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Always Appreciating What's Good...

February 2013

Company of Experts Consulting Services


February is known as the month of love. In reflecting on what we love, Company of Experts' President, Kathy Becker, was interviewed and asked what she loved the most about her job. 

"What I love the most about our work is hearing from people who have taken the time to write or call us to tell us how we have helped change their personal or professional lives. In ways that we had not even considered. Listening to their stories of how the skills they have learned from our workshops or trainings then applied these skills in their day-to-day living. How this has helped them make a difference in their communities. These are the  stories that give you goose bumps and leave you yearning for more!"   

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.

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 (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.

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.  

New Workshop: Appreciative Inquiry Coaching Training (AICT)

The Center for Appreciative Inquiry is happy to announce the release of its 5-day, highly experiential "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>
4 Pillars of Positive Leadership that Promise Results
Negativity costs $300 billion a year in lost productivity. Practice these 4 Pillars of Positive Leadership that Promise Results.

Negativity costs $300 billion dollars a year in lost productivity.  Disengaged workers lose customers, drive up healthcare costs, and contribute to absenteeism and turnover rates.  In contrast, positivity at work is associated with better relationships, higher productivity, and better customer service.  So happiness doesn't just feel good - it is good for you and the organization's bottom line.


The goal of positive leadership is to create workplaces that foster high satisfaction and high productivity.  How can you become a more positive leader?  These 4 strategies will help you transform your organization from the inside out:

Read Full Article>>
Finding Students' Hidden Strengths and Passions
Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, President of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, has some ideas about how we can inspire our students by helping them find their hidden strengths and passions.

To use the word "hidden" may not be quite accurate because often, strengths are hidden by lack of opportunity to display them. Too often, when students are in school, they are not looked at in terms of their strengths; rather, there is a focus on remediating their deficits. This is rarely a source of inspiration for anyone. What ends up happening is that kids' strengths and passions are either hidden from their educators or worse, they become hidden from themselves because they do not get encouraged. So what can educators do? Read Full Article>> 

4 Ways to Amplify Your Creativity

Creativity is key to innovation. So how do you expand your own creative capacity and that of your business? Through social engagement, argues Bruce Nussbaum.


The huge national policy storm brewing over "dwindling innovation" and an "innovation shortfall" also gives creativity an even greater agency. Creativity is the key to generating economic value and getting the U.S. economy to grow fast again.


So here are four specific ways to lead a more creative life and boost your creative capacities. Creativity is not about blue rooms and brain waves but about social engagement and mining the existential. Here's what you can do. Read Full Article>> 

The Neuroscience of Why Gratitude Makes Us Healthier

Our world is pretty messed up. With all the violence, pollution and crazy things people do, it would be easy to turn into a grouchy old man without being either elderly or male. There's certainly no shortage of justification for disappointment and cynicism.


But consider this: Negative attitudes are bad for you. And gratitude, it turns out, makes you happier and healthier. If you invest in a way of seeing the world that is mean and frustrated, you're going to get a world that is, well, more mean and frustrating. But if you can find any authentic reason to give thanks, anything that is going right with the world or your life, and put your attention there, then statistics say you're going to be better off. Read Full Article>> 

8 Principles to Successful Relationships. How Do You Relate?

Relationships in differing contexts of our lives; love them, dread them, crave them, nurture them, run from them..... whatever you think of them, you relate!

Relationships are fundamental human interactions that exist on a daily basis, the results of which impact hugely upon how we feel about our lives and ourselves. Without any exposure to relating with others in our lives, we'd be deprived of the source of the majority of our human needs.
Read Full Article>>
The Science of Storytelling: Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate Our Brains
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?

We all enjoy a good story, whether it's a novel, a movie, or simply something one of our friends is explaining to us. But why do we feel so much more engaged when we hear a narrative about events?


It's in fact quite simple. If we listen to a powerpoint presentation with boring bullet points, a certain part in the brain gets activated. Scientists call this Broca's area and Wernicke's area. Overall, it hits our language processing parts in the brain, where we decode words into meaning. And that's it, nothing else happens.


When we are being told a story, things change dramatically. Not only are the language processing parts in our brain activated, but any other area in our brain that we would use when experiencing the events of the story are too. Read Full Article>> 

Positioning with Purpose: Meaning, Engagement & Social Branding
Managing the transition from chaos to order? Leaders must guide & direct employees through involvement & empowerment


The McKinsey Quarterly� just published a compelling article entitled, "Increasing the Meaning Quotient at Work".  The article explores the power of meaningfulness in the workplace and shares several approaches to cultivate a sense of purposefulness throughout the organization.  We must admit, we have a bias in endorsing the research, as the concepts and application of psychological flow, emotional intelligence, the endowment effect, and inclusion through authentic engagement have been central tenets of our curriculum for the past four years.  For us, it's a point of independent validation of our thought leadership (of being a step ahead of such prestigious, global firms like McKinsey) and approach to professional and organizational development. Read Full Article>> 
The Social Brain
Good relationship skills have to do with managing brain states in other people. How good are you at it?

