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Come up for AIR and Experience your Energy Soar – PS 71

Episode Introduction

My brilliant guest hails from Toronto, Canada. Maureen McKenna, affectionately known as Mo, is a woman of huge talent, energy, dynamism. She is highly acclaimed in her field of organization, community development and coaching, and is a leader in Appreciative inquiry not only in Canada, but globallycome up for air - Mo McKenna.

In this show, Mo shares stories about how she started in this field, where it’s taken her and where she’s headed, living to her strengths of curiosity and openness daily.  Mo has worked in just about all sectors: corporate, government agencies in education and healthcare.  Mo shares many of her inspirations in the links section below.  

Episode Background

I was keen to interview Mo Mckenna, as in my last few shows, her name kept entering into the conversation.  She was praised by Deacon Richard Manley-Tannis,as his mentor, episode PS 65 How an Intimate Conversation can Strengthen the Collective.  The show preceeding this one,  PS 70, Say Yes to Everything Results in Fun and Meaning with Wick van der Vaart from the Netherlands refers to Mo as great asset to AI Practitioner and an inspiration.  

Fortuitously, Mo and I finally met in person a couple of months ago in Cleveland, OH at Case Western Reserve University. We were co-facilitators at the Fourth Global Forum  – also a podcast episode – Ps68, Business leaders, Professors and Students Expose Flourishing Enterprises  

And it doesn’t stop there.  These synchronicities keep amplifying. We are both members of the Council of Practice with the David L.Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry at Champlain college in Burlington VT. in the capacity of Field Practitioners.

Come up for Air

come up for air - framework

Mo is highly creative and innovative.  One of her creations is the AIR framework.  As she tells a story of its successful application in a hospital setting, I see it as framework for a conversation that guides people to a mutual appreciation of their past and helps them envision and plan an ideal future. The relational aspect of this framework facilitates understanding and generates new energy that is akin to when you come up for air and feel a huge relief, especially if you’ve felt silenced, misunderstood or not acknowledged for too long.

Concepts we Explore in this Episode

Appreciative Inquiry High Point Experience

In following the structure of an Appreciative Inquiry interview, I invite Mo to tell a high point story when she was fully engaged and delighted with her work.  She tells the story of working with The Toronto District School Board (TDSB).  It’s a terrific example of applying AI in a large system that invited all stakeholders to inquiry into “Student Success” while providing the Board members the opportunity to work on a real issue of strategic importance and learn about the process of AI at the same time.

High Performing Teams

Mo's own story harking back to her days at Xerox, and her reference to a study by Google finds that psychological safety is an enabler of high performing teams.  With Appreciative Inquiry, we invest time up front on inquiry – we don’t go straight to task.  We go back and learn from the past and get to know each other more deeply, becoming aware of each other’s needs.  That relational process creates psychological safety.

Learning Partners

We talk about the difference between being an “expert” and a “learning partner.”  As an outsider to a client system, we come in to be a learning partner, not an expert consultant. The client system has the expertise which is local knowledge of their own context and content.  We, as outsiders come with a process and a structure to guide the client to outcomes they want to accomplish.

Leadership Rises Up  from the Quiet Corners of an Organization

Mo and I share examples of how Appreciative Inquiry brings out the leadership is us all.  The psychological safety that an appreciative inquiry provides opens people up to each other's stories to listen more deeply, trust more openly and take risks.  People are encouraged to be more courageous, and Mo quotes her mentor, Jane Magruder Watkins:

You do no harm asking for what's working.

Links to Other Resources Mentioned in this Show

The newly designed, Appreciative Inquiry Commons

New York Times Article, What Google Learned from its Quest to Build the Perfect Team

Bliss Brown Seminal Appreciative Inquiry Summit, Imagine Chicago 

Professor Amy Edmondson TEDx Talk, Building a psychologically safe workplace

Gervase Bushe Article,  Appreciative Inquiry with Teams

Angela Ahrendts TEDx Talk, The Power of Human Energy

“Passionate, positive human energy can provide a counterbalance to the disruptive negative forces of an age of unprecedented change. Through it comes confidence, inspiration and the power to transform things for the better.”  

Connect with Mo McKenna

Mo’s website http://www.returnonenergy.ca

Blog https://wordpress.com/post/momentsbymoment.com/1845

Twitter: https://twitter.com/momckenna

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/maureenmckenna%20

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maureen.mckenna.106

Let's Stay Connected

It's always great to hear from you. Please connect with me to ask questions or leave comments about this episode or the podcast in general, and there are several good ways to do this:

  • Share your questions and ideas on the Podcast Feedback page
  • Leave a voice message here, and we may feature your question on an upcoming episode
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Help Spread the Message of Positivity!

I would be extremely appreciative if you would subscribe, rate or review our Positivity Strategist podcast. Your ratings and comments will help a lot to spread the message! Here is a guide to writing a quick review, click on iTunes and Stitcher.

 

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Say Yes to Everything Results in Fun and Meaning – PS70

Episode Introduction

This interview is with an Appreciative Inquiry colleague from the Netherlands, Wick van der Vaart.  Wick founded a learning institute in Amsterdam. His Institute offers, among many other courses, a two-year certified post master program in the Social Psychology of Interventionism which includes the teaching and practice of Appreciative Inquiry.  In 2016, Wick became the editor-in-chief of AI Practitioner, International Journal of Appreciative Inquiry.  These two major contributions he makes to the world came about because, as Wick tells us in this interview he has a habit to say yes to everything.

Say Yes to Everything

say yes to everything - Wick van der VaartWick's first story about his predisposition to say yes to everything came out when I asked him if he found Appreciative Inquiry, or if Appreciative Inquiry found him.  Some years ago, he traveled to the USA from his homeland to enrol in a program at the National Training Laboratories (NTL) in Bethel, Maine.  He had signed up for the Organization Development Program only to find that course had been cancelled. As a replacement, he was offered a place in the Appreciative Inquiry Program which was taking place next door.  And, following his natural inclination, he said “yes.”

Wick summarizes this fortuitous happening as

I walked into the wrong room and Appreciative Inquiry found me.

Appreciative Inquiry as a Different Lens

As a lover of learning, and researcher at heart, Wick also went on to do the traditional Organization Development Program and when I asked about the difference between the two, he shared that Appreciative Inquiry was more fun and the relationships he established in that course have become some of his dearest colleagues and partners today.  The lens of Appreciative Inquiry reflected a worldview his parents impressed on him – to do well in the world and for the world.  Wick discovered that the approach of Appreciative Inquiry accomplishes all the expected goals of the traditional organization development approach – productivity, profit, and specific strategic imperatives – and so much more.

