Archive for January, 2012

Words Create Worlds ® – January 2012 Newsletter

Have you made your New Years Resolution yet?

In November, I had the great opportunity to work with an NGO in Eastern Africa. What a team! They work long hours and face circumstances that are unimaginable to so many of us. The caring, compassion and commitment is not only to the people they work with but also to each other. The amazing energy of their offices, their conversations and of their playful times was a joy to behold. The chief executive officer and human resources director are immensely caring and passionate people who recognize that time together is finite and how we live each moment reflects upon us, upon our soul. It is what brings us to the next level of our being. Knowing that the mind, body connection is so integral to each employees well-being, they have twice weekly yoga and salsa dancing. Their office space is open and light-filled, lunch is provided each day. Participation is all voluntary but the space for joining together and reflection is within reach and encouraged.

On the long flight home, I made my resolution to spend more time in the moment and more time with the people and things that mean so much to me. Some energizing moments will just happen. Others will require planning and scheduling. I need to keep my energy open for those moments and seize them. I also need to create the space and make it happen. Both/and.

Today, was one of those both/and times for us in the office. While I will not compare our work to that of my friends in Eastern Africa, we have some similarities in our sense of the world and our place in it. I had made a commitment to provide space for more play and reflection at work. One of those fun things is Friday Film Fest. Suddenly, the calendar filled up – and it looked like the first fest may fizzle. Creatively reconfiguring the calendar we were able to fulfill our commitment to others and enjoy our film.


What is a Shared Culture?

Source: Duct Tape Marketing
January 9, 2012

I wish I could give you a crisp definition of what the word culture, with regard to business, really means. It’s a tricky word that finds its way into most discussions regarding the workplace these days.

Like so many things, it’s hard to describe, but you know it when you see it.

The thing is, every business has a culture. It may be strong or weak, positive or negative, or just plain hard to spot, but it’s like a form of internal brand in a way. It’s the collective impression, habits, language, style, communication and practices of the organization. Read Full Article >>

Join the Discussion: 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.

Success: A Breeding Ground for Complacency?

Source: Forbes
January 11, 2012, 9:23am

More often than not, great accomplishments cause individuals and organizations to become comfortable with their way of doing things. Businesses turn static. Workers turn their focus inward. Even the most dynamic of organizations can turn complacent, thinking that what they are doing is right, that there is no need to change, regardless of what’s happening outside…Read Full Story.