Words Create Worlds®
March 2016 Newsletter
Company of Experts Consulting Services
Core Teams: A Slice Of The Whole... 


What first attracted me to Appreciative Inquiry (Ai) in 2001 was the concept of inviting and bringing all of the voices into the conversation. It was a significant shift in our daily practices and operations, especially for an educational institution, yet I knew Ai would work - and it did.

As I continued on my Ai journey, more opportunities would arise that would allow me to facilitate and practice Ai. Over the years, I have learned that the complexity of bringing all voices (stakeholders) into the room begins with the planning. The best Ai facilitation or consulting projects that I have been involved with directly resulted from incorporating a core team in the process - from beginning to end.

Core Teams are magical and reflect a 'slice of the whole'. Picture, for example, a chocolate cake consisting of several layers. Each layer comprise of various stakeholders (executive, management, sales, customers, vendors, partners, community leaders, etc.). When cutting a slice from this beautiful cake, all layers (stakeholders) are represented, no matter how big or small the slice. In other words, this slice represents a cross section of the organization, team or group drawn from different programs, groups, teams, work shifts, nationalities, languages, gender, and job roles.

It's important to remember that no two Core Teams are identical. Instead, we should celebrate the diversity of the group and the richness it can bring to the inquiry process. I have found that each Core Team has a different approach and is as unique and complex as the organization. The creativity and energy that is unleashed when a Core Team is given the opportunity to fly inspires greatness in everyone.

One Core Team, whom I have been working with for several consecutive years, was so moved by the Ai process that they named their Core Team to show their spirit and passion for this process with themselves and others. This group named themselves the Core Team Bridge (CTB) - bridging all voices into one - and are celebrating 3 years of their Ai journey together. The poem, found below, was penned by a new CTB member who joined the group February 2016.

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.
  • Tammy Andruski, "Creating Positive Environments Through Mutual Trust for Success"
  • Theresa Mullin, "Designing and Delivering an Integrated, Structured, & Inclusive Student Experience Across All Campuses"
  • Jenn Cusick, "Putting Our Creative Skill Sets Towards Creating Positive Change Locally to Impact a Greater Global Good"
  • Andrea Lightbourne-Webster, "Inspiring Our Church to Activate a Vision and Mission to Positively Impact a Nation"
  • Denise Hunt, "Living and Working at My Best"
  • Gerard le Sueur, "Living and Loving Into My Infinite Vastness"
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.
CTBpoemCore Team Bridge (CTB) Poem
By: Swagat Raj Pandey, CTB member
Slice of a whole,
A bunch of spirited soul;
A joyful staff retreat,
Our primary goal;
We foster tension,
Provide undivided attention;
Together we work,
Don't forget the fun to mention;
We bring our thoughts,
We bring our energy;
Different ways to work;
Builds a strong synergy;
We love sharing stories,
Creating new memories;
On to the year three,
CTB is here to be
Two Items That Aren't On Your Meeting Agenda, But Should Be
By: Laura Vanderkam, Fast Company
In this era of frequent testing, schools get a dizzying quantity of data about their students. Figuring out what to do with it, though, is more complicated than collecting it.

The Data Wise Project at Harvard University began with the goal of helping schools make better use of test results. Then, over the years, the researchers noticed something. Some schools were able to make a lot of progress, and some weren't. Those that were making progress tended to structure their meetings in a certain way. So, says Kathy Boudett of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the team wanted to know, "What's happening in those meetings that's making such a huge difference in who can improve student learning and who can't?"

They reviewed notes from hundreds of meetings over five years and, for a book Boudett cowrote called Meeting Wise, created a checklist on how to conduct an effective one. Some aspects of effective meetings are well-known (e.g., appoint a timekeeper). But here are two others the researchers found that might not be on your agenda. 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>>
Eye-Opening Conversations
By: Nick Heap
Words create worlds. We can have better lives and make a better world by having different conversations. Too many habitual conversations involve grumbling, blaming, cynicism or despair. These just make us feel bad and powerless. It does not have to be this way.

Here are some simple examples of conversations that open your eyes and lift your spirits. These are easy and enjoyable.

Conversations to lift your spirits.
Do this at the beginning a meeting. Ask people, in turn, to say "Something nice that's happened lately".

You get what you enquire into, so a positive story makes you feel positive.

