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Always Appreciating What's Good...

November 2014

Company of Experts Consulting Services


November is the month of Thanksgiving! For our friends that reside outside of the U.S., Thanksgiving is a National holiday in the U.S. and is a time for family, friends, thankfulness, and reflection. A day set aside to be thankful and, more importantly, to let others know that you are thankful.  In this time of economic and environmental uncertainty, it may be a challenge for some to be grateful. Yet, just like Fall in the air, we are getting a slight whisper of change.     

We invite each of you to join in the high energy and well-being that gratitude brings to each of us. Thankful for love, family, friends, health, happiness, children, food, flowers - the list is as bountiful as your imagination and heart can dream. Each of us can begin by asking ourselves and our friends a question that will focus on the best of what we want in the
future, "Think back over this past year and share a story about a time that you felt most that felt most warm and meaningful. Who was there? What made it so wonderful? What made it so special?"

Have a wonderful and bountiful week. We thank each of you for sharing your stories of success - seeking the high points to learn, adapt and thrive. Your stories bring such light into our office and to our work.


As always we appreciate the good work all of you do.

Warmest Wishes,

~ Yours friends at the Company of Experts

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.

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>> 

The Concentration Effect of Strengths
How the Whole System "AI" Summit Brings Out the Best in Human Enterprise

Appreciative Inquiry, or "AI" is taking the strengths revolution to a new level, far beyond today's common talent-management focus. Introducing the next generation AI Design Summit-something that a recent CEO report singles out as "the best large group method in the world today."


Talking about "POSITIVE STRENGTHS" gets people excited. It's thrilling to think that a new wave of management innovation and positive organizational scholarship might revolutionize the way we engage the workforce, transform business strategy, and prepare our organizations for a world of open innovation with customers, suppliers, and other key stakeholders.1 It's more that just talk. Millions of managers have been introduced to principles of appreciative inquiry and the positive psychology of human strengths. Nearly two million people have taken, for example, the VIA survey of human strengths, while another several million managers have leveraged strengths-finder tools for their own and others leadership development. Read Full Article>> 

Changing the Norm to Spark Creativity

What do you do to engage others during your meetings or trainings? How do you encourage play and invite curiosity where you live or work?  


While browsing through LinkedIn, I came across a thread that posed the question, "What would happen if you gave employees a handful of crayons and paper before a meeting?"


Recently, my colleague and I were called to deliver some appreciative leadership workshops with a group of supervisors, staff and partners from an accounting firm. Normally their meetings and trainings are conducted by senior management; however, a new managing partner was appointed to the division and he wanted to change the division's culture. He wanted his employees and staff to be engaged at work and sought to increase everyone's leadership capacity regardless of their position within the company.


Traditionally, their training room is set up like a classroom with everyone facing the front. The seats located at the back of the room were prime real estate - for those that sat in the back (often reserved for executive level management) would pull out their laptops and work on other things. Stepping into the training room, my colleague and I observed the room's layout and rushed to change it. We pushed all the tables to the wall and formed the chairs into one large circle. The managing partner came to check on us prior to the start of the training and saw the new layout of the room. He told us not to be surprised if we were met with silence or resistance or both. 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>> 

Appreciative Inquiry and Organizational Storytelling
Can an Appreciative Inquiry conference in Nepal help spark peace in the conflict-ridden country?


His experiences with three large-scale Appreciative Inquiry (AI) summits have fuelled RC Lamichhane's belief that the atypical methodology can open a path to peace in his home country of Nepal.


RC recalls being wowed by the constructive spirit, collaboration and sense of possibility that manifested during an AI summit convening more than 200 people from all walks of life in 2005.


He was excited by a similar sense of possibility when his organization, Imagine Nepal, brought the World Appreciative Inquiry Conference to his country in 2009 and when he attended the same global forum in 2012 in Belgium. Read Full Article> 

Why Change is Hard -Where Action Meets Intention

You've heard all the clich�s about good intentions, right? Well, many of them are true.


Everyone experiences a gap between intentions and actions - from the smallest resolution, "I'm going to drink less coffee today," to the bigger goals like - getting a new job. Why is it so easy to act against our own wishes, especially in the area of making personal changes?


What can we do to eliminate the gap between intention and action? Understanding what stops us from aligning our beliefs and motivations to produce the changes we want is an important first step.


Resistance to change is powerful. In one study of heart patients who were told they would likely die without making lifestyle changes, only one in seven followed the medical recommendations. I'm sure that the six who didn't change truly want to live.  Read Full Article>>

Appreciative Inquiry Pioneer, David Cooperrider, Honored with Academic Center in His Name - Center for Appreciative Inquiry
The David L. Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry at Champlain College, dedicated today, becomes the only academic center in the world focused entirely on Appreciative Inquiry. AI, as it's known by practitioners across the globe, emphasizes a strengths-based approach to organizational development and management.


Co-created by Dr. David L. Cooperrider, Appreciative Inquiry is embraced by a broad spectrum of business and social sector leaders and executives. The stated purpose of the Center is to educate leaders to be the best in the world at seeing the best for the world, in order to discover and design positive institutions - organizations and communities that elevate, magnify, and bring our highest human strengths to the practice of positive organizational development and change.


Dr. Cooperrider, a global thought leader in AI and positive organizational development, will serve as honorary chair of the Center, act as strategic consultant for the Robert P. Stiller School of Business at Champlain College, and participate in executive workshops at the College's Burlington, Vermont campus and in other locations. 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
The Concentration Effect of Strengths
Changing the Norm to Spark Creativity
Power of Positivity: Use Appreciative Inquiry to Improve Engagement
Appreciative Inquiry and Organizational Storytelling
What is Change Hard - When Action Meets Intention
Appreciative Inquiry Pioneer, David Cooperrider, Honored with Academic Center in His Name - Center for Appreciative Inquiry
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:
Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry: Creating What Will Be
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada 
Dates: December 4-5, 2014   
 View Event Page>>
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    

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT) 
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada  
Dates: June 22-25, 2015   

2015 World Appreciative Inquiry Conference (WAIC) 
Where: Johannesburg, So. Africa 
Dates: July 6-10, 2015    
View Company of Experts' Entire Event Calendar
here >>
Recent Tweets

Just another avenue for us to collect & share Appreciative Inquiry resources... enjoy  

Hello AI enthusiasts! Does anyone know of a good AI book that explains the stages & is written in Italian?


How do we identify & nurture the qualities required to move beyond either/or thinking to a both/and mindset?  


The HeART of STORY; in leading organizational change |  

 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 "Discovering 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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