Category Archives: Events

Macon Miracle Update

The excitement from the crowd at the Macon Centreplex was palpable as more than 4,200 community members, parents, teachers, Board members, local businesses, and dignitaries from Macon, Georgia convened on October 10, 2011, to complete part two of a two-day appreciative inquiry strategic  planning summit designed to reinvent Bibb County school district and ensure
that every student flourishes.

Superintendent Dr. Romain Dallemand envisions becoming the best school district in the nation. Deemed the “Macon Miracle,” Dr. Dallemand contracted with several facilitators from the Center for Appreciative Inquiry to reinvent the school system by hosting a two-day appreciative inquiry summit.

During the first day, held on September 19, 2011, more than 4,000 participants met to collaboratively discover the best of “what is” in order to create a shared image of their preferred future. They interviewed each other and shared stories about peak experiences, strengths, and opportunities to discover their positive core.  By developing bold possibility statements, and then sharing them with each other, the participants began to envision a future state where every child succeeds.

On day two of the summit, held October 10, 2011, participants reconvened to identify methods to bring their future dreams to life. They developed strategic proposals to bridge the best of “what is” with their ideas of “what can be.” Each of the strategic proposals included key concepts necessary for successful implementation. As participants shared their proposals with each other, the excitement and energy in the arena grew exponentially. In the final activity, participants began designing the action items and ideas that would be necessary to bring their dreams into fruition.  Together, along with input from the students, Dr. Dallemand and his leadership team will finalize their five-year strategic plan early next year.

Kimberley Seitz, PhD
An Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator on behalf of Company of Experts, Inc.
If you wish to contact Kimberley Seitz, PhD, please click here.

Smart Grant Writing: Workshop Outline

Lesson 1: Getting Ready for Grant Writing

  • A step-by-step method to turn your idea into a fundable grant project.
  • The 12 questions to ask before you start any grant writing project so you can be ready to tell the funding source exactly what they want to know.
  • 7 ways to improve your grant’s chance of success before you turn on your computer to type.
  • How to position yourself for grant funding even if your organization is brand new, has no track record, or a small operating budget.

Lesson 2: Finding the Right Funding Source

  • You will learn the top sources of grant funding in the United States.
  • How to use two websites that put a wealth of grant opportunities at your fingertips – no more endless searching.
  • How to pick the funding agencies that are most likely to say “yes” to your project.
  • What to write in a letter of inquiry to pique a foundation’s interest.

Lesson 3: Understanding the Grant Application

  • How to understand the language of grant application guidelines, a.k.a. request for proposal (RFP), request for application (RFA), or funding opportunity announcement (FOA).
  • How to use the grant application as a reference which allows you to find the information you need to know without going crazy trying to read 50 to 100 pages of grant lingo all at once.
  • The 12 key items to look for in any grant application and how to find them.
  • The differences between government and foundation grant applications and why this matters.

Lesson 4: Planning the Grant Writing Process

  • How to create a timeline for writing with multiple mini-deadlines.
  • How to establish sources of information for your proposal so you can avoid writer’s block.
  • How to identify and work with key people or project partners during the grant writing process.
  • The importance of identifying all of the supporting documents that will be required – forms, letters, signature pages, or other attachments early, and how to get the ball rolling on getting them completed.

Lesson 5: Constructing a Case for Funding that Flows

  • 10 features of a funded grant proposal, and how they fit together.
  • How to outline your writing, section by section, into one logical case for funding.
  • How to determine the optimal length for each section of your proposal…..so you will waste no words and maximize your score.
  • Simple ways to organize your grant proposal at the outset for easy reading and scoring.

Lesson 6: Writing a Compelling Problem (or Needs) Statement

  • 7 helpful tips for convincing a funding agency to contribute to a worthy cause in your community (not someone else’s).
  • Time-saving sources of statistics to document the need for your project.
  • Eye-catching ways to display information to strengthen your case for funding.
  • How to breathe life into your problem statement so as to trigger compassion and urgency in the grant reader.