Conversations that make you happy.
In pairs, or a small group "Tell a story about a time when you were happy and another when you made someone else happy?" Then talk about how you felt sharing and hearing those stories.

This simple exercise makes you happy and you learn how lovely it is to make others happy. Read Article>> 
Seven Helpful Things to Know About Achieving Change in Organizations
By: Sarah Lewis, Appreciating Change

The plan is not the change. All too often those involved in creating the plan for change believe this to be the most essential part of the process while implementation is seen as 'just' a matter of communicating and rolling out the plan. Plans are a story of hope. Change happens when people change their habitual patterns of communication and intervention in a meaningful and sustainable way.

 The map is not the territory. Any map of an organization is going to contain inaccuracies. Therefore any plan based on that imperfect map is going to be subject to corrective feedback where the assumptions of the map proved faulty. Unexpected reactions or effects of implementing the plan therefore should be embraced as giving useful information about how things are, rather than interpreted as a mistake in the planning.

 A natural response to a burning platform is blind panic.

People do not make great team decisions when they are panicking. They don't even make good personal decisions. Creating fear and anxiety as drivers for change can have unhelpful consequences in producing self-orientated, unthinking survival behaviour. Better to create positive emotions in change that encourage creative, complex and group orientated thinking.

The path to the future is created not uncovered. Read Article>> 
9 Methods for Embracing Uncertainty
By: Ariane De Bonvoisin, Fast Company

Change is the word of the year and of the decade-and never before has it been more certain than for the entrepreneur. It is not uncommon for everything in your business to be modified: the logo, the website, the revenue model, the brand, the team.... Getting good at change is the most important skill to develop, yet, we've never really been taught how to manage it. So, are there ways to make it any easier?

I became fascinated with this question about 10 years ago after working with several startups from a vice-chair and advisory-board perspective, and realized that everybody one meets is either facing or thinking about change. I have interviewed more than a thousand people and heard very common phrases from entrepreneurs: "Change is hard," "I hate change," "I'm not good at change," "I feel alone, I don't know what to do now." Typical excuses included: being too old or too young; not having the skills or the time; not having the money; not knowing where to start.

And yet, we all know those who seem to do just fine when change comes along. So how are these people able to navigate change successfully while others simply get stuck? Read Article>> 
Without Empathy Organizational Success is at Risk
By: David Penglase, Author, Switch & Shift

Empathy for others is a key element in forming and maintaining professional and personal relationships. Without empathy, it's difficult to understand the viewpoints and feelings of others. Without empathy, we can become detached from what really matters to others.

Focusing on others is a far cry from the mindset of what some researchers have labeled the 'me generation.' There is some methodological criticism and questioning  of whether we are becoming more narcissistic and 'me-focused'. But what isn't in dispute is the positive impact to our capacity to flourish in our personal and professional lives when we follow 'good' intentions with intentional action that creates positive value for others.

Is Empathy At Risk?
But what if we are losing the capacity for empathy? What if salespeople had no empathy for their clients? What if leaders had little or no empathy for their team members? What if team members had little or no empathy for their co-workers? If empathy is at risk, relationships are at risk, and this means the fundamental fabric of society... intentional trust relationships are at risk. 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>> 
Unlocking the Key to Redesigning Companies - Decision Making 5.0
By: Dawna Jones, Huffington Post

Departing from 'Business as Usual' starts with respecting fundamental human values. Redesigning companies in motion also requires highly amplified awareness and clarity. Startup entrepreneurs are at an advantage, working with a clear slate. Yet even startup decision makers are limited by their sense-making capabilities. Vigilance and perpetual growth is imperative.

In the near term, it is likely large corporations will die a slow, ponderous death. Apart from the few enlightened large companies, risk aversion will sabotage growth.

The Company is a Scaled Version of the Human Body
In 2006, biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton described with precise detail why corporate performance is similar in scale to the human body. Through the lens of biology and fractals, he connected biology and psychology to the human spirit. How the social and emotional environment shaped behaviour clarified why some companies grew and others failed. How cells, with unlimited potential, decide to differentiate and specialize to take on specific tasks in order to make the whole organism successful. The knowledge he shared informs your ability to direct your leadership expression.

Had more companies had been listening then, fewer would be sliding the same slippery downhill slope today. Innovation is a must in today's world but companies cannot attain it with feet planted squarely in protecting pas t successes. Staying sustainable requires growth-oriented thinking and capacity to manage your responses as the context changes. 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>>