Tag Archives: appreciative inquiry facilitator training

Is “Why” an Appreciative Question?

A few days ago I shared a fascinating HBR article on LinkedIn titled, Become a Company That Questions Everything. The article talks about how companies should encourage curiosity in the workforce by inviting employees and other stakeholders to ask questions. The article itself has a large graphic of the word “why”. As I shared the article on our various social media outlets, one person asked me if “why” is an appreciative question. I stopped what I was doing just so that I could let that question sink in. I mean, I believed it could be, depending on the context in which it is used but I was curious as to what others thought.

After pondering the question for a day or so, I posted the question on various LinkedIn groups I am connected to. The question spread like wildfire. I was honored that so many people took the time to share their thoughts and experiences. The discussions that emerged were engaging and insightful.

Most of the responses I read agreed that while “why” might not be the first choice in questions we ask our clients, it could, however, be appreciative depending on the context, tone, intention, and the level of trust between the inquirer and the client. In my work with Appreciative Inquiry, I have learned that crafting questions, so that they are both appreciative and meaningful to the client, is more of an art form than methodology. Our success as practitioners lies in our ability to recognize which type of question will work best for the situation. Many of you provided great examples of appreciative “why” questions. Some examples of appreciative “why” questions included, but were not limited to:

  • “Why do you think this works so well?”
  • “Why do we feel great when we accomplish something as a team?”
  • “Why do you think you are at your best when you do something that you enjoy?”
  • “Why was ________ a success?”
  • “Why do you feel you learned so much from this challenge?”
  • “Why it is important for you to accomplish this?”
  • “Why am I seeing so many great traits in my partner now?”
  • “Why am I feeling so much more confident now?”
  • “Why is this pursuit becoming alive for you?”

One person wrote, “When using ‘why’ to draw out the best potential in something it helps to invigorate imaginations”; another wrote, “Asking ‘Why’ can produce deeply reflective insight into the drivers for the envisioned future. It can also help define the ‘alchemy’ of what works really well.” According to the Constructionist Principle of Appreciative Inquiry, we live in a world created through our social discourse; that “our story is our perspective, and there are an infinite number of perspectives.” I believe “why” when used appropriately, can help us to peel back the subconscious layers of our mind to reveal our core values and beliefs. In my pursuit to become more mindful and appreciative, I keep a daily gratitude journal. While I ask myself the common “who, what where, when and how” questions, I am often called to reflect on the ‘why’. I find myself reflecting on questions like, “Why do I feel so good about myself now?” or “Why is it important to reflect on the positive in this situation?” The answers to questions such as these result in a change in my perspective or a positive shift in my reality. As new information becomes available, I think it may be important to draw out such answers that may only surface as a result of the use of “why” questions.

As practitioners we must remain mindful that the questions we ask are fateful. The moment we ask a question, we begin to create change. What questions are you asking? What change are you creating? Words create worlds. As one person shared, “Like everything metaphysical the harmony between thought and reality is to be found in the grammar of the language” – Ludwig Wittgenstein.

TweetChats – #AskEoC

What is #AskEoC?

The purpose of our Twitter Chat (titled #AskEoC) is to come together to answer questions, address concerns, and share stories and resources around topics that are of interest to you. Experts on Call (EoCs) will be online and available to answer your questions, suggest readings, and provide additional resources to help you as you. A new topic will be picked each month based on the interests of the group.

Why Participate in #AskEoC?

Participating in our #AskEoC offers several benefits, such as: building community, making new friends, learning from others, connecting with experts in the field, and discussing interesting topics.

When is #AskEoC?

#AskEoC date and time is TBD. Please check back for dates and times.

Submit a Topic or Question:

What topics or questions would you most like to explore during an #AskEoC? Your curiosity and questions help to enhance the dialogue and learning for all those involved in the chat. Kindly send all chat questions to Kathy at Kathy@CompanyofExperts.net. Please be sure to add your Twitter name e.g. @yourtwittername so we can credit you with the questions during the chat.