Lesson 7: Stating Clear Goals and Objectives

  • How to write goals that create the dynamic feeling of a win-win with the funding agency.
  • Words you should and should not use when stating your objectives.
  • To follow our proven, 4-step formula for wording objectives – all you have to do is fill in the blanks!
  • How to avoid the #1 mistake novice grant writers make when writing goals and objectives that will KILL your chances of being funded.

Lesson 8: Pitching a Powerful Plan of Action

  • Our 7 secrets for selling your solution to a problem.
  • How to pair your activities with measurable benefits. This one strategy will make your action plan stand out among the competition.
  • Easy ways to organize your activities on a timeline so the reader can understand your action plan at a glance.  (You’ll get several templates for this).
  • Guidelines (and helpful models) for citing research to add credibility to your methods.

Lesson 9: Conveying Your Capacity, Credibility, and Commitment

  • Confidence-building ways to communicate your organization’s mission and history, even if your organization is new.
  • How to describe the expertise of key people – even if they haven’t been hired yet!
  • How to develop Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and Letters of Commitment with other agencies to demonstrate community support for your project. (You will see examples of these from funded proposals to make it easy to write your own).
  • More tips to let to funder know the project will be in capable hands.

Lesson 10: Designing an Effective Evaluation Plan

  • Ideas for measuring the success of your grant project to assure the funder you are serious about delivering real results.
  • How to speak (and write) the language of an evaluator, even if you don’t have a background in statistics or research.
  • How to get a professional evaluation plan written for you – absolutely free!
  • How to know when you should involve a third-party evaluator and what questions you should ask when interviewing one.

Lesson 11: Building a Better Budget

  • Easily adaptable formats for displaying budgets and writing budget narratives.
  • Our handy formulas for showing estimated expenses to indicate that you’ve done your homework and are responsible with money.
  • Tips for linking your budget to your action plan to prove that every dollar will contribute to the cause.
  • Creative ideas for showing matching resources to give the funder the most for their money.

Lesson 12: Packing Your Proposal with Persuasion

  • Promising ways to promote your ideas as an authority….and be seen as an expert on your topic.
  • Our 7 Golden Rules of Grant Writing that have proven successful in bringing in grant money for over 10 years.
  • Clever techniques for making your key points pop off the page so that your reader will not miss them.

Lesson 13: Summarizing Your Story

  • How to write an impressive introduction – thus capturing the reader’s attention in the opening lines and make a positive first impression.
  • How to pack your proposal into a 1-2 page executive summary or abstract – to clarify the bigger picture for the busiest of bureaucrats.
  • How to turn your executive summary or abstract into an invitation to read more.
  • When to mention money in a proposal summary – and where.

Lesson 14: Polishing and Packaging Your Final Presentation

  • To create and use checklists to confirm that your content is complete. (You’ll get the checklists we use).
  • Our error-free editing advice so you can look for and catch the most common errors made in grant proposals (you’ll get a list of these, to save you from learning the hard way!).
  • How to handle all the forms and supporting documents (MOUs, resumes, letters, newspaper articles, etc.) without getting a headache.
  • How to avoid mailing mistakes so that your grants gets there by the deadline.

Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) Facilitator Training

Professional development for the seasoned expert or beginner…

The activities of the Instructional Skills Workshop form the nucleus of the ISW Facilitator Training, a five-day workshop to prepare experienced faculty to facilitate the Instructional Skills Workshops. Participants refine their teaching techniques through the mini-lessons, and with guided practice and feedback, develop strategies for facilitating the group process. Participants have the opportunity to develop new knowledge and techniques for facilitating group development, to explore other teaching methods, to explore formative evaluation techniques, and to receive feedback on their own teaching and facilitating skills. Some chairpersons participate in the Facilitator Training to enhance their competence in providing constructive feedback for their teaching colleagues. The Facilitator Training provides an opportunity for individuals to concentrate on their own professional development in a challenging and supportive atmosphere. Participants can become part of a larger instructional development network.

