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Always Appreciating What's Good...

November 2012

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.


Warmest Wishes,


Kathy Becker, President and CEO,

Company of Experts / Center for Appreciative Inquiry / Department Chair Institute 

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 blog, 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 Beauty of Questions
Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. Are you open to asking new questions? Of telling new stories?


I love the idea of loving questions -- seeing the potential beauty that they contain. I don't think we always give questions the time and attention they deserve, often mistaking them as being mere stepping stones to an answer. We also abuse questions in our everyday way of relating to them, presenting words under the guise of an inquiry when in fact we're only trying to make a point. I know I'm guilty of this in my own home -- asking my children if they've brushed their teeth or finished their homework or eaten all their dinner before moving on to dessert. Asking the dog if he shredded the paper towel in hopes that he'll admit his guilt. All these moments of undercover policing... But who am I really kidding? Read Full Article>>
Persevering Through Extreme Uncertainty

Trusting your own judgment, persevering, and staying focused will help you deal with times of uncertainty.


What does it take to be a corporate trailblazer? I recently found an answer to this question in an unexpected place - talking to three Afghan women in downtown Kabul.

The first woman founded a large Afghani news agency several years ago. Her home was subsequently bombed multiple times by those who would prefer that the country's reality not be presented to the world. She has also escaped acid attacks and death threats. At one point, she decided to lie low and stepped down from her first organization. But she was too passionate about her vocation to sit idly by. Nine months later, she launched another media company, which has also flourished.

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>>
Frustrated with 360 Degree Surveys? This May Be a Better Alternative
Looking for an alternative to the 360 degree feedback process? Try this...


The use of 360 degree surveys in business has been around since the 1980's, and by the late 1990's, was being used by approximately 90 percent of Fortune 1000 companies.


The prevalence of 360 degree surveys continues to this day. Its popularity can be attributed in part to two key assumptions:

  • Different perspectives and multiple people rating improves measurement accuracy compared to single source measurements.
  • An individual's self -awareness and perceived need for change will be enhanced by a systematic process of introspection and the review and comparison of ratings from others.
However, the assumption of improved measurement quality can be challenged in some circumstances. Read Full Article>>
The Myth of Management Efficiency
Only 14 percent of innovations are radical, and that those few radical innovations produce 61 percent of company profits. What can your team do to be more innovative?

The current recession has produced a flood of management "experts" and many leaders of organizations whose only strategy for dealing with the downturn in the economy is cutting costs, layoffs and more efficiency based strategies. 


The mantra for business for much of the last century has been operational efficiency. So leaders look for ways to cut costs and make the operations lean and mean. Yet much of the rationale for and evidence supporting efficiency as a key management strategy is questionable. Read Full Article>> 

Differences or Inclusion - Which Are You Focusing On?
A Diversity Focus Can Be Divisive...


When we talk about diversity, we are noticing differences. That may not seem like a profound statement at first, but think about it for a moment. In a work environment, diversity is about having different types of employees, right? And that's a good thing for productivity and innovation, isn't it? It is a good thing. But it's not enough.  


Managing diversity without inclusion as the ultimate goal can make a big difference in the way employees experience our organization. We choose a way of thinking that represents what we're trying to do and then build a process/program/structure or measurement based on that foundation. If diversity is our way of thinking, we may get an approach based on "differences," rather than one based on creating an inclusive culture where a diverse group of people can do their best work. Read Full Article>> 

Innovation is Everyone's Job
To what extent are you responsible for innovation in your company? Truth is innovation is everyone's job

To what extent are you responsible for innovation in your company? The reality is that unless they're in research or product development, most people in organizations don't think of themselves as innovators. In fact, many managers discourage their people from inventing new ways of doing things - pushing them instead to follow procedures and stay within established guidelines.

I was reminded of this distinction between "official innovators" and "everyone else" when I met with a group of high potential managers in a consumer products company. While everyone agreed that innovation should be accelerated in the firm, many felt powerless to act on it. "After all," they said, "new products need to come out of the labs." Read Full Article>>
How Successful Virtual Teams Collaborate

Collaboration across a team is challenging some days, but it can be even more so when you're doing it remotely or with people you've never met. Here's how successful virtual teams are successful:  


I have worked on many teams in which we dutifully did our jobs, and the group fulfilled its objectives. And then I have worked on other teams in which everyone energetically collaborated with one another, and the results were spectacular. Not only did we surpass our goals, we also thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from that process as individuals.