Stay Informed:

The official Twitter account for #AskEoC is @ExpertCompany. Follow this twitter account to receive information about upcoming #AskEoC chats, exclusive offers, specials and discounts for various trainings, online programs, webinars and podcasts.  In addition to receiving discounts, we also post new events, as well as industry related videos and articles that my interest you and your colleagues.

Tweet Chat Instructions:

To participate in our #AskEoC, you will need to have a twitter account. Make sure you add a photo and brief bio about yourself so that we may get to know each other better as we exchange ideas, thoughts, links, and resources during the #AskEoC.

Below are additional links to help you learn more about Tweet Chat:

Benefits of Being an Expert on Call (EoC)

Are you a consultant, coach, trainer or facilitator called to create a thriving, more sustainable world? Join the growing Expert on Call community and be a part of a global network of change agents forming a generative community focused on this shared mission.

The Company of Experts has created the Experts on Call program to provide expert support and peer collaboration for independent consultants who want to increase their impact for making a Positive Difference in the World Inspiring Success and Connections of People and Organizations.

Member Profile Page

Each Expert on Call has an editable profile page that includes your photo and professional biography that highlights your specialties, articles, videos and testimonials. Our editable EoC profile allows you to easily change information in the directory to reflect changes in your business (e.g. change of address, new products or services, latest publication, etc.).  Your EoC profile also makes your information available for search engines to index. Because our Expert on Call profiles receive high page ranks in Google, this is a good way to influence what people see when they search for you and your business.

Expert on Call Directory

Statistics show that most purchases start from an online search. This means that a business that wants to remain relevant in today’s market advertises itself in an online portal. Online directories have become a favorite place to start, especially for small businesses that do not have an extended budget. Online directories are popular among consumers these days because they offer an easy way to search for business companies and services that are nearby or within their local area conveniently through the use of the internet. As an Expert on Call, your profile will be added to our Directory – making you and your company searchable by our worldwide audience.

Build Your Brand

Brand building is a vital part of any business plan, and a well-managed Expert on Call profile can serve as a flagship for your brand. By keeping your EoC profile up-to-date and posting often on the Company of Experts website, you can build your brand bit by bit, increasing likeability and gradually building the trust of your potential clients through timely, relevant and interesting posts. Your brand is how you identify with your customer base, both future and current, and our Experts on Call program provides a perfect way to shape that brand the way you want.

Showcase Your Knowledge

The best way to gain credibility in a field is to become a go-to resource. The Expert on Call program offers a number of tools that help professionals engage with their peers and clients to exchange information and ideas. A few of these tools include: Tweet Chats and Ask an Expert. These tools serve as a great way to reach out to clients and colleagues and become part of the trending conversations in your field.

Publish Your Articles

Experts on Call are encouraged to post content onto the Company of Experts’ website. Besides building a following, great articles will also get shared via The Company of Experts, and its affiliate brands (Center for Appreciative Inquiry, Department Chair Institute, and Leadership Development Institute), social media channels leading to improved visibility. These shares will speed up the growth of your brand while also driving traffic to your Expert on Call profile, inviting comments on your post, and encouraging conversation on social media sites – further establishing social proof of the legitimacy of your content, increasing your rank in search engine results pages, and could lead to great networking or sales opportunities.

Event/Calendar Postings

Connect your company with Company of Experts’ international audience by posting your business-related events on our Event Calendar.  Experts on Call who purchase an annual membership receive two (2) free calendar postings ($100.00 value) and additional postings for the year are discounted to $35.00 each. Please note free calendar postings not used do not roll-over.

Networking/Collaboration Opportunities

It’s easy to get stuck in the same social circles. Branching out and meeting new professionals exposes you to new ideas and gives the opportunity to meet others who may be able to help your career in the future. The Expert on Call program will help you to build a network of useful contacts. Search the Expert on Call Directory to reveal experts and service providers. If you do not personally know the individual, you can send them an introductory email directly from their profile page.

Discounted Training Room Rental

As an internationally-recognized company for its leadership and professional development trainings, Company of Experts knows what components are needed to deliver a successful training. We have an on-site training facility that is open to Experts on Call to use for their trainings or workshops for a discounted rate. Our office is conveniently located near the McCarron International Airport and several hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada USA. We can assist you with healthy catering, recommend hotels, and connect you with other resources to make your training the best possible. To learn more about our training room, please click here.

