At the beginning of 2019, I searched for most popular topics in business. What came up as top two were Managing People and Leadership. I was surprised and delighted. It would delight me even more to see Appreciative Leading also show up. It might be a while before I see that, and I am working on it. “What will it take in terms of changing mindsets and behaviors to make that dream come true?” I ask.
The World Economic Forum in mid 2018 continued to include Creativity, People Management, Co-ordinating with Others, Emotional Intelligence and Cognitive Flexibility among the top ten skills required as we move into the world of automation and the other AI (Artificial Intelligence). Included in that image of a future work place, I see many young people move into leading roles bringing with them new ways of being and doing.
Season 3 of Positivity Strategist Podcast focuses on what it takes to be a leader today as we move rapidly into this new world. My conversations with innovators offer a lens of what it is to be valued and appreciated. I've named Season 3 Appreciative Leading.
What does it mean? How do they do it? What results do they achieve for their people, organizations and their own careers? How do they inspire?
You will hear the next Season's first show next week – February 14th – Valentine's Day!
Why did I choose the name Appreciative Leading and not the more known terms of appreciative leadership or even appreciative leaders? I went through a number of iterations. After all, a name is important, not only to connote the meaning intended and communicate effectively, but also in this digital age, being found on the internet is important. Therefore, finding a search term that works also mattered.
I opted for “leading” for the name of this new season, even though it's not a word that is as popular as “leadership” or “leader.” The meaning that I want to convey is more important to me than the term that's the most popular on the internet at the time. “Leading” is about the action, the doing, the behavior, and you can be leading in many ways. You can be leading in your field, in your role, in you home, community, profession. “Leader” suggested to me it’s about the person and “leadership” about the process.
The people I chose to interview are those who are actively leading in what they do. It's not about title, or position, or status. It's about their contribution and innovations and inventions.
The appreciative part is all about the worldview, the philosophy, principles and practice of the transformational change methodology my guests are familiar with, and which I teach, speak about, write about and practice. Enfolded in the term “appreciative” are strengths-based and positive approaches to personal, career and organizational development.
Stories of Appreciative Leading
In Season 3, Appreciative Leading, beautiful guests share their experiences of leading from an appreciative mindset with appreciative principles and practices. I am excited to speak with business leaders, entrepreneurs, and with professionals
- who are innovative in their field and creating cool products or services that are grounded in appreciative practices, strengths and positivity
- are in professions or doing jobs that are not yet typically associated with Appreciative Inquiry, for example: law, journalism, entrepreneurship, healthcare
- have invested in themselves and have used the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) methodology in their organizations with external support. For a number of them, the consultant, practitioner, or facilitator has been paid and left the building, and they find themselves on their own to make it work.
So I was curious to talk to people doing Appreciative Inquiry outside the proverbial box. And in doing so, through this growing medium of podcasting 630,000 + shows, I’d be bringing attention to how my guests are contributing in their unique ways to making the organizations and by extension the world a kinder, fairer and more decent place for more of us. And, through their stories, you'd be inspired to learn more about this field and go out and continue your good work.
Who is Leading in this Way and How is it Sticking?
My quest then is this who’s making AI work and stick? It’s not easy to bring positive approaches to a world that is educated in deficit thinking and surrounded by pathological, fear-based discourse. We grow up being asked “what’s wrong ?” Marketing courses teach us to focus on the customer pain.
You'll hear stories from an American attorney who is transforming the legal profession globally to reframe the profession as peacemakers! A Canadian journalist who is transforming the craft of investigative journalism to that of generative journalism. An Australian healthcare professional who is transforming how we talk about aging and death. An American College President who is designing his strategic plan as a community conversation. An American HR Vice-President in the eco-environmental industry talks about how her organization is embedding Appreciative Inquiry into her culture and making it stick. An American bureaucrat who is working to transform the leadership culture of her Agency, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A CEO in the Netherlands who has created a video series of portraits on the topic of “The Soul of Appreciative Leadership.” An American entrepreneur who is investing in transforming his city of 3 million people in Florida through positive change initiatives.
Questions about Appreciative Leading
The following questions are samples of what I invited the guests to focus on. Together, we explore how they have been applying these generative, relational, democratic approaches in their contexts and noticing the difference.
- How are you as a leader – what does being an appreciative leading mean to you?
- How do you influence others to embrace the AI path? How did you bring AI into your organization?
- What’s worked for you and what might be helpful to for others to know?
- What changes have you wanted to introduce and what are you experiencing about the process of the changes?
- With leading change in your organization, how are you maintaining the momentum, meaning keeping the changes your colleagues suggest alive and implementing them, providing resources, keeping the upward positive, generative spirals in the organizations.
- What inspires you about the work you do?
- And if there was one thing you wish those actively leading thought about when it comes to bringing out the best in ourselves and others, what would it be?
Valentine's Day Launch
From my heart to yours, on February 14th, 2019 I invite you to join me and my beautiful guests, for the first show of Season 3 as we explore this very special topic of Appreciative Leading on Positivity Strategist Podcast.