Appreciative Inquiry is all about the discovery of the best in humans, their organizations, and the relevant world around them. It involves systematic discovery of what gives “life” to a living system when it is most alive, most effective, and most constructively capable in economic, ecological, and human terms. AI involves, in a central way, the art and practice of asking questions that strengthen a system’s capacity to apprehend, anticipate, and heighten positive potential. It centrally involves the mobilization of inquiry through the crafting of the “unconditional positive question” often-involving hundreds or sometimes thousands of people. In AI the arduous task of intervention gives way to the speed of imagination and innovation; instead of negation, criticism, and spiraling diagnosis, there is discovery, dream, and design. Learn more about Appreciative Inquiry.
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PoP Culture Meet TED Speaker Robyn Stratton-Berkessel
Robyn is an author, a speaker, a podcast host, an app developer, a designer and facilitator, and coach. Her book: Appreciative Inquiry for Collaborative Solutions: 21 Strength-based Workshops (2010) , reached #4 in Amazon “Must Read Positive Business” list Her podcast: Positivity Strategist, reached #1 in iTunes “New and Noteworthy” section Robyn’s iPad app: Embracing Change, reached #2 in iTunes “Business” section.
Robyn’s strengths are leading positive change. She partners with executives and teams around the world, designing and delivering high impact and positive change with a focus on co-creating cultures of ownership, inclusion and collaboration.
Her background includes “Big 4” management consulting, financial and professional services, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, retail, education, not-for- profit and community.
Mentioned on the Podcast
Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC is one of the world’s leading private practice consultants. He is the owner of the Traverse City counseling practice, Mental Wellness Counseling. Joe helps counselors to start private practices and grow them.
Pop 140 | Appreciative Inquiry An Interview With Ted Speaker Robyn Stratton-Berkessel
[0:27] Come to the practice of the practice podcast i’m so glad you’re here.
[0:32] Who am tired just got back from the most awesome conference over in la jolla.
Then after that went up to oregon for my brother’s wedding and it was beautiful and then literally the day we got back my daughter,
both my daughters and my wife were super sick in fact or almost two year old with to go to the er to get re hydrated and so saturday respect just like sitting in the er for like four hours and,
i really told myself i wasn’t gonna do any work,
well i was there’s a red book and just was there with my family and i’m just tired i was taking my now five year old up the stairs to her preschool they’ve probably like,
fifty the stairs that’s great cuz you have to walk up stairs events like this shared like no challenge every morning and she goes.
[1:22] My feet say no but my brain says yes like her body was just so tired to my alarm went off and.
When i woke up and i hit snooze and the volume was just down to low and so will cup like five minutes before should be at school so he screwed around we live like a minute away and got there,
when like fifteen minutes of waking up and she had a good attitude the boy there’s those times when your feet say no in your body says no.
[1:50] In your brain says keep going forward what an awesome piece of insight from my little now five year old just turned five can we to.
So today have an amazing guest but want to first thank simple practice simple practice is the best electronic medical record software out there cloud based the put together super bills for you,
to all your billing is just incredible check them out over a simple practice that come ford slash joe and you get some great insights from them.
And they will walk you through the process of getting set up.
[2:27] I also want to let you know that in the eighth of a slightly pages thursday that’s a little.
Lost the eighth june which is actually tomorrow wednesday june a,
at ten am pacific eleven o’clock mountain twelve o’clock since one o’clock eastern i’m not doing a webinar all about logging and getting so many emails from people sharing that,
they are overwhelmed by blocking the hundred time for blogging they don’t even know,
if she put in the time to like build up log in presents and then there’s other people the other side excited and they have so many ideas didn’t even know what to do with them all.