Coming Soon…

Marketing Services

With both competitors and potential customers constantly online, digital marketing is the only way to stay ahead. When you’re a small business owner the online world can seem intimidating. Company of Experts can assist you with your marketing efforts by creating engaging, well-designed emails and event pages that align with your organization’s brand. You provide the content, logos, color-scheme you desire, and contact list and we will do the rest.

Professional Development

In today’s fast-paced business world, the importance of staying current on the latest developments is increasingly important. Professional development programs, whether in an online class, webinar, podcast, face-to-face workshop, or a live conference with expert speakers, are a great way to stay competitive in an ever-changing professional landscape. The Company of Experts offers a wide range of development opportunities for consultants and coaches in areas as diverse as time management, leadership, social media, writing contracts, and more.

Let’s Generate Positive Dialogue for 2012 Election

Words Create Worlds® (WCW)
A series of short conversations leading up to the U.S. election in 2012 meant to enliven generative dialogue with a positive intent.

This past week, during a training, a request was made of us – please send a message out to encourage people to write to the White House, to politicians, as well as to others who are interested in constructive, positive dialogue about the future of the U.S!

These four days were devoted to our internationally recognized Four Day Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training©, an introduction to the Power of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) and specifically to the Power of the Principles of AI — learning about the benefits of Positive focus and Positive language.

These are not trainings focused on politics; rather trainings for leaders and others who are seeking methods and models for organizational change and positive dialogue. Change that engages, seeks out the best in people and organizations, is collaborative in nature and focuses on the good in all of us. The people who attend this training want to feel good about their work; to work in organizations that they share values with; and to be in an organization that strives to do good for the world community.

This request for us to become leaders in the national dialogue is not new to this training. We are a small group of committed people seeking change and if we look to the words of Margaret Mead, we know that this is where change begins.  We are reaching out to our community now as we see the political rhetoric reach new levels of negativity.  Please write to the White House, President Obama, Governor Romney and any and all of your legislative leaders – in Washington D.C. or at the State Level. Encourage them to change the tone.

Encourage our leaders to adopt a tone of hope, possibility, and encouragement. Encourage them to share with us their vision for our country, for our future. We need no less from our current and our future leaders. For wisdom, insight and guidance, search out the words of past leaders who have inspired our nation in times of challenge and opportunity.

There is sufficient data and research supporting the benefits of positive conversation. As people we thrive when our positive to negative words are at a 3:1 ratio (Positivity Ratio). We each want to thrive and we want our country to thrive. We need leaders who can lift the conversation, take decisive action toward a future that we can visualize and live into.

We recommend a book for each of us:  We Can All Do Better, by Bill Bradley.  It is well written, honest and understandable. Bradley sets the stage that “We The People” must engage in dialogue that is for the best for the Country. To set the tone.  “People see Washington irrevocably divided into two warring camps that care more about political advantage than about the Country” (Bradley 18).

The need for positive dialogue has reached a crucial level; we cannot make the substantive changes necessary unless we do. Join us for more positive dialogue by sending a letter or email to President Obama and Governor Romney. Don’t stop there. Send a letter or email to each of your representatives at the Local, State and Federal level. We each, no matter our political affiliation, have visions and dreams for the future. What do we really want? Like athletes at the Olympics last month, each of us can look at the greater good, focus on what we want more of. What would that look like if it were happening all of the time, right here, right now?

Email is a good way to start; writing a letter is an excellent way to really get their attention! Here is some contact information for:

Our intention is to spark positive dialogue. To be part of the dialogue about Appreciative Inquiry, join us on our LinkedIn group – Discovering Appreciative Inquiry. We also invite you to visit our website at http://centerforappreciativeinquiry.net/ or join us on YouTubeFacebook, and Twitter #WCW2012.