In addition to delivering workshops, ISW Facilitators often assist in a variety of activities related to the improvement of instruction. Classroom observation visits, video-taping, involving students as a means of eliciting feedback to the instructor, and individual consulting and facilitating services are often provided. These activities are offered only at the request of individual faculty members and all interchanges are confidential. Facilitators with highly developed communication skills are often called upon to assist with college-wide in-service days, institutional evaluation, departmental meetings, and retreats. When upward mobility is not always an option, being an ISW Facilitator may provide alternate leadership development opportunities.

The third level of the tier is the ISW Trainer Development Workshop (TDW) where individuals who have completed the Facilitator Training can learn how to train Facilitators.

Do you have questions regarding our programs, trainings, consulting, or coaching? How may we help you?

Fill out the contact form below (please specify which workshop(s) you are inquiring about so as to provide you with relevant information and materials) and you will receive a response within two (2) business days. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW)

Professional development for the seasoned expert and beginner…

The Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) program is a comprehensive three-tiered teacher and trainer development program that serves as the foundation for several professional development activities  The ISW typically is facilitated by two ISW Facilitators [See Instructional Skills Workshop Facilitator Training].

The ISW is offered within a small group setting and is designed to enhance the classroom effectiveness of both new and experienced teachers or trainers. During the four-day workshop that is facilitated by two ISW Facilitators, approximately five teachers or trainers design and conduct three “mini-lessons” and receive oral, written and video feedback from the participants who have been learners in the mini-lessons. Using an intensive experiential learning approach, participants are provided with information on the theory and practice of teaching or training adult learners, the selection and writing of Intended Learning Outcomes with accompanying lesson plans, techniques for eliciting learner participation, and suggestions for evaluation of learning.

The ISW encourages reflection and examination of one’s teaching/training practices with feedback focused on the learning process rather than on the specific content of the lesson. Effective feedback skills, practiced in the workshop, are useful for classroom teachers or trainers and also as they fulfill their other organizational tasks.

The ISW engenders participatory learning and the building of community that can transfer back into the classroom and the school, college, university, or organizational setting. Participation in an ISW creates an opportunity for new teachers or trainers to learn about the unique culture and value system of the organization and can also be a renewing and revitalizing activity for more seasoned teachers or trainers. Added benefits are a sense of collegiality, team building, self discovery, and learning new approaches to working with others.

Do you have questions regarding our programs, trainings, consulting, or coaching? How may we help you?

Fill out the contact form below (please specify which workshop(s) you are inquiring about so as to provide you with relevant information and materials) and you will receive a response within two (2) business days. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Strategic Planning

Beyond being an organizational development process, Appreciative Inquiry is an approach to strategic planning and positive change that has been used successfully in schools and universities, governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, communities, and corporations all around the world. It is broad-based, highly participative, and energizing. Appreciative Inquiry builds new skills in stakeholders, develops new leaders, encourages a culture of inquiry, and helps create shared vision and purpose for your organization by building on your core values and strengths. Perhaps most importantly — Appreciative Inquiry leads to action, commitment, and results.

Developing your organization’s next strategic plan with Appreciative Inquiry will provide executives, executive teams, and planning committees an overview of how Appreciative Inquiry works and answer key questions:

  • How is Appreciative Inquiry different from other planning processes?
  • What resources does planning with Appreciative Inquiry require?
  • Who gets involved and how?
  • How long does it take?
  • What is an Appreciative Inquiry “Summit”? Is it necessary and how does my organization host one?
  • How do I write a strategic plan using Appreciative Inquiry?

Outline:

  1. How is Appreciative Inquiry different from other planning processes?
    • Strengths-Based vs. Deficit-Based
    • The Wholeness Principle
    • Broad directions vs. Narrow objectives
    • The role of data
  2. Elements of an Appreciative Inquiry Strategic Planning process
    • Get Ready!
      1. Creating a Core Team
      2. Introducing Ai to your organization
    • Get Set!
      1. Pre-Summit Community Interviews
      2. The Appreciative Inquiry Summit
      3. Writing the Strategic Plan
    • Go!
      1. Implementing the Plan
      2. Building an Appreciative Culture

Looking for Strategic Planning services?