Over and above the traditional worldview that traditional organization development offers, where the dominant discourse is money and power, the Appreciative Inquiry worldview focuses on doing good by doing well.  Profits are made as businesses need, but from a culture nurtured by a flourishing mindset where leadership is holistic, the workforce is thriving and the environment is respected.  In such workplaces, the whole self is valued, and the relational space between people enables deliverables and productivity and profits to happen alongside the positive connections between people. Appreciative Inquiry produces high quality relationships very quickly. 

The AI Practitioner – International Journal of Appreciative Inquiry

say yes to everything - AI Practitioner JournalHere is another of Wick's “say yes to everything” stories.  In 2016, he said yes to taking on the roles of editor-in-chief and co-publisher of the esteemed international journal of Appreciative Inquiry, the  AI Practitioner (AIP).  Anne Radford had founded in London about 20 years ago.  Through Anne's leadership and shepherding, it remains the leading journal on current research and applications of Appreciative Inquiry in the world.  The co-publisher is the David L. Cooperrider Center in the Stiller School of Business at Champlain College, Vermont.  AIP is a peer-reviewed journal. Each issue has guest editors who prepare and widely distribute a “Call for Articles” for their issue. Nearly 300 people from around the world have contributed as guest editors and authors to AIP in recent years.

Favorite AI Principle

I like to ask my guests which of the AI Principles is their favorite.  After thinking long and hard, Wick offered, the Anticipatory Principle, and you'll hear that it took my breath away as it also happens to be mine.  I asked why, and Wick's story demonstrates this principle that states “image leads to action,” and, more powerfully, “we are pulled toward the images we hold of the future.”

Wick has participated in two ironman events.  Training and participating are not easy.  He has to work hard to continue the training.  He applies the Anticipatory Principle to help him continue.  As he trains, and during the event, he holds the image of crossing the finishing line.  This is what propels him forward. This image of the future empowers him to keep going.  This image of crossing the finishing line gives him the ability to find the will and strength within to help him achieve his dream.

In support of this Anticipatory Principle that inspires Wick and me, I quote these beautiful lines that I found on Wick's website:

“You must give birth to your images.

They are the future waiting to be born.

Fear not the strangeness you feel.

The future must enter you long before it happens.

Just wait for the birth,

for the the hour of the new clarity.”

– Rainer Maria Rilke

 Connect to Wick van der Vaart

Wick’s Institute: Institute for Intervention Studies

Wick's email:  [email protected]

Twitter: www.twitter.com/InstituutvI

Facebook: www.facebook.com/instituutvoorinterventiekunde

AI Practitioner,  International Journal of Appreciative Inquiry

 Let's Stay Connected

It's always great to hear from you. Please connect with me to ask questions or leave comments about this episode or the podcast in general, and there are several good ways to do this:

  • Share your questions and ideas on the Podcast Feedback page
  • Leave a voice message here, and we may feature your question on an upcoming episode
  • Leave a comment on the show notes below

Help Spread the Message of Positivity!

I would be extremely appreciative if you would subscribe, rate or review our Positivity Strategist podcast. Your ratings and comments will help a lot to spread the message! Here is a guide to writing a quick review, click on iTunes and Stitcher.

 

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  • I invite you to share it using the social media buttons on the bottom of this page.
  • I'd love it if you can leave a quick review, on iTunes and Stitcher.

Innovative Ways that Inspire Human Flourishing for All

When did you last come away from an experience that had such an impact on you that you were filled with a joy and a hope that transformed you?  You witnessed human flourishing and unity with others. You felt inspired by the conversations and connections. You felt alive and energized. You experienced a sense of wholeness, oneness and community cursing through your body and a peace and infinite hope for what else is possible.

I am filled with gratitude that I just came away from such an experience.  The event was the Fourth Global Forum held at The Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit, at Weatherhead School of Managemhuman flourishing - diversityent at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH.   Over 300 people were tasked to Discover Flourishing Enterprise: The Key to Great Performance.   We came from 29 different countries by invitation, from free will, to contribute our minds, our hearts, our skills, our knowledge.  We were curious and open and hopeful.  We shared stories, dreams and aspirations.

Diversity underpins Human Flourishing

We were a hugely diverse gathering of people: business owners, leaders and entrepreneurs, multi-millionaires and start-ups; professors and students; octogenarians and millennials; of spiritual traditions, or none.  We honored our diversity and our shared common belief: human flourishing exists at all levels: at the individual level, organizational and whole systems level.   We shared our stories, listened and asked questions. We dreamed together about what we can bring to life. We co-created designs and prototypes of possible futures;  and we rolled up our sleeves to develop deployment plans to turn our dreams and their prototypes into action.

Business as an Agent of World Benefit

human flourishing - AI Practitioner CoverIt was my first time at a Global Forum, even though through my Appreciative Inquiry Certification at Weatherhead, I became familiar with and practiced at interviewing business leaders on the topic of Business as an Agent of World Benefit (BAWB).  For this event, I volunteered as an Appreciative Inquiry facilitator.  To my absolute delight, I was invited to co-facilitate the working group from AIM2Flourish with Professor Lindsey Godwin, my hero and dear colleague from the David L. Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry at Champlain College in Burlington, VT.

Appreciative Inquiry in Practice

To read more stories about the transformation that seemingly unlikely partnerships are delivering in the field of human flourishing,  please check out the special edition of the AI Practitioner  a publication of almost 20 years that focuses exclusively on the applications of Appreciative Inquiry across the globe.  This is a very generous gift from the owner, Wick van der Vaart, who co-edited this edition with David Cooperrider.

AIM2Flourish

human flourishing - AIM2Flourish Logo

AIM2Flourish was born out of the Third Global Forum in 2014.  Since then Roberta Baskin and Claire Summer (who as of June, 2017 now leads AIM2Flourish)  and a handful of business leaders and professors have taken the dream to made it flourish.  They have worked on an AIM2Flourish curriculum for university professors to link their students to enterprises that are not only doing well in the conventional business sense, but also doing good for their employees, their customers, the communities in which they operate, committed to human flourishing for all, including the planet.  Moreover, the really unique and cool contribution that AIM2Flourish offers its partners is to invite the participating business schools and their students to identify the enterprises whose innovations and contributions to the world are also addressing any one of the 17 the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Human Flourishing - Sustainable development goalsThe business students – the leaders of tomorrow – move beyond learning in the classroom into the field of real business.  Imagine the impact on them and the enterprises they interact with.

U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

I was human flourishing - prize trophydeeply honored to co-facilitate the AIM2Flourish working group comprising students, professors and business leaders from a number of South American countries.  This group included AIM2Flourish Prize Winners.  Their awards came from sharing the stories of the businesses who were helping to contribute to human flourishing by addressing some of SDGs.   The working group was brilliant and energized and committed to grow the AIM2Flourish mission by modeling leadership for 21st century and strengthening flourishing relationships across the plant.  I was struck with awe and filled with gratitude to watch them and hear them embrace the human flourishing - deployment planAppreciative Inquiry process with aid of their cell phones to translate English text into Spanish and then back into English to share their insights, dreams and plans.