Author:
Kathy Becker is the President of the Company of Experts, Inc. — a consulting firm serving schools, colleges and universities, businesses, corporations and non-profits moving them from deficit models of planning and thinking to engagement, empowerment and collaboration. Leading others to ask “What might be possible if community and organization members were fully engaged and using their strengths to collectively achieve shared visions?” Kathy has initiated new programs and services to meet the challenges of the new economy. Read Full Bio>>

School District Engages 4,300 in Creating Future Through Appreciative Inquiry

The Macon Miracle initiative to be shared during global AI conference

Participants at the World Appreciative Inquiry Conference (WAIC) will have the opportunity to learn about the largest known face-to-face Appreciative Inquiry summit held in a school district in Macon, Georgia.

Called the Macon Miracle, the Bibb County School District used Appreciative Inquiry (AI) to bring together 4,300 people in creating its strategic plan.

Dr. Romain Dallemand, superintendent of the district, championed the effort. He was hired in February, 2011, and wanted to design a new educational system with the community’s collaborative efforts.

The strategic plan was intended to guide change and improvements for the next five years. These changes are centred on ensuring all children receive high-quality education to prepare them to be competitive and successful in a global economy.

Judy Godfrey, Bibb County School District director of professional learning, was involved with the whole process and says she was “totally” new to AI.

The first thing she noticed about the strengths-based approach to organizational development was how it helped ensure communication was thorough and timely, she says, which is an important part of any change initiative. Read Full Article>>

Join the Conversation: AI in Schools

Our proposal for the 2012 WAIC was accepted. Next stop, Belgium. 

The Center for Appreciative Inquiry, a branch of the Company of Experts, is pleased to announce that its proposal, “The Macon Miracle: Connecting Strengths, Reinventing Education, and Helping Children Flourish”, was accepted for the 2012 World Appreciative Inquiry Conference in Ghent, Belgium.

This year’s World Appreciative Inquiry Conference (WAIC) emphasizes Appreciative Inquiry (AI) as “a theory and practice of connecting people and generating new possibilities”. In 2011, we had the opportunity to work with Bibb County School District in Macon, Georgia. The Macon Centreplax Arena was filled to near capacity with almost 4,500 people in attendance. Participants consisted of internal and external stakeholders, such as: teachers, janitorial staff, bus divers, parents, community members, and city and state officials. This is the largest AI Summit to date!

Superintendent Dr. Romain Dallemand’s mission was to design a new educational system with the collaborative efforts of the community at large. “Our District and community must decide where it wants to be 20 and 50 years from now, and that journey begins with building a new education system that meets the need of all children,” says Dr. Dallemand. “The new system will be built with the engagement of our entire community because that is the only way in which it will be successful.”

Using Appreciative Inquiry as our tool, we facilitated large and small group sessions to discuss the future of the District and community, as well as to begin identifying the goals, ideas, and strategies that would define “The Macon Miracle.” Our workshop proposal for WAIC noted that workshop participants will learn how the large-scale summit was organized, what emerged from the two days, and where the school district is headed next. In addition, workshop participants will engage in conversation around AI and strength-based schools, positive school culture, and innovative practices in teaching and learning from around the world. We invite those attending to join us in these exciting discussions.

We will keep you updated on the time and location of our presentation as details unfold.

Learn more about the ‘Macon Miracle’:
Visit the Macon Miracle landing page.
View videos from the Core Team and Summit here.
View pictures from Day 1 Summit here.
View pictures from Day 2 Summit here.

Executive Leadership Development

Leading the change from the top is essential to the success of the any organizational Culture Transformation; in fact it is essential. Culture change is possible only when senior leadership is fully on board, modeling the new culture and holding everyone accountable to new ways of being and doing. Our program for executive leaderships is customized to fit an organization or individual’s needs, goals and visions.

Designed to build Executive Leadership understanding of the practice of generative engagement in the workplace and expand their capacity to lead a strength-based organization. This program includes Executive Coaching, Leadership action plan (professional and personal), skill building through daily practice as well as networking with other Executive Leaders.

Our world is increasingly subject to failures that require systems-level and cross-systems-level thinking and approaches. The consequences of any decision can ripple with unprecedented speed across business ecosystems the way the recent economic crisis has impacted nearly every market (IBM CEO Report of 2010).

