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Always Appreciating What's Good...

December 2012

Company of Experts Consulting Services


As we reflect on all that has happened over this past year, we are so appreciative of the opportunity to work with each of you. The challenges have ignited in us the fuel to inquire, reflect and focus on outcomes drawing upon our strengths.  In this New Year, we will continue to work with organizations and individuals to "change the way we think about change" and to "facilitate a sustainable future regardless of the challenges". We won't ignore the challenges or deny the problems; however, by initially adapting to change we create dreams of opportunity.  

This year we had the pleasure of meeting many new and memorable individuals. Our experience with each of you made this year one to remember. We were also blessed with the opportunity to meet people and to participate in many fun and fulfilling projects around the World.  We have been honored by the hospitality and warmth of people from Belgium, Qatar, Spain, France, Haiti, Jamaica, Netherlands, Australia, Columbia, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, South Korea, Uganda and in the U.S.(Alabama, California, Nevada, Oregon, New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Texas, Minnesota, New Mexico, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Montana, Arizona, Florida, Virginia, Washington State, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania) and all Canadian provinces.

Begin the New Year by asking yourself a question that will focus on the best of what you want in the future.  Start by reflecting on this past year. 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?

We thank you for sharing your stories with us - we laugh, we learn, and are amazed at the engagement and excitement that we hear from you. The stories you share bring such light into our office and to our work. This coming year, we see the door of opportunity opening for so many of you - and we look forward to walking the journey with you.  

Warmest Wishes,
Your Friends at the Company of Experts
Welcome to the AI Community!!

Company of Experts is pleased to introduce its newest Certified Appreciative Inquiry Facilitators (CAIF) to its growing AI family. 

The individual(s) listed below participated in our 4-day Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT) 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.

  • Chris Charteris Wright, The Deer Industry - Future Vision
  • Peter Powis, Innovative and Sustainable Services and Support to People with Addictions
  • Shinko Tano, Creating Community After the Great East Japan Earthquake

New practicums are frequently posted to our website, so check back often to see what new stories have been posted. Click here for more practicums.  

Introductory AI Workshop: Creating What Will Be

The Center for Appreciative Inquiry is happy to announce the release of its 2-day introductory Appreciative Inquiry course "Creating What Will Be".

This two-day introduction Appreciative Inquiry (AI) workshop 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>
The Best Way to Get a New Perspective on Work
Sometimes, a leader's best move is to spend a few days in their employees' shoes. Here are two ways to gain a more holistic perspective of your company.

One of the most painful unspoken realities of leading is to admit that leaders can be clueless about the challenges their people face. That's why I have always felt that there are few opportunities better than stepping into the actual jobs of your people to see firsthand how these individuals are being supported or hindered by leadership--leadership meaning you. Read Full Article>>
15 Phrases That Build Bridges Between People

Reaching out and connecting with people can turn any job into a much better experience. It can also create relationships that inspire. What phrase do you use that lets people know you're there for them or that you get it---that builds bridges?


Business is changing. The experts sure seem to think so. Every day, some new article hypes a brave new world of egalitarian openness and collaboration. That might be true if you work for yourself. For the rest of us, it's still a winner-take-all, command-and-control world. Always has been, always will be. The experts may own the language, but not reality. When leaders feel threatened or the ink runs red, they rarely tap into their talent for solutions. More often, they cut communication and withdraw behind closed doors. Corporate culture can overcome many hurdles, but never human nature. Read Full Article>>
You Can't Be a Great Leader Without Trust. Here's How You Build It
Among all the attributes of the greatest leaders of our time, one stands above the rest: They are all highly trusted. You can have a compelling vision, rock-solid strategy, excellent communication skills, innovative insight, and a skilled team, but if people don't trust you, you will never get the results you want. Leaders who inspire trust garner better output, morale, retention, innovation, loyalty, and revenue, while mistrust fosters skepticism, frustration, low productivity, lost sales, and turnover. Trust affects a leader's impact and the company's bottom line more than any other single thing. Read Full Article>>
Beyond Either/Or
This whole either/or thing seems ingrained in our culture. Either liberal or conservative. Either leader or follower. Either right-brained and analytical or left-brained and creative. Aside from groupthink, either/or thinking is dysfunctional in another very harmful way: either/or thinking tries to fit a round, soft, creative peg (the human mind) into a hard, unyielding, yes-or-no hole of our own creation.