And even though we had a language barrier, we communicated and shared delight and joy at our mutual understanding of each other.  We felt connected, united and impassioned by our shared commitment to amplifying human flourishing across the world.

 

Abundance of Talents, Generosity and Innovations

At this Fourth Global Forum every participant was a gift and there was an abundance of talent that spoke to our positive core of human flourishing, and wish I could name everyone, as every single person deserves credit. However, here's the line-up of outstanding keynoters and presenters, including David L Cooperrider, Chris Laszlo, Barbara Fredrickson, Tom Robinson, Jonathan Halpern, Jeff Hoffman, Shinzen Young, Jennifer Deckhard, Peter Senge, Julie Reiter, Fred Tsao.   Jon Berghoff was the masterful lead facilitator with his brilliant group of associates who made it such an outstanding event. Fun and practical improv tips were delightfully lead by Betsy Crouch and Zoe Galvez, co-founders of Improv HQ.  The talented graphic recorder was Jo Byrne,  Here is a sample of her talent.

And, I got to meet the charming Chuck Fowler, whose generosity and vision for a flourishing world started this all off.

Please, if you get the opportunity to attend the Fifth Global Forum in 2020, treat yourself to an experience that will fill you up and sustain you at many levels.  You will  enter into communion with those who care deeply about human flourishing and are actively leading positive change.

Opportunity to Hear Flourishing Voices in my Podcast Episode

There's also a podcast episode where you can hear the voices of participants at the the Fourth Global Forum:
Business Leaders, Professors and their Students Expose Flourishing Enterprises


Students and Business Leaders Hook up to be a Force for Good, with Roberta Baskin – PS58

Episode Introduction

Award winning journalist, Roberta Baskin is a most distinguished guest on Positivity Strategist podcast.  Roberta has had a stellar career in investigative journalism with more than 75 journalism awards both print and TV, including prestigious Peabodys, duPont Columbia Awards, and multiple Emmys.  During this time of global reporting, there was a stirring within: a shift that has brought Roberta to where she is today, Executive Director of AIM2Flourish.

Episode Overview – Business as a Force for Good

Roberta Baskin on Force for GoodAIM2Flourish is a non-profit organization, founded at Case Western Reserve University, whose mission is to accelerate the shift to a Business for Good mindset by recognizing the positive impact of today’s business leaders, and changing the way tomorrow’s leaders are taught.  What is so exciting about AIM2Flourish is that these future business leaders get out of the classroom into businesses that are doing good and positively working towards achieving any one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals with a target date of 2030.

It’s as if Roberta had been preparing for this new role during her entire journalistic career.  Her investigations, during her time as a journalist, resulted in making beer healthier, exposing sweatshops in the shoe and soccer industries, uncovering pediatric dental abuses, and succeeding in banning dangerous products.

Did You Discover Appreciative Inquiry or Did Appreciative Inquiry Discover you?

Whenever my guests come from the world of Appreciative Inquiry (AI), I invite this question: Did you discover Appreciative Inquiry, or did Appreciative Inquiry discover you.  You’ll love Roberta’s quirky answer. (She’s very playful by nature, having enjoyed her company at a number of Appreciative Inquiry gatherings).  As a recovering journalist, Roberta offers that she needed to do the AI Certification twice, because she was programmed to focus on the bad stuff in the world.  Her default mindset was conditioned to find out “what’s wrong?” in situations rather than “What’s possible?” What a 360 turn!  When she met Appreciative Inquiry thought leader, David Cooperrider, her worldview flipped, as does most people’s when they discover AI, and/or meet with Professor Cooperrider.

Restorative Narratives

It's very encouraging to hear Roberta offer examples of media organizations that are focusing on the best of humanity even in the worst of times.  Journalists who report on tragic circumstances in ways that restore hope, resilience and possibilities that lift up the human spirit to inspire us all.   Restorative narratives shine the light on how even in pain and suffering, there are beautiful stories of hope and resilience and possibility.

Examples of generative journalism can be found in Images and Voice of Hope, Constructive Journalism Project, Solutions Journalism Network, Axiom News and Huffington Post has a What's Working Section.

Changing Business Education by Changing the Story of Business

If we hold the belief that business can be a force for good, how might we change the way colleges and universities teach business skills?  Instead of the same old traditional curriculum, we might inquire into the biggest global issues facing businesses today and create innovative partnerships and experiences for students to learn actively from personal experience rather than passively through books and the internet.

Organizations who value innovation, longevity and human flourishing as strategic imperatives,  demonstrate that their financial bottom line is so interconnected with our planet’s and people’s well-being.

Developing Leaders for 21st Century

AIM2Flourish partners with professors in business schools around the world with materials to help their students research, and engage in conversations with innovative business leaders, and begin to conceive potential solutions that will not only advance business goals, but also address the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals provide such an opportunity for business students to work on real issues such as ending poverty and hunger, shifting to clean energy, controlling climate change and working for peace.  All this is possible.  Our collective conscious has awakened to our global oneness.  We are all in this together.

Being a Force for Good Benefits all Stakeholders

AIM2Flourish is the world’s first global action-learning platform showcasing business innovation that tackle some of our biggest challenges. Founded at Case Western Reserve University, business students across the globe use Appreciative Inquiry framed questions (AIM = Appreciative Inquiry Method) to search out and report on golden innovations that address the 17 UN Global Goals.

As a participating business, the benefits are many:  brand reputation; being aligned with purpose-driven students; aligning with other leaders in the social responsibility space;  recognition as a positive change agent in the world and providing solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges.

AIM2Flourish Stories and Ways to Participate

As you listen to Roberta, you will be inspired by students’ stories.  I encourage you to go to AIM2Flourish.com,  join up and participate in being a force for good.  The students and the companies that are being showcased will appreciate it and you’ll feel great about your contribution.

AIM2Flourish logo Force for GoodIf you wish to participate more actively, please reach out to Roberta. Her links are provided below.

Accept Roberta’s invitation to create your own profile on AIM2Flourish.

Contribute to the Sightings page.  Here's an opportunity to write up an innovation you are aware of that may help students explore more.

You, your family, community or organization  can become part of the global improvement movement to achieve the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 – only 14 years away.

AIM2Flourish is housed at the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit in Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management.

Links Mentioned

Website:  AIM2Flourish

Twitter: AIM2Flourish

LinkedIn: Roberta Baskin

Facebook: AIM2Flourish

Roberta on Wikipedia

Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit

Recent Articles by Roberta

1) Huffington Post blog: Business 101: AIM2Flourish 

2) Kosmos Journal: AIM2Flourish

3) AIM2Flourish Blog 

Let's Stay Connected

It's always great to hear from you. Please connect with me to ask questions or leave comments about this episode or the podcast in general, and there are several good ways to do this:

  • Share your questions and ideas on the Podcast Feedback page
  • Leave a voice message here, and we may feature your question on an upcoming episode
  • Leave a comment on the show notes below

Help Spread the Message of Positivity!