We are constantly impacting the brain states in other people. In my EI model, "Managing Relationships" means, at this level, that we're responsible for how we shape the feelings of those we interact with - for better or for worse. In this sense, relationship skills have to do with managing brain states in other people.


This raises a question. Who sends the emotions that pass between people, and who receives them? One answer, for groups of peers, is that the sender tends to be the most emotionally expressive person in the group. But in groups where there are power differences - in the classroom, at work, in organizations generally - it is the most powerful person who is the emotional sender, setting the emotional state for the rest of the group. Read Full Article>> 

Are You Ignoring or Using the Power of Your Values?

We all have values. They represent what's important to us. Are you ignoring or using the power of your values?


Autonomy. Dependability. Honesty. Freedom. Integrity. Privacy. Respect. All of the above are values - these and many more can shape what we do in life and how we do it.


We all have values. They represent what is important to us. Values are powerful because they supply our work (and everything else in our lives) with meaningThey govern our behavior and guide our choices. Values are powerful motivators. They determine the decisions you make in your life. You're either moving toward things that satisfy your values, or moving away from things that contradict your values.


Values are contextually driven.  For example, I might value autonomy in my choice of job but intimacy when it comes to forming non-work relationships. While context changes some values -  some we often call "core," may be important to us in every situation, like trust, authenticity and respect. Read Full Article>>

Why Your Vision Must Be Grounded in Reality
Don't roll your eyes. Awareness of what's going on inside and around you can help you to visualize and influence your future.

Whether you realize it or not, you're on a path. You can look back and see exactly how you got to where you stand today. The path ahead is far more nebulous, of course, but it's still a path. Your actions and decisions help to define it, as do all sorts of factors both in and out of your control.


If you think of your path as a physical entity, you can easily see that it has certain properties. And understanding those properties can lead to surprising and profound insights into how something as simple as awareness of what's going on inside and around you can help you to visualize and influence your future. Read Full Article>> 

How Our Words Shape the Experience of Others

My parents, like most trying to communicate with a distracted child, would sometimes say,  "Well... it's in one ear and out the other."  Little did they know that their message literally  "went in one ear" and stayed there, encoding information throughout my brain's neural circuitry and body.


Interesting things happen when we articulate our thoughts and the words leave our lips and enter the ears of the listener. The actual words and the way they're spoken - inflection, tonality, volume, etc. - leave a lasting impression on the brains of those with whom we speak. Our words shape the experiences of others.


Looking at the power of words to shape experience from a neuroscience perspective leads us into very interesting territory. Just as all of life is composed of matter and molecules, so are the words that travel from our lips to the ears of the listener. Each word we speak has its own molecular structure and vibratory field. (For example, the words 'trust me' vibrate at a different frequency than the words 'you should'). 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: Defining the Affirmative Topic    

Date: March 7, 2013
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
New Workshop: Appreciative Inquiry Coaching Training (AICT)
Introductory AI Workshop: Creating What Will Be
4 Pillars of Positive Leadership that Promise Results
Finding Students' Hidden Strengths and Passions
4 Ways to Amplify Your Creativity
The Neuroscience of Why Gratitude Makes Us Healthier
8 Principles to Successful Relationships
The Science of Storytelling: Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate our Brains
Positioning with Purpose: Meaning, Engagement & Social Branding
The Social Brain
Are you Ignoring or Using the Power of Your Values
Why Your Vision Must Be Grounded in Reality
How Our Words Shape the Experience of Others
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:
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 >>

Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry: Creating What Will Be 
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada 
Dates: June 3-4, 2013  

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT) 
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada 
Dates: July 9-12, 2013  

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

View Company of Experts' Entire Event Calendar
here >>
Recent Tweets

Don't ask questions just to ask questions. Make sure they are the right questions  


Slow down & enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you'll miss, but also the sense of where you are going & why. --Eddie Cantor  


Did you know there's More to Life Than Being Happy? Like finding meaning, purpose and passion  


POEM: What makes a genius?  


Mindfulness: an antidote for workplace A.D.D. -- written by Daniel Goleman, EQ researcher  


Words Create Worlds � is out! ▸ Top stories today via 
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 with Young Employees with High Staff Turnover

I'm working with a department where they have young and non-college degree (high school mainly) employees. The company is struggling about the high turnover about this level employees and they need help about this. Help! 


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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