Words Create Worlds®
October 2016 Newsletter
Company of Experts Consulting Services
How do you practice 'the flip'? 

People who are new to Appreciative Inquiry often ask, "Appreciative Inquiry focuses on the positive, so do you negate the negative? What do you do about _____?" You can fill in the blank with so many topics: dysfunctional teams, conflict management, lack of trust, poor leadership, etc. Looking back over my journey as a trainer, facilitator, coach and consultant, I remember spending so much time prepping for all of the possible issues that could arise. As time passed, I noticed amazing things happened when I opened myself up to possibilities - by learning to trust myself, the people, but more importantly, the process.
When I do encounter an unpleasant situation, e.g. teams that are meshed in long-term conflict, management names specific people that I should 'watch out for,' etc. - it can be easy for all involved, including myself, to return to deficit mindset. Each time we are faced with a new problem, it just seems as though we might get stuck here - so how do we become unstuck? How do we, as change agents, deal with problems in an appreciative way?
While the majority of my work with clients involve preparation (workshops, coaching, and training) - I believe equally as important as preparation is getting in touch with our beliefs, feelings, and way of thinking. Inquiries are not always formal, rather some of the most powerful interventions we have are those we have with ourselves. Take a moment to ask yourself, When are you most alive? What are your strengths? What inspires you about Appreciative Inquiry? What is the best part about the work your do?
The book, Appreciative Leadership, by Diana Whitney, Amanda Bloom and Kae Rader, contains several exercises and tips for handling what seems like messiness. One exercise in the book that I have found quite useful, called "Practicing the Flip," helps individuals move from habitual problems to promising affirmative topics by becoming more aware of the words they use and its impact in constructing questions that spark positive change.
How do you practice the flip?

Kathy Becker,
President and CEO,
The Center for Appreciative Inquiry
In This Issue:
Appreciative Resources:
NEW: Appreciative Inquiry is Going ONLINE
The Center for Appreciative Inquiry is excited to announce that it will begin offering online courses for new and veteran Ai professionals. Our first online course coming this fall is...

Appreciative Andragogy: Take the Distance Out of Distance Learning 
Creator & Instructor: Dr. Bruce Johnson / Duration: 12-week online course

nline (or distance) learning continues to experience exponential growth in both the private and public sectors - attracting millions of learners as organizations and institutions extend their online reach by offering an array of virtual certifications, courses, and degrees. With the increased demand for online learning, instructors have had to quickly adapt their communication methods, teaching style, and instructional materials to this new, virtual environment. The challenge for most instructors is being able to help their students feel 'connected' to their class and to the instructor.
What Appreciative Andragogy does is help instructors see their students from a broader perspective and learn more about their strengths so they can build from them. This is not to say that developmental issues should not be addressed, but it can be addressed from a positive perspective which will help to create a collaborative spirit as instructors and learners work together to improve their performance, motivation, and engagement in the class. 

Designed For: Anyone who teaches an online course, regardless of subject, will find this appreciative teaching strategy useful.  
Strengths at Work
By: Dan Collinson

Human strengths is an important topic of research and application in the field of positive psychology, and a strengths approach is growing more important in the workplace. A workplace strengths approach is having a positive impact in creating greater success for organizations, as well as increasing the wellbeing of employees and allowing them to reach peak performance and to thrive in their careers.

What is a strength?
Leading positive psychology and strengths researcher, Professor Alex Linley, defines a strength as: "A strength is a pre-existing capacity for a particular way of behaving, thinking, or feeling that is authentic and energizing to the user, and enables optimal functioning, development and performance''.

In my experience, people are often likely to assume that a strength is simply something that we're good at, however, it is more complex in that, because we may perform excellently at a task, but it may drain our energy or be boring. When we're energized or "in the zone" when performing brilliantly, it is often a sign that a strength is active and is present. Additionally, we may be unaware of our strengths as we take them for granted or think that everyone can carry out such an activity so well.
10 Toxic People You Should Avoid at All Costs
By: Travis Bradberry
Toxic people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people's buttons.

As important as it is to learn how to deal with different kinds of people, truly toxic people will never be worth your time and energy-and they take a lot of each. Toxic people create unnecessary complexity, strife, and, worst of all, stress.

"People inspire you, or they drain you-pick them wisely." - Hans F. Hansen

Recent research from Friedrich Schiller University in Germany shows just how serious toxic people are. They found that exposure to stimuli that cause strong negative emotions-the same kind of exposure you get when dealing with toxic people-caused subjects' brains to have a massive stress response. Whether it's negativity, cruelty, the victim syndrome, or just plain craziness, toxic people drive your brain into a stressed-out state that should be avoided at all costs.

Studies have long shown that stress can have a lasting, negative impact on the brain. Exposure to even a few days of stress compromises the effectiveness of neurons in the hippocampus, an important brain area responsible for reasoning and memory. Weeks of stress cause reversible damage to brain cells, and months of stress can permanently destroy them. Toxic people don't just make you miserable-they're really hard on your brain.
How Complaining Rewires Your Brain for Negativity
By: Travis Bradberry
Research shows that most people complain once a minute during a typical conversation. Complaining is tempting because it feels good, but like many other things that are enjoyable -- such as smoking or eating a pound of bacon for breakfast -- complaining isn't good for you.

Your brain loves efficiency and doesn't like to work any harder than it has to. When you repeat a behavior, such as complaining, your neurons branch out to each other to ease the flow of information. This makes it much easier to repeat that behavior in the future -- so easy, in fact, that you might not even realize you're doing it.