I would be extremely appreciative if you would subscribe, rate or review our Positivity Strategist podcast. Your ratings and comments will help a lot to spread the message! Here is a guide to writing a quick review, click on iTunes and Stitcher.

 

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If this episode was helpful or enjoyable to you,

  • I invite you to share it using the social media buttons on the bottom of this page.
  • I'd love it if you can leave a quick review, on iTunes and Stitcher.

Shifting Power – Exciting Possibilities through Appreciative Inquiry With Tim Slack – PS55

Episode Introduction

Shifting PowerMy guest, Tim Slack is filled with energy, ideas, gratitude and generosity as he talks about his experiences with Appreciative Inquiry.  You’ll hear many references to people Tim admires, and whose work, contributions and essential being have been a positive influence in his work as a  master practitioner of Appreciative Inquiry.  Tim, along with Suzanne Quinney co-founded Appreciating People. They are recognized as UK leaders in the application of the power shifting approach of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) in communities, organizations and government agencies.

Tim lives and works in Liverpool in the UK, not far from Penny Lane, of Beatles fame, and, he reports, the tourists still flock there!

Episode Overview –  Shifting Power with Appreciative Inquiry

In this episode, you will hear from Tim, how extensively and innovatively he, his partner Suzanne Quinney and their associates are applying the transformational change method of  Appreciative Inquiry (AI) in the world. In our conversation, we offer that Appreciative Inquiry is undergoing a sea change – a transformation – of its own. Tim and many other AI practitioners continually contribute to the growing number of  practical and life-changing resources, expanding upon the traditional resources of Appreciative Inquiry across the globe.  We talk about the transformative impact of AI at the individual, community and organizational levels. Tim gives examples the resources he and his team have created and the groups he’s been working with: kids in schools, surgeons and nurses in hospitals, women returning from combat in the military, curators in museums, students in universities, the homeless, LGTBQ community, clergy and members of churches and more.

Did You Discover Appreciative Inquiry or Did Appreciative Inquiry Discover you?

I like to ask my guests about their initial experience with AI because growing evidence reveals that when we have our first exposure to AI, it feels so natural to us, that it seems we have “come home” and the entire worldview, principles and practices makes perfect sense to us as a way of being and working.

Tim scored the double jackpot – he discovered his future wife, Suzanne, and AI together. It was Suzanne who introduced him to AI.  They have been co-creating and lighting up the world ever since.  Together, they embarked on a long learning journey with and about Appreciative Inquiry from some of the best teachers and practitioners.  They developed professional relationships which over time developed into strong personal friendships, collaborations and ongoing co-creations.

Influences in Appreciative Inquiry

It delighted me to hear Tim offered that my book, Appreciative Inquiry for Collaborative Solutions: 21 Strength-based Workshops was very influential in helping him see the many practical applications of AI.  He also included Jackie Kelm’s books, Appreciative Living and The Joy of Appreciative Living as examples which take AI outside of academia and big organizational development summits into small group work, day-to-day practices and personal transformation. (Links below are offered below.)

Appreciating Church – The Book

Tim shares the story about how the Appreciating Church project originated.  A range of different church communities undertook trainings in AI, but the continuity element was lacking, meaning people experienced training and it stopped there.  So Tim and his colleagues created a longer term process so that the participants had resources to be able to apply it themselves in their own communities and beyond.  The program has been getting stronger and stronger over two years and in January 2017, the book, Appreciating Church will be available. This is an exciting addition to AI's body of work.

The opening lines of the book, dating back to the 14th century, quote St. Julian de Norwich (known to be the first woman to write a  book in the English language):

And all shall be well, all shall be well… for there is a Force of love moving through the universe, that holds us fast and will never let us go.”  St. Julian de Norwich (c.a. 1342-1416)

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-6-02-50-pm

Click on the image to view a PDF outline of “Appreciating Church” – the book

Listen in to learn more about this very exciting work, what’s in the book and how it could be recontextualized to other communities.  Hint, it’s about a God of Abundance, not pain and fear or scarcity, and how we can use our strengths collectively.

With 210 people already trained across the participating churches, Tim talks about the shifts that have already occurred and the impact this work is having, as it expands.  He also pays tribute to Jane Magruder Watkins and Ralph Kelly in embarking on this work.

 

Appreciative Inquiry Resources AKA Essentials

I find it delightful to plug into Tim’s perspective.  The “resources” he continues to create for the AI community – trainers, practitioners and their clients are referred to as “essentials.” Check out the Essentials page on the Appreciating People website.   They are truly beautiful and valuable – content-wise and aesthetically.

AI – A Sea Change?

We talked about the shift that we are witnessing in the applications of AI.  The sea change lies in the acknowledgement that AI is not just about big systems and organization development.  There is a desire to find out more about “the self” and desire to apply Appreciative Inquiry for personal growth and change.  Living in times of chaos and turbulence, we are looking for resources to help us be more grounded, to give us a framework that offers us hope and possibility, enabling us to tap into our inner strengths.  AI does this.  A recent survey I conducted confirms this trend.

Journaling

The value of journaling to support the “appreciative muscle” came out of the work Suzanne Quinney had been doing with the hostel residents (Suzanne describes the power of this work in an earlier conversation I had with her.)  The questions, the inspirations, the prompts in the journals allow the person to document their thoughts, reflections, insights along their journey.  Tim has created a number of journals that are specific to different contexts.  For example, “How To Be More Awesome” for students; “Food for Thought” for people who want to strengthen their appreciative muscle. The process of journaling can help in building resilience.  Questions are drawn from Appreciative inquiry and activities from the field of Positivity Psychology, such as daily gratitude, mindfulness and wellness activities. Tim is a big advocate of multiple learning modalities, including art and humor.

Shifting Power – Ensuring all Stakeholders ARE IN

During  our conversation, one of the tools Tim mentions is the ‘ARE IN’ check-in process, created originally by Marvin Weisbord and Sandra Janoff who created “Future Search” which was based on the original Search Conferencing Participatory Planning and Design methodology. (Open the Positivity Lens Reveal below to learn more)

positivity lens

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One of the challenges in bringing the whole system together to explore an organisation’s development plans is to ensure you have got the ‘right’ people there.

ARE IN could be a useful mechanism to ensure buy-in and ownership – which is a precursor to shifting power – give voice to all.

This acronym is a useful reminder when planning a large scale, whole systems change experiences.

The ARE IN tool, was developed by Marvin Weisbord and Sandra Janoff, as part of the ‘Future Search’ methodology.