And so i’m doing this webinar or that’s gonna be all about plugging is just about logging we’re gonna cover the,
three most important steps in using plug-in to get new clients in your counseling practice or in any other health care practice kira,
people massage therapist people like that so again it’s gonna be at one pm eastern standard time,
on wednesday june eighth you can register for that over practiceofthepractice.com,
weather in alright so you can see there is limited to only fifty people so it’s really cool cuz you know in the first fifteen people get again and after that i’m the host hopefully not on the next week and then sue me.
[3:49] Little bit fragments and read it anyway so.
[3:56] What an amazing person i have today and the show i’ve robin’s straighten bur castle,
and she’s incredible she’s an author speaker a podcast host an ap developer,
a designer insulating coach her book appreciative inquiry for collaborative solutions twenty one st based workshops euro in two thousand ten came out,
bye john wiley and sons and reach number for an amazon’s must read positive business list for podcast the positivity strategist reach number one and it is new and know where the and her i’ve had app and bracing change reach number two in itunes,
business section chili keynote at had talk call try this anywhere,
and just an incredible amazing person who has just done so many incredible things so i’m making taco her any marks and let her talk about her.
Today on the show we have robin so take a listen robin welcome to the practice of the practice podcast.
[4:53] Thank you joe i’m excited to be with you i’m excited to have you here we just got done recording my,
leaving everybody on your podcast and now we’re flipping it so what you tell the audience a little bit about yourself but your podcasts and the work you do.
Absolutely i’ll be very happy to do that so i branded myself positivity strategist and my work is in the area of organization,
community and human development so anything from coaching through to facilitating designing workshops in organizations and communities,
so john always being right from the beginning when i was sixteen i said that my career goal was to.
Help people and i have no clue what help people meant and i thought maybe that’s a mission real something but it turns out that i ended up in teaching and i love teaching.
And i was teaching in australia where i come from i was teaching english as a second language to adults immigrants so i never told kids,
then i two adults on how to use language for professional purposes,
and sound with that is that i found that the language is a tool of personal empowerment if you don’t have the language,
of the culture or the language of the region of the language of our tribe or community up the edges.
Answer for that very only time when i wanted to help people and i ended up teaching english es el.
[6:25] I just realize that you have to give people the tools to be the best that they can possibly be.
And so from there i went from and because i was living on grant to grant to grandpa’s it was government funded back in those days.
And i never knew it’s gonna have a job for the next six months.
I decided to do this in a different context of different environment and i want to have a regular job so i went off and did a master’s in management and i ended up doing training and development within corporations,
and so you know twenty five years later i kind of moved through that path from initial teaching three to corporations,
to having a consulting practice to being a designer of positive change in the policy pays came when i first came to the states and that was some time ago and a two thousand four.
A woman is working with we kinda coach together i was actually an associate of hers and she said to rob and she said you’ll gonna love this what is that i trusted her implicitly he said i,
discovered something cool appreciated increase which is a positive strength based approach to change and i thought wow and so intuitively i knew that that’s,
who i was in the world i was very positive by i didn’t know what all that meant but it went off my certification at case western reserve,
and as i’m in a certificate of positive business and society change and you know that’s lexi.
[7:59] And that’s really informed my work ever since so what are some of the tenants of appreciative inquiry for people that are familiar.
Therefore foundational principal’s,
and they have pretty fancy names but the one is that it’s called the construction as president you know since you in accounting area and probably family,
counseling and so on you know about social construction and really want that says is that.
Is in a relationship through the relation of process that we actually make meaning together so in other words through the words we use we create our world in our reality,
and that was kind of what i didn’t have the theory when i was teaching my esl work but it was through the words we use that we shape,
our relationships we shape,
how destiny’s so we are all story tellers that hot so how do you how do you tell your own story what’s the story you tell yourself so that’s why i’m really strong foundational principle about how we construct.
I will give you the words we use relationships that we have how you dress how we eat all those things who hangout with and so on.
[9:14] Another foundational principle is cold symbol can he principle which says that the very first question that you asked stops the change so do you ask an affirmative,
uplifting question or us something that is problem focusing deficit based because of you go back to problem focusing deficit base what are you doing to.