Here's the thing with our tendency toward either/or thinking: most of our life is not binary. Real life is very rarely ones or zeros, yes or no, thumbs up or thumbs down. Life is an essay test, and we get extra points for answering creatively!
Read Full Article>>
Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone: Why New Job Experiences Make Sense
Did you know that stepping out of your comfort zone can increase your self esteem and make you more well-rounded in your industry? What's one small step you can take today that can start a positive change for you?

When you get too comfy in a job, that's all it is - a job. You show up for work every day, do what's expected of you, don't make waves and your bills get paid. It's all good. Or is it?


It just shows that you can do what many Americans are already doing every day. But as a prospective hiring manager I'll take the liberty of stealing Janet Jackson's lyrics and ask you, "What have you done for me lately?" Or what have you done for your current organization that you can bring to mine? Can you show what your accomplishments are? If you can, you're on track. You're only as good as your last gig and the accomplishments under your belt within that gig. Read Full Article>> 

Managing Change: The Transition From Chaos to Order
Managing the transition from chaos to order? Leaders must guide & direct employees through involvement & empowerment


The process of organizational change is complex. A number of associated factors have the ability to impact the organization's overall ability to successfully evolve. Improper development, management and monitoring can result in the change process spinning out of control and creating chaos. In the center of this storm, it is the leader who must then wrestle control of events and restore order.


As individuals are making the shift from a management to leadership style, the entire workplace is being buffeted by change. The leader is no longer controlling the employee's actions, but guiding and directing them through involvement and empowerment. Properly executed, this should be a smooth transition. However, ill-conceived plans implemented by poorly prepared leaders and employees can turn the entire process into chaos. Read Full Article>> 

How We Choose to Define Ourselves
We Choose How We Define Ourselves. How do you define you? What is your core theme? What are your strengths?

Have you ever given it conscious thought?  Are you still working to answer life's long question: Who am I?  Might you know, deep down, inside, but you've never admitted it?


For many of us, choosing how to define ourselves has proven elusive for longer than we'd like.  For me, clarity, true comfort even with who I am, only really came to light in recent years.  We're not talking about being 'corny.'  I'm sure you know what I mean. "Are you comfortable in your own skin, with who you are?" Read Full Article>>  

The One-Minute Change That Will Transform Your Company

Change doesn't have to be big. We talk a lot about major pivots--but what about minor ones? Here's how one small piece of pivotal behavior can change your company for the better.


Can a single behavior elevate an entire organization? It can--if it's the right behavior. Here's how a simple 1-minute act helped an organization reinforce its purpose and outperform its competition by leaps and bounds.


I have a college-age daughter. My family and I were moving her into Boston University (BU) over Labor Day weekend. The four of us, mom, dad, college daughter and her younger sister, were standing on the street, looking befuddled at the campus map. At that moment, a friendly and official-looking gentleman approached us, asking, "Can I help you find something?" Read Full Article>>

Get Smarter: Ask This One Question
If you want your team to learn from experience, I encourage you to add this simple question to your conversations.

My team has a not-so-inside joke about me. Here's why they tease me: Whenever we get unexpected results, or friction with a client or vendor or in a new working environment, at the end of the day I ask them: "What are we learning?" 


I'm not the first person to notice that smart people still repeat mistakes ... often.  Even smart people often fail to learn from experience. If you want your organization to learn from all of its experiences, then I encourage you to adopt this simple question as a part of your regular dialogue. Read Full Article>> 

Just One Thing: See Good Intentions

Let your intentions be good - embodied in good thoughts, cheerful words, and unselfish deeds - and the world will be to you a bright and happy place in which to work and play and serve. --Grenville Kleiser 


Hustling through an airport, I stopped to buy some water. At the shop's refrigerator, a man was bent over, loading bottles into it. I reached past him and pulled out one he'd put in. He looked up, stopped working, got a bottle from another shelf, and held it out to me, saying "This one is cold." I said thanks and took the one he offered.


He didn't know me and would never see me again. His job was stocking, not customer service. He was busy and looked tired. But he took the time to register that I'd gotten a warm bottle, and he cared enough to shift gears and get me a cold one. He wished me well.