They recommend that a whole system event or process should include participants who ‘ARE IN’, i.e. those with:

A uthority to act (e.g. decision making responsibility in an organisation or community);

R esources such as contacts, time or, money;

E xpertise in the issues to be considered;

I nformation about the topic that no others have;

N eed to be involved because they will be affected by the outcome and can speak to the consequences;

This check list implies you have people in the room who can make decisions and who can ensure change is sustained beyond the planning stages. 

What is Excellence?

Tim leaves us with hints of what Appreciating People are beginning to work on – looking at excellence in surgical procedures in hospitals. He concludes by pondering if the next question we could be asking, after the seminal AI question “What’s already working well” is

“What is excellence?”

A banquet of food for thought!

Links and Mentions

Tim’s Wesbite: Appreciating People

Tim’s email: Tim Slack  [email protected]

Tim’s Blog Posts: News from Appreciating People

Tim’s Twitter: @AppreciatingPeople

Tim’s LinkedIn:  Tim Slack

Interview with Suzanne Quinney: Social Innovations by Appreciating People, with Suzanne Quinney

Interview with Jackie Kelm: Three Steps to Appreciative Living, with Joy Engineer Jackie Kelm

St. Julian de Norwich – Amazon Page

 

Books Mentioned in the Episode


Let's Stay Connected

It's always great to hear from you. Please connect with me to ask questions or leave comments about this episode or the podcast in general, and there are several good ways to do this:

  • Share your questions and ideas on the Podcast Feedback page
  • Leave a voice message here, and we may feature your question on an upcoming episode
  • Leave a comment on the show notes below

Help Spread the Message of Positivity!

I would be extremely appreciative if you would subscribe, rate or review our Positivity Strategist podcast. Your ratings and comments will help a lot to spread the message! Here is a guide to writing a quick review, click on iTunes and Stitcher.

 

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  • I'd love it if you can leave a quick review, on iTunes and Stitcher.

 

 

How to have Inspiring Conversations in Early Childhood Leadership, With Susan MacDonald – PS54

Episode Introduction

In this episode, my guest, Susan MacDonald talks about her work in early childhood leadership and how she is bringing appreciative, strength-based, positive change into educational settings.   How I came to meet Susan is a great story.  It was via email.  Susan requested permission to include one of the workshops in my book, Appreciative Inquiry for Collaborative Solutions: 21 Strength-based Workshops in her new book.  Susan shared: “I find your AI workshops outlines very helpful for engaging school leaders and educators in meaningful dialogue and would like to include one in my book.”  Naturally, I was delighted to receive such positive feedback and wanted to learn more from one of my happy customers!

Episode Overview – Early Childhood Leadership

Early Childhood Leadership with Susan MacDonaldSusan MacDonald’s consultancy is Inspiring New Perspectives.  She provides vision-focused leadership support for early childhood educational programs.   She’s  been developing and delivering inspirational courses and workshops for over 25 years.

Later in 20i6, Susan’s book will be published.  The title of her book is Inspiring Early Childhood Leadership: Eight Strategies to Ignite Passion and Transform Program Quality.

Power of Impacting People

Susan was literally born into positivity and strength-based beliefs and practices.  Her mother worked for 42 years in the Family Childhood Care arena, so growing up Susan witnessed first hand the power of impacting people’s lives.

Starting out her career in early childhood education programs, Susan experienced the dominant worldview of leadership as one that focused on all the things that didn’t work in programs, policy and practice.  In her first job, she was asked to find out all the things that were wrong and fix them. She intuitively knew there had to be a better way and set about educating herself to learn how.  Most impactful for Susan was undertaking trainings in coaching.  A major influence on her work has been the work of Bob and Megan Tschannen-Moran whose mission is to transform schools one conversation at a time; and it’s through their book Evocative Coaching where Susan was first introduced to Appreciative Inquiry.  Susan describes this discovery as “very exciting.”

Appreciative Inquiry for Collaborative Solutions

Appreciative Inquiry resonated deeply.  As with most of us who find out about AI, it speaks to us because we find what we have been looking for.  It speaks to our own deep knowing that people are innately good and want to contribute and have a voice, and given the right tools, they seek to see best in each other; and are inspired when they can do meaningful work and have a positive impact. Susan found that Appreciative Inquiry complemented her own intentions in the way she was bringing transformational change into the early childhood leadership space.

It was during this time that Susan discovered my book, Appreciative Inquiry for Collaborative Solutions: 21 Strength-based Workshops. During our conversation, she reveals how she has been inspired by many of the ready-made workshops I offer in this book.

Susan most genuinely stated that building strength-based communities, inspiring strength-based leadership, and helping people be respectful and positive was already living in the materials in my book.  Her three favorite workshops that are foundational to the work she is doing are:

  • Flourishing Communities
  • Appreciating Collaborations
  • Respectful Relationships

How to Introduce Appreciative Inquiry to Others

Including my workshops in her own work with educators in early childhood leadership has been fun, challenging, invigorating , and the work continues to have immediate impact.  Susan offers how using Appreciative Inquiry workshops has transformed people and changed their relationships.  Time and time again, the participants are inspired and want to bring “this” back to their own schools or administrative contexts.  “We need to be doing this!” is a constant refrain after people experience an AI workshop or summit.  This is the common experience of all AI practitioners.  This work is called magical because transformation happens.  Appreciative Inquiry truly touches the heart, making it transformation.  There is a lightness and an intensity that shifts people beyond their head space into their hearts, and they want others to have a similar experience.

Many Success Stories

Listen in to a number of success stories that show how the participants bring their inspirations of working together during the workshops or summits back into their own workplaces.  Susan relays a number of touching examples of how summit participants bring the key concepts and their change agendas to life so they will continue to make a difference long after the initial energy of the workshop experience.

A Positive Vision for Program Quality in Education

Susan’ book Inspiring Early Childhood Leadership: Eight Strategies to Ignite Passion and Transform Program Quality (Gryphon House) is out in September 2016 (link below).  Susan’s focus in writing this book is about bringing quality into programs and leadership in education and how both impact the broader community.  Leadership in education is not just about achieving a certain score. It’s about vision and positive actions across the entire system: children and families, staff meetings and the community. The book offers reflective practices and many “how tos” to help leaders step out of their suits of armor of yesteryear into the quality of early childhood leadership required for the 21st century.

Books Mentioned in this Episode

 

 Let's Stay Connected

It's always great to hear from you. Please connect with me to ask questions or leave comments about this episode or the podcast in general, and there are several good ways to do this:

  • Share your questions and ideas on the Podcast Feedback page
  • Leave a voice message here, and we may feature your question on an upcoming episode
  • Leave a comment on the show notes below

Help Spread the Message of Positivity!

