Linda Quarles has a strong background in corporate america. She has worked in Global organizations, including Microsoft, BAE systems in the areas of Organization design, strategic facilitation, organizational change management, vision casting and culture transformation. Linda is the mother of two daughters; she has traveled extensively for personal and consulting work.
Linda and I first met about 18 months ago at BAE Systems in Arlington, VA, US where Linda was a key member of a talented team working on implementing the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Agenda across the organization. Our project was to design and facilitate a summit for 300+ employees. Appreciative Inquiry was the framework selected to do this important work and to ensure it was a totally different different from any of the prior conferences and symposia this organization had used in the past.
Freedom to step outside of our comfort zones
In this episode, we talk about the impact of Appreciative Inquiry in a Government Contract Defense organization with many ex-military employees, many of whom were sceptical and concerned about breaking the mould. You can read a summary of the highlights of this summit, Freedom to step out of our comfort zones, which shone the light on the root causes of success where D&I was already working so well, and had gone unnoticed.
Appreciative Inquiry across contexts
There’s another beautiful story of the transformational results Linda witnessed when applying Appreciative Inquiry in a school in northern China that shifted the dynamic from reluctant to joyful participation, and on the last day singing and dancing. The teachers came up with a plan for moving the school forward that no-one outside that context could possibly have done. Linda stresses the value of the one-on-one “Discovery” interview, framed in an appreciative way.
The value of positivity and negativity
- “Your attitude determines your attitude”- possibly the secret of being content in all situations, as we only have control in the moment over our own outlook or attitude.
- There are always challenges in life: illness, conflicts, business difficulties and failures, loneliness, and if we can use the lens of positivity, it does help.
- Positivity is an attitude, an optimism, hopefulness, resilience that comes from the place: I’m choosing to look at this in a specific way – I meet people, I learn something new, or something else comes along something better yet. To have that awareness in the moment is positivity.
- There is a value in both low moments and high moments. Low energy is to be valued as it can be the impetus for positive change.
- Go see the video of Apollos Hester, young high school footballer, who shows what having a positive outlook looks like after a difficult game. Unbelievable and inspirational!
Aspirations for our children
- The concept of servant leader – putting others ahead of yourself – and the impact of our behaviors on others is never too early to learn.
- Relationships may need extra work to keep children aware of others outside themselves, as it's a distracted world for children with so many things competing for attention.
- The art of story telling has such power for us to connect in addition to all the tweetable, soundbitable snippets we have come to accept as communication.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Be sure you listen to Linda’s beautiful story of visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi with her children. It shows how children have that appreciative eye and the gift of being in the moment.
Links Mentioned in this Episode
- Twitter – @lindaequarles
- LinkedIn – Linda Quarles
- Corporate Looking Glass
- Pepperdine University – Master in Science in Organization Developement
- High School Blitz Interview with Apollos Hester
- Phillipians 4:8,12 (NIV)
- Thrive – executives for servant leadership in action
- Appreciative Inquiry Summit at BAE Systems
- Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi
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