Creating our Future Together Through Inquiry Based Management

Course DescriptionThis course is designed to increase your capacity to have a positive managerial impact within KCTCS and increase your sphere of influence. It is not a course to teach you about Appreciative Inquiry, collaboration and management; it is more like a practicum to build your understanding and expertise in the management practices that generate full engagement, collaboration, and accountability. In keeping with this, instead of an 18-hour management course condensed into three days, it is an 18-hour management course spread over six months.

The course format supports the implementation of new knowledge and new skills through daily practice, inviting you to accomplish your work in different ways. You should find these practices save you time and effort while they build strong relationships among your team. This mixed media learning course includes on-site training, bi-monthly 30-minute webinars, discussion, teamwork, reading, and practice.  All sessions will be highly experiential and engage you in provocative discussions and practical applications of new ideas. You will be challenged to see from different perspectives, increase your curiosity, and to implement new procedures that increase efficiency, effectiveness, and collaboration.

Required Reading

Following my commitment to honor your busy work schedule, there is limited required reading for the course.  A short reading assignment may be emailed to you the week before each webinar.  Any reading will also be posted in the Library on our Web-Ex classroom LINK.  Additional articles, recommended books, links to videos and relevant websites are listed at the end of this syllabus as well as in our Web-Ex Library LINK.

Required Materials and Equipment


On-Site Sessions: Please wear comfortable clothing and rubber-soled, closed toed shoes (like tennis shoes). Bring paper and pen and an Attitude of Inquiry! This part of the course is essential and it will be fun and provocative. Expect to be challenged, surprised, puzzled, and inspired.

Webinars: You will need access to the Internet and …   Kathy, I need you guys to specify exactly what’s needed here.


Recommended Reading

Additional articles, recommended books, videos and website forums are listed at the end of this syllabus as well as on the Web-Ex Library LINK.

Course Objectives and Content


This course will increase your capacity to influence staff engagement, accountability, and creativity as your team collaborates to achieve your department or division’s strategic outcomes and support the overall mission of KCTCS.


  1. Increase your capacity as an Inquiry-based leader
    • Develop your capacity for inquiry as a means to surface relevant knowledge, assumptions, limiting beliefs and differing perspectives.  This results in increased core interpersonal skills and strong team relationships.
    • Understand the power of emotions and the implications for managing by Inquiry and Appreciation
    • Understand the power of story and the power of frames: embracing diversity of values and perception
    • Align your team’s work and strengths with strategic outcomes and KCTCS mission
  2. Manage Change and Innovation:
    • Understand AI: how to practice it and how to use the model for planning
    • Practice inquiry and reflection to facilitate action learning and collaborative learning
  3. Have an organizational impact by
    • Implementing workplace practices that enhance engagement, collaboration, and accountability
    • Using conflict to generate innovation and new knowledge
  4. Managing performance using outcomes-based planning and coaching based upon employee strengths

Course Requirements:

The lessons in this course build upon one another; therefore, it is important to attend sessions in the order listed on the syllabus and to practice each week’s lessons and engage in the required discussions sequentially.

On-site Class:  Two half-day morning sessions will provide the essential foundation upon which all other lessons are grounded. These two sessions are mandatory.

Bi-monthly Webinars: 30-minute live webinars are offered twice each month. Managers may participate in the webinars at their desk, laptop while traveling, or with their cohort- any place with access to the Internet. Each webinar will consist of:

  • 10 minute lesson
  • 5 minute experiential activity
  • 10 minute discussion
  • 5 minute practice assignments and Q&A

It is HIGHLY recommended that you attend all of these webinars as live sessions since discussion and Q&A are part of the 30-minute session.  It is understandable that there may be an occasional unavoidable conflict with a session. When this occurs, you can view the missed webinar in the Recorded Section of our webinar classroom. Questions can be emailed to me or you can call me.  Attendance at a minimum of 75% of the live webinars is required for certification.  Recorded webinars must be viewed within a couple of days of the live session so that you have time to practice that week’s lesson before the next webinar.

Practice: In between each webinar, you will have the opportunity to practice new ways of working based upon the lesson. After each session there will be specific opportunities/ assignments for the next two weeks. These might be challenging but not difficult. You should find them highly rewarding!


You will have the opportunity to learn from, support, coach, and inspire one another through one of two cohort practices-meetings or discussion board.  Taking just a few minutes at least every other day to reflect and share how these new practices are impacting you and your team is an essential part of expanding your capacity and that of your colleagues. Feel free to participate in both if you want!

(a)    Cohort Meetings:  For those of you who enjoy getting together with others to talk about your experiences or ask questions, make a plan to meet for coffee or lunch 2-3 times a week (e.g., Monday, Wednesday, Friday).  These don’t have to be long meetings, but they should be genuine reflections. A minimum of two meetings per week is required for certification.

(b)   Discussion Board: For the more introverted managers there is discussion board! Your posts should reflect genuine practice and commitment to one another.  A minimum of 3 posts per week is required for certification.

Staff Feedback and Exceptional Modeling: The fastest way to grow and build relationships is to ask for feedback.  Appreciative Inquiry is a delightful way to request feedback.  Once each month you’ll have the opportunity to solicit feedback from your staff (and other colleagues, if you choose).  The questions you will ask will speak specifically to your personal goals for this course.  You’ll be asking staff for high points, times in the last month when you were succeeding at your goal(s) and how that success impacted their work and engagement with the overall department/division. You’ll also be asking them for specific ideas about what they valued about the way you were managing.  Finally, you’ll ask them for suggestions for what else you might do to further your success in meeting your goal(s).

Final Report

Your final assignment will be to reflect on your 6-month journey.  You’ll have the opportunity to do your own personal reflection and to review feedback from your staff and colleagues.  You will compile a list of changes you’ve made, results of these changes, and a personal statement about your sense of competence as a manager.


At the beginning of the course, you will establish your personal goals for your own management practice along with your commitment to your self and your colleagues in achieving your goals. At the end of the course, you and your colleagues will reflect on your efforts and progress towards your goals.  Certification requires full participation in the course, feedback from your colleagues, and your own reflection in achieving your goals:

  • Attendance at both on-site sessions
  • Completion of all 12 webinars, 75% live attendance
  • Daily practice of lessons
  • Participation in Discussion Board, minimum of 3 genuine postings per week
  • Feedback from staff
  • Final Report


General Guidelines

  • Show Up:  Be fully present-body, mind, and spirit. This also means being and doing your best-make your time well spent and have fun doing it! The time together is short and will fly by.
  • Pay Attention: Especially pay attention to what has heart and meaning for you in the lessons. If you are pre-occupied, you’ll miss out! If you don’t take advantage of the practices, you’ll miss an opportunity.
  • Stay Open: Come with an open mind, open heart and open will; this will allow you to stay open to the outcome.
  • Be Honest: Tell your own truth, share without blame or judgment.
  • Have Fun!

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