I would be extremely appreciative if you would subscribe, rate or review our Positivity Strategist podcast. Your ratings and comments will help a lot to spread the message! Here is a guide to writing a quick review, click on iTunes and Stitcher.

 

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If this episode was helpful or enjoyable to you,

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  • I'd love it if you can leave a quick review, on iTunes and Stitcher.

Community Strengths and What Makes Us Human, With Jean-Louis Lamboray – PS015

Our guest, Dr. Jean-Louis Lamboray, is Co-founder of Constellation, a non-profit global community development organization. Jean-Louis’ passion is to stimulate local responses where people realize their strengths, their collective capacities and begin to take action toward their dreams. It’s a strength-based, positive approach with the emphasis on real experiences, practice and people doing it for themselves.

Episode Overview – Community Strengths and What Makes us Human

Dr. Jean-Louis Lamboray in episode 15, "What Makes Us Himan"Dr. Jean-Louis Lamboray co-founded a global organization, called Constellation 10 years ago.  It’s a Belgian NGO working around the world to stimulate, empower and connect communities.

Since co-founding Constellation, Jean-Louis has co-created a strengths-based approach to community development called Community Life Competence. The organization is a non-hierarchical network of people and organizations delivering strength-based approaches where learning emerges from within the community and is transferred to others outside.  (Please note, I use the term “community” throughout,  yet this work applies equally to all organizations).

Strength-based Community Development

What Constellation does best is to show that when a community discovers its strengths, it takes ownership, it starts to act and mysterious things happen.  In this episode, I invite Dr. Jean-Louis Lamboray to comment on his own beautiful words inserted below. If you want to be inspired, and if you like good stories, you will absolutely enjoy my interview with Jean-Louis.

For some mysterious reason, I have always felt that at their core, people were good, and that they could achieve a lot if they were engulfed with trust. I keep being amazed by the power of a positive outlook on people and situations. That power not only transforms the situation, it has transformed me.

Program Failure Births a Positive Epidemic

Jean-Louis starts with a story when, as a medical doctor, he was working at the World Bank and together with UNAIDS, he co-founded a program to deal with the AIDs epidemic in a region in Thailand.  He considers the failure of that project – after 5 years of success at arresting the epidemic through local responses, there were no changes in the program’s policy at the institutional level to deal with epidemics at the local level – provoked him to change his own actions.

What actually happened is that he learnt so much from the communities who were able to deal with adversity successfully that he eventually founded Constellation in 2004.  Since then, he has worked on most continents co-creating with communities the process that has become the Community Competence Cycle.  The cycle is SALT, and it stands for:

Stimulate, Appreciate, Learn,Transfer

The cycle starts when Constellation facilitators  visit with a community.  They visit to learn through stimulating conversations with the community.  They truly appreciate what is going on.  Dr. Lombray stresses appreciate in the SALT cycle is not an analytical process.  It is not an audit of assets.  Appreciate is a behavior where they stop and let the mind stand still, so they truly notice what is going on in the present moment. Learning emerges from the conversations and the actions that are actually making a difference.  The community members learn themselves into resourceful actions. The transfer occurs when people talk to each other and they pass on their insights and learnings to their neighboring communities and it multiplies over and over.


PPositivity Lens NotebookOSITIVITY LENS for this Episode

Download Jean Louis' suggested “positive activities” for this episode: Hint- it’s about applying S.A.L.T. to your life.

 

positivity lens

POSITIVITY LENS REVEAL

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Click the button below to open your activity sheet for this episode:

How to Start a Positive Epidemic

With this appreciative disposition, we create neither sinners nor saints. We appreciate that people are good at the core.  We observe their strengths and their competencies.

By looking for what’s working in communities, these three things happen at minimum:

  1. the way we ask ourselves questions and reflect together enables us to learn to recognize our own strengths, allowing us to continue doing what works
  2. by tapping into our own resources to collectively address community concerns, we learn what more is possible
  3. we are transformed by those conversations and learnings which then multiply over and over. An excellent indicator of success is the transfer.  It comes after the community realizes that we can do it by ourselves.

Thereby, a positive epidemic is unleashed. The process is generic. Every group has within the essential resources to carry out action towards a dream.

What Makes Us Human

Dr. Lamboray’s book, What Makes Us Human is available in French and Spanish and will be available English by the end of 2014.   It’s a book that tells the story of Constellation and the SALT cycle.  It verifies that, as humans co-existing on this plant we are all in this together.  The most appropriate metaphor for organizational life comes from nature, not from machines.  Our organizations are evolving.  That’s a beautiful thing.

What makes us human is our connection with others, with nature, with our innate gifts; and, as humans, our aspirations are similar the world over: we want to be free to have dreams; we want to find ways to work together, to be truly happy at work, and most of us are in service of a higher purpose.

This is a longish podcast.  If you’re interested in life-centric change, community engagement, positivity, empowerment, how to unlearn and move out of the cage of rigid constructs, you will truly enjoy listening to Dr. Jean-Louis Lamboray.

Links Mentioned in this Episode

Books Mentioned In This Episode:

Let's Stay Connected

It's always great to hear from you. Please connect with me to ask questions or leave comments about this episode or the podcast in general, and there are several good ways to do this:

  • Share your questions and ideas on the Podcast Feedback page
  • Leave a voice message here, and we may feature your question on an upcoming episode
  • Leave a comment on the show notes below

Help Spread the Message of Positivity!

I would be extremely appreciative if you would subscribe, rate or review our Positivity Strategist podcast. Your ratings and comments will help a lot to spread the message! Here is a guide to writing a quick review, click on iTunes and Stitcher.

Listen to Stitcher

Subscribe-iTunes-180x120

Subscribe Via RSS

If this episode was helpful or enjoyable to you,

  • I invite you to share it using the social media buttons on the bottom of this page.
  • I'd love it if you can leave a quick review, on iTunes and Stitcher.

The NICE Reboot – Entrepreneurial Know-How, with Penina Rybak – PS013

Penina Rybak Image

The NICE Reboot – Episode Summary

Women, entrepreneurs, passion, courage, mentors, positivity are topics covered in this episode with Penina Rybak, speaker and author of “The NICE Reboot.”  This digital age is such a gift to women who live true to the feminine values of transparency, collaboration, and care. Access to thought leaders who can be virtual mentors and whose experiences and expertise is readily available on-line opens up unprecedented opportunities.  Penina outlines how, despite personal health issues and the tragic loss of her own mentor and best friend, rebooted her life to be the bootstrapped entrepreneur she is today.

Entrepreneurial Know-How

What it takes to be a female entrepreneur is the topic of my conversation with Penina Rybak. Penina is a speaker, author, speech therapist and entrepreneur.  She is CEO of Socially Speaking LLC and Director of The NICE Initiative for Female Entrepreneurship.