The audience to the energy of the person with whom you are speaking it can be very,
draining at the story knows website i do this consulting work in organizations and i was invited to go into a meeting post a roll out of global rollout of the software.
Product and so that you know these guys have been working for months and months and months and you know it,
before its release you know it’s a very demanding you know very stressful situation so they were cops in this roll out as the first thing the team leader said well you know.
What went wrong and so you can just imagine you can see the energy of the people who been working so long and hard at this,
in the room when he said what went wrong,
people start to look down at the fee they started shifting no eye contact you know that’s what goes through your head blame you know my gonna be hold of the calls for this.
Some parts that meeting i said you know what if you were to stop will me.
Hey you know we’ve had our roll out there are things that worked and there are things that we could have done better.
[10:45] So let’s just stop with what we proud of what worked what things with a client saying that really you meant that.
That i will getting some value out of what we doing you know what with the things and wouldn’t start people off in a very different situation so the second principle is what you focus on grows oh no the very first question you ask.
Stocks start the change process of the energy so i ask uplifting things and i actually did ted talk to fix,
talk and it was cold play falling tree and i demonstrate that,
when you asked like what’s the best thing to happen to you today you can a very different energy than somebody saying what’s up.
[11:30] What happened to him so it’s part of.
Keeping the focus on what’s possible and what energize and what’s the lights people,
tell me to go back yeah i level it this third one is i kind of alluded to before that what you focus on grows and that’s in this language is cool the poetic principle and so i think about,
what you focus on is where your attention goes and that’s what you will get more of so it again if you focus on deficits and you focus on.
And things that deanna josh you will get more of that were is if you would stop focusing on the things that you.
Value in life that are to be appreciated then you will find more of that so you know it’s again about energy and its asking about.
Consciously choosing where we want to put our attention.
[12:27] And so were very good at finding fault with very good at kind of looking for problems you know i talk to mba students in and often say to me that i’m a very good problem solved,
what’s great me we want to be problem solvers that where do you stop it looking at the problem do you stop.
Things that are broken or do you start with wellness and wholeness so where you put your attention but you focus on grows it’s just like you know you go and see a music movie or you listen to a piece of music the public principal means that,
there are endless interpretations of the situation so how i do it and how i interpreted.
Could be different from you but together maybe we can create something that is of value to both of us.
Yeah i makes me think about especially focus on grows that in working with parents.
When they’re focusing always on what their son or daughter is doing wrong then that always becomes the focus a grows and oftentimes behavior even grows,
where as if they look at okay i see this negative behavior how do i teach to it by reinforcing the positive how do i teach to it by showing positive and demonstrating,
what i want to see happen the positive side then that side grows more and often has we see a behavior get eliminated.
Absolutely correct not weight just by your going out in the street and you see a parent with a child.
And the child kind of wants to.
[13:58] Launch out across the street when actually the information is to say no and yell and abuse and the child for doing some something stupid,
and so what is it reinforcing to point where is your by praising the child all by saying hey,
at the note this a different way of doing that you sent me reinforcing a different kind of the head,
but you know as you know joe we have this negative bias and so we programmed from evolution and for evolutionary purposes to focus on danger,
to keep us alive but you know that it’s excited to tigers in coming out to get us,
anymore so we really have to london positivity we have to learn how we can reprogram,
how brain to begin to focus on the things that life is and work for us and that brings me to a fourth principle which is called the positive principle so you know life is full of.
Many many things to work you know does lots of positive affirmation and positive after eight that makes us feel.
We can do more you know that we was well human being so the more positive after that you can bring into a situation just as you were saying no with your,
you know you’re coming before the more that we will nice set and we rewiring our brains.
To be able to do that not builds resiliency and then you know with resiliency means we can.