Contact us at the office at (702) 228-4699 or email Kathy at Kathy@CompanyofExperts.net today for an initial FREE consultation to discover how we can help you design a customizable Executive Leadership Development program for your organization.

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?

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Strength Based Leadership: Positive Approaches for Outstanding Performance

Webinar Overview:

Who we are when we are at our best?  How do leaders and managers learn to discover and leverage their own strengths, capture the human energy within their organizations, and create cultures that help people perform at their best? This program helps participants understand and leverage personal strengths and discover ways of maximizing the strengths of those around them. We’ll explore:

  • The four primary sources of the positive, appreciative, strengths-based movement, and the value of each
  • The business case for this approach to management and leadership
  • Developing an “appreciative eye.”
  • Strengths spotting: discovering others’ strengths and capabilities
  • Capitalizing on the strengths of others; using strengths to build high performing teams
  • Positive approaches for developing a culture of high performance

Designed For:

Leaders, managers, and employees in all levels of an organization.

Learning Outcomes:

Participants will:

  • Understand sources behind the research and theory of positive, appreciative, strengths-based leadership
  • Understand the assessments available for strengths-based work and positive leadership
  • Learn about the business case for these approaches to leadership and management
  • Learn about specific tools for being a positive, appreciative, strengths-based leader/manager
Price: $9.99 USD (for 60-minute webinar recording only) [paid-downloads id=”5″]
Price: $9.99 USD (for 90-minutes webinar recording only) [paid-downloads id=”6″]

Presenter:

Ray Wells, Ph.D., is based in suburban Philadelphia, and specializes in strengths-based approaches in designing leadership, team and organization development programs for clients.  Over the past 22 years, his firm has customized programs and projects for nearly 100 non-profit, business, and education clients in organizations ranging from just a dozen people to the Fortune 500, from the smallest private schools to the Ivy League, from single-office non-profit agencies to the largest corporate health systems.

Ray has been deeply engaged in Appreciative Inquiry work since his initial exposure in 2000.  As a consultant and facilitator, Ray is in the midst of designing his seventh major Appreciative Inquiry Summit.  They include extensive “interventions” and multi-day events for the United Way of Southeast Pennsylvania, North Penn United Way, Penn State University, the U.S. Navy and a large South Jersey transportation company. He is also a co-owner of Appreciative Inquiry Consulting, LLC.

Managing Time on the Run

Webinar Overview:

Do you feel overloaded with things to do? Has your schedule become too complex? Work, school, unemployed, parents, children – how do you find me time when you have so many responsibilities?

In this webinar we will explore ways to balance our home and work.  How we manage our time is increasingly complicated.  Creating that balance is within each of us to do. What are the options for managing time in a rapidly changing World? Your time is valuable – learn how to understand the time management choices you make. Time management should not bring you down – learn some skills to bring back that vibrancy to your life.

Designed For:

Anyone who feels stressed by their daily lives might find the tools and skills learned in this workshop a benefit.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Learn your time management strengths
  • Learn how you approach planning and managing for your time
  • Develop some new techniques and skills to make wise time choices
Duration: Approximately 1 Hour
Price: $9.99 USD (for webinar recording only) [paid-downloads id=”10″]

Presenter:

Kathy Becker is the president of the Company of Experts, Inc. The Company of Experts has served clients in both the public and private sectors since 1989.  With over thirty years of professional experience in K-12 and higher education, she has served as a Human Resources Officer, Staff Development Coordinator and Equal Employment Opportunity Officer. She has had direct responsibility for labor contract negotiations, sexual harassment training, discrimination investigation, mediation and conflict resolution, discipline and grievance, professional training and leadership development.

Kathy is a trained Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator/Trainer and incorporates AI into her consulting, training, and online teaching. With her background in the public and private sectors as well as a strong commitment to customer service and developing learning organizations, Kathy brings real-world experience to her online workshops. Some of the workshops include: Appreciative Inquiry, Equal Employment Opportunity, Diversity Hiring, Leadership, Customer Relations, Conflict Resolution, Succession Planning and Creating Change through Dialogue.