You can't blame your brain. Who'd want to build a temporary bridge every time you need to cross a river? It makes a lot more sense to construct a permanent bridge. So, your neurons grow closer together, and the connections between them become more permanent. Scientists like to describe this process as, "Neurons that fire together, wire together."

Repeated complaining rewires your brain to make future complaining more likely. Over time, you find it's easier to be negative than to be positive, regardless of what's happening around you. Complaining becomes your default behavior, which changes how people perceive you.
What Happened When I Didn't Complain for 30 Days
By: Mary Carlomagno

Mark Twain once said that "habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time." I have lived by these words, coaxing change in my life by giving up 12 indulgences and conveniences (chocolate, shopping and cellphones among them), one per month for a year. Then I literally wrote the book on my experiences.

As I sacrificed something I liked month to month, I unfortunately adopted complaining as a coping mechanism. It was time to stop the carping and rebalance my life, so that's how I came to accept another monthlong challenge: I would not complain for the entire month. Or at least I would give it my best effort.

By the end of day one, I was prepared to denounce Twain's approach and fling him down said steps. But deep down I knew he was right: Ritualistic practices for this exercise required the same level of effort, and the same step-by-step progress, as a concert pianist preparing for a performance. As my childhood flute teacher once said, practice does not make perfect, it makes permanent, something I proved when I kicked my four-cup-a-day coffee habit cold turkey.
How to Give Feedback with Candor, Compassion, and Courage
By: The Quiet Leadership

Call it guidance, feedback, coaching, constructive criticism-the idea is the same. There are times when a leader needs to address performance problems with employees. It's never an easy conversation to have, and for conflict-avoidant introverts, it can be excruciating. There are tons of articles that provide guidance on how to offer traditional feedback, but here are a few alternatives to consider if you want to change your communication game.

Feed it forward
Feedback traditionally focuses on things that are in the past and can't be changed. When performed ineffectively, this "look back in regret" approach often puts the recipient on the defensive instead of opening a door to improvement. While it's important to acknowledge and learn from past mistakes, the real power lies in looking forward to a positive change in behavior.

Marshall Goldsmith, executive coach and author of What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful, suggests a different strategy-feedforward.  Feedforward transforms the conversation from an ordeal to a dynamic coaching session that results in measurable, attainable goals. Here's how it works:
The Neuroscience of Empathy: Wired to Connect
By: Marco Iacoboni

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another person's shoes and understand how they feel- to be them, even for a second. It's the link between self and others, how we connect, heal, and relate.

Considering its importance in every aspect of our lives, we should probably take a deeper look at the neuroscience behind it all. Is empathy something we are born with, or is it a skill that we can practice and improve throughout our lives?

The most recent research suggests that, actually, it's both. While empathy skills can be learned with coaching and practice, recent neuroscience research has found that humans are, quite literally, wired to connect.
3 Insights From the Frontiers of Positive Psychology
By: Elise Proulx

Fifteen years after emerging as a major scientific movement, it's clear that positive psychology - the study of what brings happiness and meaning in life - is not just a fad. The field is reaching new levels of breadth and depth: Having established its core themes and principles during its first decade, it is now getting deeper and more precise in its exploration of what it takes to truly flourish in life.

The growth of positive psychology was evident last month at the International Positive Psychology Association's (IPPA) third bi-annual World Congress on Positive Psychology in downtown Los Angeles. A truly international crowd gathered for four days of workshops and symposia on everything from neuroplasticity and mindfulness to positive organizations and positive psychology in film.

"The science of positive psychology has now achieved a point where it is comparable to the other sub-disciplines of psychology," wrote IPPA president Robert Vallerand in the Congress' welcome message. "And the scientifically informed applications of positive psychology are more popular and diversified than ever."

As Vallerand suggests, the leaders of positive psychology have always prided themselves on delivering scientific findings with clear practical applications. Here are three of the most striking and practical insights I took away from the Congress.
Appreciative Inquiry Certification Trainings

For nearly two decades, The Center for Appreciative Inquiry (CAI) has been a leader in Appreciative Inquiry Trainings and Certification. Thousands of individuals, teams, organizations and communities have participated in one of The Center for Appreciative Inquiry's workshops, gaining Ai expertise as well as personal and professional fulfillment. With a CAI Certification, you can demonstrate not only knowledge and skill-set, but also a commitment to high professional standards and a strong code of ethics.

Individuals who have participated in Appreciative Inquiry (or strength-based) workshops/trainings from other Ai providers are eligible to receive Appreciative Inquiry certification from The Center for Appreciative Inquiry. Learn how you can earn your Appreciative Inquiry Certification and join our growing network of Ai Professionals.
Appreciative Inquiry Directory: Join Our Growing Network

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.

Who is listed on the Appreciative Inquiry Directory?
  1. Individuals certified through the Center for Appreciative Inquiry (CAI) from 2005 to present are eligible to be included in the Center for Appreciative Inquiry Directory Listing for FREE for the duration for their certification.
  2. Individuals who have participated in Appreciative Inquiry workshops by other Ai providers are also eligible for certification and a directory listing - please contact us directly to learn how.
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 FREE 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.
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.
$20-FOR-20 SALE
The first 20 participants to register for the November Appreciative Andragogy course will receive $20 off their registration. Please enter promo code ANDRAGOGY20 upon checkout to receive the $20-for-20 discount.
Offer will expire after 20 registrations for the November Appreciative Andragogy course have been received. Please note that the $20-for-20 sale cannot be combined with any other offer and cannot be applied toward another Appreciative Inquiry training.