[15:33] Bounce back from and the situations when they crop up in the future while so many,
lol no i love it if they each one i feel his is so like its own podcast that we could just deep diving each one of these so what’s number five,
oh no i got a mental block for you so don’t back instruction book about political talked about seventeen is young to,
what about positive and you know i have to look at my website to find out that something different will one there’s thinking about is with the positivity strategist podcast you interviewed.
Tons of amazing people what are some things that maybe you’ve noticed are,
either commonalities between them or things that you just personally really resonated with who what.
[16:29] I need people who thought leaders e appreciating cream which is the methodology we’ve been talking about the strengths based approach to change and also people who.
Pause the psychologist going off and on you know a master’s degree in positive psychology and,
that’s the better one of the better known ones is at penn state university and so what’s in common is that is that this is some broiler all of when you focus on what’s possible and what strength and what.
Brings a lot of positive aspect in your world you can be more creative more productive more open and tolerant of so it really is about one of the behaviors that when we start to what,
consciously with shifting our world few and our minds to rewire.
Then we begin to be from what understanding of each other and so in the workplace,
i’m more in the family situation in a community that is opens up to being more available to each other.
And so instead of narrowing of focus which comes from you know often of em based or like i’m feeling like i have to.
[17:44] Pull my head in all protect myself to put the fences up or not be so generous with people because,
i might lose something when you actively consciously work with positivity because it really does impact,
the cellular networks about bodies and our brain sign exes and increases more oxytocin and reduces,
cold is all then we shift behaviors and we open up but we cool with old action repertoire so what we often explore together is what are the practices.
I’m that facilitate this opening up about filled action repertoire so we thinking more expand,
openly with thinking more about being generous and kind and gracious and humble in the world,
this is the opposite and were also thinking about how does that lend itself play out in the behaviors that we have as we kind of enter into relationships with each other.
[18:48] So for someone that may be before today’s interview had never heard of appreciative inquiry.
And they are resonating with what you’re saying what would be some of the first steps that they could take to remove towards this type of thinking.
[19:03] I am sure so is very simple steps could be simply begin to notice.
What would you use just noticed pay attention to how you describe yourself.
[19:18] To your own brain chacha you know when situation or you can hear all your observing all watching tv watching.
Here’s know what’s coming up see you so it really is a step to become,
conscious about your own language your responses to things so it’s really about self-awareness i think that is really a key part of this because unless you start to notice how,
you are thinking about yourself and how you view yourself.
Then how you interact with all this and how you interact with the logic the world at large so going from very kind of egocentric to,
if no send it to well sentry come in the big leaks in human consciousness but it really can’t stop with this begin to notice.
What’s what impact my words and having on others so really focusing on your language is i think.
A great way to start and then building more positive practices into your life,
no like starting the know you’ve heard this many times and why you hear it so many times because it actually works just every morning you get up every night before you go to bed what are three things your grateful for.
And that again is way of delivery beginning to shift the focus all way you’re thinking goes what your thoughts so you can think about you know i’m so grateful.
[20:50] You know for,
the bed i’m lying in the pillow that i have you know the first cup of tea i had this morning hearing the birds chips it could be anything just the little things cuts the small.
Small things that compound and make a big difference you know at the end of any kind of workshop or training all.
[21:14] Summit that i that you know i’m pound of would appreciate having three we will often ask.
What’s being a high point of this experience for you today so people again it’s the kind of question you ask right,
so people begin to think we’ll what was highpoint so they go immediately,
to what to light them what works for them and then a second follow up question is what’s the smallest thing that you can do that will have a positive impact.
The smallest thing that you can do so it’s consciously working with people to stop.
To create shifts within themselves for themselves and then begin to notice what’s the impact that has on those separation increases really the co creative process of seeking to discover.
What works best in human.
[22:09] An organizational systems and so so much of what you’re talking about i think the average counselor.
Thinks or believes but didn’t have labels for so i think this process can be really helpful with a lot of that.