Please fill out the contact form below and will we contact you about your inquiry. Thank you.

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Managing Professional Relationships at Work

Title: Managing Professional Relationships at Work

Location: Online Workshop

Date: January 11 – 29, 2009

Register: Click here

Description: Do you have a mix of all four styles going on your at your workplace? For example, a co-worker may appreciate the data. Your annual proposal has 25 pages, but that may not be enough information. Other co-workers may want you to get to the bottom line – Yesterday. Or you may work with someone who values an unhurried appointment with a focus on close relationships and peace, and perhaps someone else will want a fast pace with plenty of interaction and please do not be boring!

The good news is you can improve upon your relationship building skills. You can begin to understand the techniques but the real learning is OTJ (on the job)—practice in real-life with ongoing learning, coaching and feedback. Boosting your relationships, along with learning your style and comfort zone leads to improved professional relationships yielding a significant ROI! Learn More>

Success Through Emotional and Social Intelligence

Title: Success Through Emotional and Social Intelligence

Location: Online Workshop

Date: January 11 – 29, 2010

Register: Click here

Description: We can no longer afford to pretend that emotions are not part of the workplace. In fact, ignoring emotions can result in costly lawsuits, lack of productivity, contentious bargaining, and loss of good employees. But the good news is that we can not only measure emotional intelligence but also learn ways to enhance it. We can improve our skills in managing our emotions, we can learn effective ways to cope with that difficult employee or that insensitive boss, and we can build resilience despite the inevitable stresses and changes in our lives.

This workshop provides an opportunity to begin a journey toward your vision of success by developing and enhancing your Emotional and Social Intelligence. You will also learn the importance of maintaining your own balance and resilience despite the stresses of the workplace—and stresses from outside work that may affect your performance. Learn More>

Foundations of Style: Behavior and the Bottom Line – webinar

Webinar: Foundations of Style: Behavior and the Bottom Line

Location: Webinar – Online

Date: November 19, 2009

Start Time: 2:00 PM (EST)

Register Now: Click here

Description: Using the Social Styles model as the foundation, this workshop provides an introduction to four personal tendencies: Analytical, Driver, Amiable, and Expressive. Through this awareness, participants are more prepared to understand, and adjust, when interacting with others.

While it is true that “we are who we are”, the ability to adapt our style of communicating and interacting is essential for achieving the results we desire. Learn More>

Strategic Planning with Appreciative Inquiry for Colleges and Universities – Webinar

Webinar: Strategic Planning with Appreciative Inquiry for Colleges and Universities

Location: Webinar – Online

Date: November 12, 2009

Start Time: 2:00 PM (EST)

Register Now: Click here

Description: Appreciative Inquiry is an approach to planning and positive change that has been used successfully in colleges, communities and organizations all around the world. It is broad-based, highly participative, and energizing. It builds new skills in faculty and staff, develops new leaders, encourages a culture of inquiry, and helps create shared vision and purpose for your college by building on your core values and strengths. Perhaps most importantly-it leades to action, commitment, and results. Learn More>

Website: Center for Appreciative Inquiry

Intro to Ai

Ai PhotoTitle: Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry (Ai)

Location: Canyons Center in Summerlin, NV

Website: Click here

Download Brochure: Intro To Ai Brochure

Description: Appreciative Inquiry (Ai) us ab approach to positive change that has been used successfully in communities and organizations all around the world. It is based on the simple idea that people and organizations move in the direction of what they ask questions about. Ai is a whole human systems approach to relationship and community building.

Learn a new approach to creating positive change in your professional and personal relationships. This short introduction to Appreciative Inquiry will show you the power you gain by asking unconditionally positive questions.

If you would like more information about this workshop or would like to register, email Kathy at Kathy@companyofexperts.net

Date: October 13, 2009

Start Time: 5:00 PM
End Time: 6:00 PM