My observation is that Penina is tirelessly committed to her mission:

“To embed social entrepreneurship into the DNA of all entrepreneurship and to provide strategies, forums, seminars, coaching, and opportunities, to help more women successfully partake of both the Entrepreneurial and Tech Revolutions in the iEra which have intersected.”

I met Penina at a eWomensNetworking lunch recently.  We found resonance in our shared passion for spreading awareness about all the opportunities that exist in the world today in this social age especially for women in business. We’re both speakers, authors, workshop facilitators, have a good presence on all the social networks, and enjoy engaging in this space; we’re both app developers and mission-driven.  No wonder we clicked!

Personal Setbacks and a Reboot

Penina switched careers from a speech therapist to an entrepreneur in two short years.  Her story comes from her unraveling,  understanding and acting on the patterns that precipitated big changes in her life.

A series of personal setbacks, including her own near death experience and losing her best friend and mentor to cancer had Penina rebooting her life and renewing herself through a deep search into her own inner and outer worlds in order to re-engage with the world.

Change is like fireworks

Penina beautifully describes how change happens like fireworks, a series of events firing one after another, propelling us into and lining up new directions.  She promised her dying friend, she would step out onto the bigger stage to share what she herself was learning, launching Socially Speaking LLC to be a beacon in her profession as a speech therapist.

Then a few years later, she realized there was an even bigger stage. Her message was to be expanded. She founded The NICE Reboot and NICE initiative to be a guide for those who are embarking on their own change journey.

The NICE Reboot: A Guide to Becoming a Better Female Entrepreneur
In preparation for the bigger stage and stepping into the role of entrepreneur, Penina did was she does best. She read; and read; and researched; and networked; and connected.  As a result, within six months she turned this highly productive effort into a highly practical book to help all women reboot their lives.

All her learnings are now published as a resource she herself would have valued – a guidebook to entrepreneurship. The book: The NICE Reboot: A guide to becoming a better female entrepreneur.

NICE works for women & there’s so much more

Penina chose the acronym N.I.C.E. because of the play on words.

N – is for being NICE

Women especially are socialized to be nice; and it is a positive attribute:  it’s an acknowledgment of the strength of women’s soft skills and our nurture gene.  We are expected to be nice and most of us are.

I – is for being INFORMED

In this digital age, it’s essential we stay informed and all the tools and technologies are there to help us and make it far easier than ever before.

C – is for being COMPETENT

Today, if we can read and have access to the internet, we have no excuse.  We can become entrepreneurs, should we desire that road,  more readily with all the resources available than at any other time.

E – is for being ENTREPRENEURIAL

To have an entrepreneurial mindset is to think globally and appreciate the impact we can have.  The growth in social entrepreneurship is especially exciting and calling to many of us who have a desire to leave a positive imprint on the world.

Highlights of Penina’s episode

  • A painful time can become a most productive time
  • Women are extremely versatile and can reboot and are ready to reboot
  • Tools are so readily available; we are globally connected in unprecedented ways
  • The patterns can be found all around us.  Pay attention. Nothing is random.
  • Learn from those who cross our path to discover things about ourselves.
  • Live in the moment and worry less about outcomes.
  • Pay attention and find the connections.
  • Avail yourself of all the thought leadership and virtual mentors out there writing on blogs and engaging in social networks.
  • Go for diversity of experiences; meet and develop relationships with people different from you.
  • Pay attention to who crosses your path, as they inform the trajectory of your life.

The attributes of the woman entrepreneur

Listen to how Penina addresses the issues of how much, and how little we know, and the relevance of demographics.  She also talks about her attributes as a woman and what she values about herself and her most teachable moments.

The role of culture, generational values and capital

The millennials are doing their part expecting cultures of transparency, collaboration, participation, authenticity and teamwork in workplaces.  Many are more turned on by mission driven organizations and social entrepreneurship than big bucks.  They are here to serve. Reverse mentorship in some organizations is providing great value where young people bring seniors up to date with technology and leadership is shared.

Humor and Positivity

A sense of humor and a positive attitude can take you a long way.  Being optimistic to say “Yes” is to open up possibilities, opportunities, and diverse experiences.  Focusing on what will be your legacy and how you want to be remembered expands your horizons, provides a sense of purpose, offers clarity and helps you find your peace.

Links Mentioned in this Episode

Penina's Social Media Profiles

Books Mentioned In This Episode:

Joy in Pakistan, And Undertold Stories with Cathy Joseph – PS006

Episode Summary

Cathy JosephIn this episode, my special guest is my most wonderful friend and colleague, Cathy Joseph.  Cathy has much to share about her life with appreciative inquiry.  She has recently returned from an amazing project in Islambad, Pakistan.  Cathy shares the joy of her project in Pakistan and taunts us with the beginnings of undertold stories, and what has touched her about this work.

Cathy, is an independent consultant and trainer with a specialization in talent management and strength-based change.  

Appreciative Inquiry was Right

When Cathy first learned about Appreciative Inquiry at a professional conference, it felt right that this is how she wanted to work in corporations – bringing participatory methods allowing everyone to have a voice, to bring out the best in every one. Intuitively, this made sense.  It ran counter to the corporate culture she had been immersed in.

A High Point Story of Joy

Cathy has  many high point stories starting from doing her AI Certification at Case Western Reserve University to her most recent experience in Islamabad.  What was surprising for her among the group of trainees in Pakistan was how the dominant mindset was tied to traditional problem solving.  When they finally were able to apply the learnings and provide the AI interview experience to the kids in their pilot program at the Mashal Model School, they were astounded that the kids got it.  The children ranging from 9 to 16 embraced the interviews to share their joy of their past experiences and then to share dreams of the future.  They shared their imaginings of a peaceful world of service, verbally in Urdu and through their artwork.  Examples of their dreams of the future included:

  • Being teachers so they also could support their community and show care, just as they were experiencing from their teachers
  • Being a doctor who didn’t want to charge for services
  • Themes of togetherness, playing together, being together.  They were very inclusive in their thinking
  • One little girl drew a house with a window, because her dream was to be able to sit in a chair and see the sun through a window that she didn't yet have.

These transformational experiences for the trainees and the students were high point stories for Cathy.

What is Positivity to You?

Joy in Pakistan, And Undertold Stories with Cathy Joseph

  • A way of being, a mindset, philosophy,
  • Many parts that make up the whole
  • Fundamental knowing that things are good.  Even in moments of darkness – it is a moment.  At the end of the day, I'm going to be okay, all right.  It allows me to get through.
  • Barb Fredricksen's work on positivity –  we build up a reservoire of positivity over time which helps us

How to Deal with Negativity

Cathy’s had a lot of experience with negativity.  Negativity is a reality, just as positivity is a reality.  Learning that her perspective is also valid and she could presented it with a solid knowing was liberating for her.