And to take what we’re doing in counseling sessions frequently and say this also applies on,
not just a business level but human level to i’m really interested in that process of.
Have you working with businesses with this mindset because many counselors that i work with that were doing consulting together.
They do not silly see how what they do in sessions can apply to a bigger business or could apply in different settings maybe could you talk a little bit about your work with businesses and how.
How this for this mindset can impacts that work,
yeah we’re gonna give you a story wester that i am very very proud of it in fact there is a case study on my website that people can access,
and that was working with a huge organization i don’t know whether that’s relevant because maybe the small business this but you can kind of extrapolate,
you know working with a very large organisation in the defense industry mind you it was fraught with challenge but the client i’m,
sell me on the way of and she had heard about appreciating crisco one of the things that i find joe is that often people come.
[23:40] And they want this work in their organization because they realize that they have to do something different the same old way of,
people are very jaded people are very tight people are getting burned out and we see that in all kinds of systems you know political system and everything else so they looking to innovation they looking for.
For different ways of engaging so they do a bit of research they come and they not too sure what it is,
the sign said that every year she had a big budget to every two years to do a conference and the conference was,
i’m off and you know they be talking heads,
people talk about best practices and she was the chief diversity and inclusion officer in her organization and so she would invite panelists to come along and they’ll talk about,
success of what they’d implemented in their own organizations and they would be the keynote speakers and so on and the people say the story so great you know this is really fab this information but how do we do it for ourselves right,
i’m so they want to know what actions what can we do have we make a difference in our own organization how can we interact with,
colleagues and bosses and clients different lady that we get a different result because we doing the same ole stuff we get the same old results so she took a risk and it was considered to be re written big risk in and,
engineering male dominated culture many of the employees were ex military because it was icy the defense organization.
[25:18] And so in what we did is we sort to find out.
All the things and we i train people in this process i train twenty four people in house,
and then they went out to the field working did the interviews in cell so basically the methodology is to teach people how to do it themselves robin have the expert come in and do it for them because very often the expertise and goes out the door.
Show you what staying quiet to was when people fail most.
Free to be themselves so what the topic win quite into all.
How how to how you can feel most free.
Coming up and the topic and the freedom to be yourself was kind of what we were seeking into and so we got best stories about that sort of heard of something called positive deviants.
Have you got that no no so what is with positive sevens deviance and that’s also no specific methodology if you go out and you inquire and you interview people about.
And it works great in healthcare sector where all the examples of what people have gone against the rules.
Or convention or regulation buffet got positive results.
Yeah so it’s inviting people to kind of go out there and where people have shown initiative.
[26:49] Innovation take it upon themselves to be step up to their own leadership and they have created a different set of relationship so the produce positive results off and that’s way you find,
the greatest opportunities to than institutionalized something that has just gone under the radar,
up until this point will it be given permission to tell those stories with then you’re fired because you did this but to actually see this is part of a better man process of the organization.
I can imagine that for the people that have achieve positive results but may be found a work around it that would really that would be really in the greeting and empowering.
Yes so you and you touch tone and absolutely correct and this is what my client was wanting to do it’s all about.
[27:42] Culture so what with the culture within an organization bear and how do you begin to create cultural shift so if you are a leader of a team and you really believe that you want.
You want people to be transparent and open an authentic and you want to link her age them to take initiative then.
[28:06] How do you do that so you begin to kind of get people to stop feeling safe.
[28:12] Give him permission as you mention to stop talking about some of the successes that there.
[28:18] Experiencing all some of the things that they’re introducing the not having a positive result,
and that they are seeing the clients more delighted and that you know the employees opening up and having more in-depth conversations together but you know as a leader you would need to kind of.
that opportunity so it your team meetings you might stock you know your weekly team meetings all morning team meetings or whatever it is with you managing a sales force old or whatever you know,
let’s just invest a few moments here and just say what was something that you.