In other words, there's a world of difference between merely working together and truly collaborating with one another. Collaborative activity is the "secret sauce" that enables teams to come up with innovative new products or creative, buzz-worthy marketing campaigns. But people can also collaborate creatively around a seemingly mundane project - like the installation of a new accounting package - and use that initiative to transform the way in which an organization does business. Read Full Article>>


Forced to Change Faster
Organizations are forced to change faster. Leaders will have to operate under these constantly evolving conditions for the foreseeable future

Year after year, the list of companies that no longer exist because they were unable to evolve continues to grow. It includes such names as Blockbuster, Borders, Kodak, Polaroid, Neckerman, Schlecker etc. And companies such as B&O, Nokia, RIM, Hewlett Packard, Dell etc. are struggling with disruptive change.


Increasing competition, globalization, technological changes, financial upheaval, political uncertainty, changing workforce demographics, and other factors are forcing organizations to change faster. No wonder that driving and managing change will remain the number one priority for leaders.


Many organizations are in the process of changing their business models and services, going global, or looking for ways to be more competitive. Leaders will have to operate under these constantly evolving conditions for the foreseeable future. Read Full Article>> 

Positive Thinking Versus Positive Psychology

In the last decade, we have also seen the growth of positive psychology, a new branch of mental science which looks at the sunnier side of life (the study of human flourishing.)  Positive psychology focuses on positive aspects of well-being including (but not limited to) positive emotions, happiness, hope, optimism and other constructs that relate to the idea of positive thinking.


To the uninformed, it would be easy to assume that positive psychology and positive thinking are strongly related.  Some might even say, "Finally, science is proving what we have always thought to be true about positive thinking."  But this is not exactly the case.  While positive thinking and positive psychology may be related, they are more like third cousins than twin brothers.  And anyone who uses one or the other would be benefited by understanding the differences. Read Full Article>>

Upcoming TweetChat: Conversation as a Tool

We, The Center for Appreciative Inquiry, have been invited to be a guest tweeter on an upcoming #PrevChat - so please join us! It's free! 


#PrevChat (short for prevention and wellness) was created to connect and share resources, ideas and possibilities with other people who are equally energized about prevention and wellness.  


Chat Topic: Transforming Conversations Using Appreciative Inquiry

When:  Tuesday, November 27th, 2012 at 6pmPT / 9pmET

Where: Online via Twitter

Cost: FREE 


How do you participate in a tweet chat?

To participate in tweet chat you will need to have a Twitter account. If you've just opened your account be sure to add a photo or avatar and brief bio so we all know you're a real person.  An image and bio helps us connect and get to know each other better as we exchange ideas, thoughts, links and resources with each tweet chat session. For more information about how to participate in a #PrevChat, please click here

NEW: 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 starting December 6th

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: Building the Foundation for an Inquiry 

Date: December 6, 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 Beauty of Questions
Perservering Through Extreme Uncertainty
You Can't Be A Great Leader Without Trust
Frustrated with 360 Degree Surveys? This May Be a Better Alternative
The Myth of Management Efficiency
Differences or Inclusion? Which Are You Focusing On?
Innovation is Everyone's Job
How Successful Virtual Teams Collaborate
Forced to Change Faster
Positive Thinking Versus Positive Psychology
Upcoming TweetChat: Conversation as a Tool
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  

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: Dallas, Texas 
Dates: January 15-18, 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 >>

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

Words Create Worlds � is out! ▸ Top stories today via  


Bad decisions? You might not even know you're making them.  


You can build trust by having faith, clarity, and character values.  


Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it,...  


What is Positive Psychology?: via  


Low Price on Appreciative Inquiry in Higher Education: A Transformative Force - written by 2 of our Trainers

Champlain College gets $10 million for Appreciative Inquiry programs etc from Stiller Family Foundation.

8 Ways to Decrease Organizational Fear

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:

Collecting Data

One of the most often asked questions I get when explaining appreciative inquiry to leaders who are considering using it for the first time, is "how do we collect the data?" Taking that question further, Kathy Becker once asked, "how do we collect the data in a way that makes sense to the organization and regulators?"


For those of you who have worked with organizations, what approach do you use when wanting to introduce Appreciative Inquiry to an organization? And can you measure?

We know that the Planning or Advisory team supports the development of the appreciative inquiry initiative by linking the change agenda to the organization's culture, values, and unique needs. We also know the teams can vary in size and should be representative of external and internal stakeholders. Given their importance to the success of the change agenda, what do you like to do to help them get ready for their role on the team?

Relationships and Appreciative Inquiry
One of the most powerful things to witness is the way that appreciative inquiry draws people together and begins or strengthens relationships. What have you seen happen between participants and within organizations as a result 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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