discussed in previous Blog Posts Entrepreneurialism and Appreciative Inquiry speaks with a similar voice. Today, we will explore the link between the Dream stage of the AI 4-D Cycle and entrepreneurialism. The Appreciative Inquiry Dream stage is focused on defining the future vision or ideal state when a particular objective is achieved. It is populated with data from the Discovery phase where there is an exploration of you, the individual or entity is at their best relative to a topic or objective. The Dream stage is also based on the aspirations of team members or employees or individuals - infusing their future state with their highest aspirations. In developing the ideal state, time is spent answering the question: "Who am I at my Best relative to ....." - appealing to our highest dreams and hopes, the future state creates an attractive space that is highly desirable. This is essential for energy will be needed to bring the ideal state to life and live within its new framework.


Entrepreneurs find themselves in similar positions regarding the future as they have an inspirational idea and believe the world is ready for it or needs it. While this might be a correct assumption, to ensure success of their venture, entrepreneurs would be wise to invest time to define their ideal outcome. What will the world as a whole experience with their product and service while also addressing what will their world look like on some level of detail. Entrepreneurs have many opportunities for success and taking the time to put themselves in a position of succeeding is key - developing a clear, detailed image of the future (dream) is such an action. By creating that image of the future the entrepreneur has an anchor with which to guide future decisions and allocate resources. Read Full Article>> 

The Collaborative Approach of Appreciative Inquiry Exercise
Hello readers, we are in the fifth (and last) activity of this phase and today is the time to prepare a team meeting activity: The Collaborative Approach of Appreciative Inquiry. Is this the first article you read of this series? Don't worry; you can check the full series here.

Here, I will repeat a few sentences to keep consistency with the other blog posts and to explain to new followers where this series started (those of you who have been reading this series from the beginning, could skip these sentences and go directly to the activity text): Keep in mind that it works for me; however, it does not mean that it will work for you. It is something that I would like you taking your time to evaluate and validate if you can use "as is" or maybe you could adapt it to your real context. As I said from the beginning, my intentions are not to create the new step-by-step "fix-all-in-one-shot" guide. I want to share what works for me and that you are able to validate or adapt it to your real situation.

Remember that in this process and subsequent activities, we are working with humans, so it is impossible for you to have the exact same situation as mine, because there are no 2 people or teams that are equal. Tweak it and adapt it at your discretion and pleasure. Read Article>>