The positively delighted you all you had a good outcome last week something that you did all you know just that really dalai should you call yourself that you made a positive difference in somebody’s life,
so you being so i start to collect those sorts of stories.
And creates the beginning of a shift in what people will share.
And what excites them and how you can actually begin to shape a different story so because of the story that you tell that gets lived out if you want to change a culture.
You start by changing the stories you tell.
[29:27] Wow so if there’s a counselor listening or small business owner listening right now and they are saying to themselves i would love to do that kind of consulting with businesses will be some other steps that they should consider.
[29:40] Well i would invite him to think about exploring what ratings are available in understanding positive psychology and appreciating creep i actually have an online course which is cold.
Be an agent for positive check.
[29:58] In which i i teach people the basics of positive psychology and appreciating cream have to support each other but there are many tools out there me my podcast you know as we’ve already talked about.
I interview people who are doing this so there are lots of practical examples so you begin to understand you know how it’s working in the world.
[30:22] And is there i am actually an adjunct professor at on another online course which is.
I just applications of appreciating creon that through three champagne college up in vermont so,
begin to search for the term appreciating create positive strength base change.
[30:46] Come visit my website positivitystrategist.com and i have a whole page of resources there that people can access and get going,
so in an alley to that the show notes for all of us need that when i take some of those next steps of robin if every.
[31:07] Where i would want them to know that they have such a great possibility.
[31:15] Shifting their own clients to wards am or.
Possibly framed view of the world through beginning to notice how they interact the questions i ask.
[31:30] With a focus the attention of the people that they’re interacting with that.
We don’t have to live in this negative world we are programs i said to focus on negativity and it kinda conditioned into us so stop little practice someone’s of your own.
To stop focusing on the things with it through the gratitude journal or whether it’s through paying attention to your language a lot of things that i’ve spoken about,
so stop yourself how do you make sense of your world how do you make meaning and then when you start to see what how what’s,
what shifting within me because of begins to happen at the cellular level and joe mindfulness is another great way of doing it stop you know by little bit by meditation and.
The meditation that i do every single day it comes from that’s a very old tradition cold loving kindness meditation.
[32:26] And if you do to search for that it’s just a very simple little meditation but it starts to open your heart so the whole thing is root how do you actually open your hot,
and the ball from the cognitive domain what’s the down to you know what’s in our hearts and how we open our heart to others and stop listening.
Without fault is something that i would really emphasize.
Wonderful robin stratton byrd castle thank you so much for being on the practice the practice podcast you actually said the of a free gift for our audience today to at home a little bit about your course.
Well yeah selection of course is not as a free gift but the course is positivitystrategist.com and at the moment it’s four hours of video training with lots workbooks at the moment it’s available for thirty dollars and make it available for thirty dollars wonderful things discount.
Yeah but my pleasure and the other thing is if people went to my website your positivity strategy stock com they would find a number of free resources like an introductory e-book,
to i which is free of simple you either lot of little kind of tools a pop up that people can,
axis alot of freak free resources perfect well we will have links to all of that in the show notes and thank you so much robin for being on the practice of the practice podcast.
Joe is being able to talk about the stuff that i really believe in and makes a huge difference will have a wonderful day thank you joe.
[34:15] There ya have it you can access all those resources over a practiceofthepractice.comsession140.
Pretty crazy awesome also again want to thank simple practice simple practice of the best electronic medical records out there.
Therapist to check him out and simplepractice.com/joe,
and also just to remind you about my wedding r it’s tomorrow so tomorrow june eight want to see you there at one pm eastern standard time ten am pacific.
And you can start over packs of practice that time for such logging dash wedding r you guys are awesome i’ll talk to you next week remember when your feet say no.
Your brain says yes thanks for letting me tears and rain have an awesome.
[35:07] Where special thanks in advance ounces sexy and do we like music in this podcast to sign right after thirty two information weird.
Whatever its given to understand news host a publisher or get surrendering legal accounting clinical are the professional information can a professional use violence to.