I can see his friendly eyes as I write now, a week later. It was just a bottle of water. But I feel warmed by his kindness and buoyed by his good intentions.


Recognizing the positive intentions in others, we feel safer, more supported, and happier. And when others feel that you get their good intentions, they feel seen, appreciated, and more inclined to treat you well. Read Full Article>>

Join Our Free Monthly Appreciative Inquiry Chats #AIChat
The Center for Appreciative Inquiry is happy to announce that we will be hosting a free monthly tweet chat the first Thursday of every month!

Do you have questions about Appreciative Inquiry and its applications? The Center for Appreciative Inquiry invites you to participate in their monthly tweet chats where Appreciative Inquiry Practitioners will be online and available to answer your questions, suggest readings, and provide additional resources to help you as you continue your AI journey. 

Upcoming #AIChat Information:

Topic:Working With Planning/Core Teams  

Date: January 3, 2012
Time: 4:00pm PT / 7:00pm ET

Where: Online via Twitter
Cost: Free; no registration required

Do you have a question that relates to the topic listed above that you would like answered? To submit a question for our upcoming #AIChat, please click here. Be sure to add your Twitter name e.g. @yourtwittername so we can credit you with the question during the #AIChat.
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.

New Workshop To Be Scheduled
Dates of new workshop to be announced soon...

Appreciative Inquiry Practitioner Training (AIPT)
In this highly experiential workshop, participants will become immersed in the practice of facilitating clients in identifying what gives life to their human systems in ways that build agile, adaptive and innovative organizations. Together, participants will experience an advanced community of practice where they can identify their personal strengths as AI facilitators, enhance their contracting skills, and expand their capacity to design and lead AI initiatives that result in accelerated, sustainable change with measurable outcomes. Participants will be encouraged to share their experiences and participate in dialogues drawn from their actual experiences while in the field.
In This Issue
Welcome to the AI Community
Introductory AI Workshop: Creating What Will Be
The Best Way to Get a New Perspective on Work
15 Phrases That Build Bridges Between People
You Can't Be A Great Leader Without Trust
Beyond Either/Or
Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone: Why New Job Experiences Make Sense
Managing Change: The Transition From Chaos to Order
How We Choose to Define Ourselves
The One-Minute Change that Will Transform Your Company
Get Smarter: Ask This One Question
Just One Thing: See Good Intentions
New: Free Monthly Appreciative Inquiry Chats #AIChat
Free Downloads
Upcoming Events
Online Videos Worth Watching
LinkedIn Conversations
Webinar Recordings Available
Visit Our Websites
Free Downloads:
Leadership Excellence (March 2012) - Highlighting 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:
Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada 
Dates: January 8-11, 2013  

Department Chair Institute (DCI)
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada 
Dates: February 13 - 15, 2013  

Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry: Creating What Will Be
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada 
Dates: February 25-26, 2013  

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada 
Dates: March 5 - 8, 2013  

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: Edmonton, Canada 
Dates: April 29 - May 2, 2013  
 View Event Page >>  

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT) 
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada 
Dates: May 20 - 23, 2013  
 View Event Page >>  

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: Cape Town, South Africa 
Dates: May 27 - 30, 2013  
View Event Page >>

Department Chair Institute (DCI) 
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada 
Dates: July 29 - 31, 2013  

View Company of Experts' Entire Event Calendar
here >>
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What Being an "Authentic " Really Means - Harvard Review  


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Videos Worth Watching

Whole Systems Healing - Interview with Diana Whitney  

Description: An interview with Diana Whitney about Whole Systems Healing and Appreciative Inquiry.


Appreciative Inquiry in the Working Place 

Description: Prof. John Hayes discusses Appreciative Inquiry and its use in the workplace.  


The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Description: An interesting look at what motivates us as told through a short animated drawing.

LinkedIn Conversations:

Using AI to Make the Most of the Holidays 

It's easy to become distracted with all the "busyness" of the holidays. One of the things that excites me most about appreciative inquiry is its ability to help bring people together. How will you use AI in your own lives this holiday season to bring your loved ones together?


When top management does not uphold the organization's values, getting them to commit to a change agenda can be challenging, especially if staff believe they don't "walk the talk." What ways have you found to overcome this?

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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