  • It takes baby steps to shift the perspective from seeing only why things will not work to “yes, it’s a possibility that it may work.”
  • From a negative situation, she always has hope that something good will come out of it.  “It’s linked to positivity – as it’s my default mindset.  There are always these pieces of hope”.
  • The lens of hope and possibity can trump the fear and sense of loss.
  • The overwhelming feeling that comes from being with like-minded people who embrace the same mindset works always.
  • Focussing on something better.
  • Knowing that the languague around AI is a way to talk about, and, have credibility for her own thinking – a process and history that it works.  It’s not just being Pollyanna.

 Power of Corporations to Change the World

An advocate of CSR, a big aspirational conversation Cathy would like to be part of is that big corporations do have the power to change the world.  It is good business to do good in the world.  We need these change agents in corporations who can bring about positive change.   Appreciative Inquiry is a way to do this and help with collaborations across corporations, NGOs, governments working as change agents.

Links Mentioned in this Episode

Let's Stay Connected

It's always great to hear from you. Please connect with me to ask questions or leave comments about this episode or the podcast in general, and there are several good ways to do this:

  • Share your questions and ideas on the Podcast Feedback page
  • Leave a voice message here, and we may feature your question on an upcoming episode
  • Leave a comment on the show notes below

Help Spread the Message of Positivity!

I would be extremely appreciative if you would subscribe, rate or review our Positivity Strategist podcast. Your ratings and comments will help a lot to spread the message!

Listen to Stitcher

Subscribe-iTunes-180x120

Subscribe Via RSS

 If this episode was helpful or enjoyable to you,

  • I invite you to share it using the social media buttons on the bottom of this page.

Strength-based Business Education with Dr Lindsey Godwin – PS005

Episode Summary

My special guest is the brilliant Dr. Lindsey Godwin. Associate Professor Robert P. Stiller School of Business, Champlain College, Burlington, VT.

Lindsey is an exceptional human being with an amazing career that spans the globe.  Lindsey is not only a Professor in a business school, but she has close professional relationships with businesses locally and internationally.  Lindsey has sat the table with the Dalai Lama and has shared the stage with the Presidents of global corporations and the elected presidents and politicians of countries.  I’m not naming names.  Except to say Lindsey received her PhD in Organizational Behavior from Case Western Reserve University, where she studied with the founding thought leaders in AI — David Cooperrider and Ron Fry.

A dream start to a career

Business EducationLindsey’s start in higher education in business was not necessarily by design.  She was a seeker – as a student of biology, psychology, sociology, she was called to find out more about organizational behavior.  She loved the people who were doing this work and followed her heart to the doctoral program at Case Western Reserve University.

It was a fortuitous time to be at Case, with the lauch of a new project Business as an Agent of World Benefit (BAWB)  which has since become a center. And she was also invited as a doctoral student among others to the first Appreciative Inquiry summit at the United Nations Global Compact, invited by Kofi Annan to establish partnerships between governments, corporations and NGOs to tackle global initiatives

Following the heart

Lindsey reflects that when you follow your calling, your heart, your passion, paths and opportunities open up that you wouldn’t believe to be possible because in the moment things may not make sense.

When Lindsey became aware of Appreciative Inquiry, she found a framework and set of principles that allowed her to work more to her strengths.

Highpoint story of an AI Summit

In Burlington VT, the ECHO center (Ecology, Culture, History, Opportunity)  convened an AI Summit that Lindsey co-designed and facilitated with the affirmative topic of “Blue Water in Green Mountains.” The Summit engaged multi stakeholders – educators, politicians, faith-based groups, national and international thought leaders who came together to roll up their sleeves with local citizens to engage around infrastructure, opportunities, partnerships with businesses and non-profits to ensure that in the next 10 – 30 there would be clean water in the lakes. The notion of “one drop” makes a difference has been an ongoing theme for the local community.

Positive Outcomes from the Summit

  • ECHO recognized its value as an ongoing convener, facilitator to open up space to create opportunities and initiatives around environmental issues allowing multiple constituents to come together.
  • The organization was most excited about the model of holding secondary summits focused on specific topics over the next 10 years.
  • The ongoing conversation is focused around how do we become more resilient as a community, creating resilient infrastructure, communities and actions.

Positive Examples of Collective Resiliency

Aftermath of Hurricane Irene brought to light many positive examples of collective resiliency.  There were positive examples of communities surviving and infrastructures doing well after the hurricane. What were these examples, and what were the factors that lead to some communities being more resilient than others?  The objective  of the inquiry is to lift those examples up and learn from them; expand them and replicate them so they can be beacons and can be expanded upon further.

The conversations will be enlarged and amplified. Resiliency has shifted from the individual to collective resiliency.  We need resilient organizations; we need a resilient planet.

Collaborative, participatory, dispersed leadership

We cannot tackle issue today without the whole system – any AI summit  ensures all voices are part of this.

Today we live in a world of radical transparency – access to information is at our fingertips.  We have expectations to have our voices heard and enlightened leaders, who lead with rather than lead over recognize the power of the shared leaderhsip model. An empowered work forces expects to be also an engaged workforce.

Customers of business or social sectors are all part of the conversations now.  This wonderful time in history with tools and technologies, there is the fundamental human desire to connect.

Meaning of  positivity

Positivity is not only about the positive, implying we can’t talk about certain things – it’s just the opposite!  Positivity is all about possibility. Linsdey referenced Gervase Busche's article, iAppreciative Inquiry is not (just) about the positive.

Positivity creates generativity and possibility.  From the science of neuro psychology, we are left wondering where do we start the conversation around positivity and how can we learn more about it.   It can start anywhere.

Positivity opens us up to tackle the thorny issues and opens us to the energy to address matters from this generative, possibility-focused perspective.  We can now to look at the root causes of success.

Big aspirational conversation

How do we do this appreciative work at all levels?  Reference to the new book currently in the works by Lindsey and David Cooperrider that expands on the impact and influence and possibility of the intersection of the strengths revolution.

  1. How do we lift up strengths at all levels in society?
  2. How do we align the strengths?
  3. How to we use them to create organizations  that are refractions and reflections of our best selves?

Links Mentioned in this Episode

I'd love to hear from you!

Please connect with me to ask questions or leave comments about this episode or the podcast in general, and there are several good ways to do this:

  • Share your questions and ideas on the Podcast Feedback page
  • Leave a voice message here, and we may feature your question on an upcoming episode
  • Leave a comment on the show notes below

Help Spread the Message of Positivity!

I would be extremely appreciative if you would subscribe, rate or review our Positivity Strategist podcast. Your ratings and comments will help a lot to spread the message!

Listen to Stitcher

Subscribe-iTunes-180x120

Subscribe Via RSS

 If this episode was helpful or enjoyable to you,

  • I invite you to share it using the social media buttons on the bottom of this page.