1. Curiosity and the Effective Leader

    September 25, 2015 by Elaine Suess

    Some of you may remember the phrase from the National Enquirer – “enquiring minds want to know.”  However, most of you likely have not heard of positive change approach Appreciative Inquiry (AI). It starts with curiosity, as did the Enquirer, but then dramatically diverges. Curiosity, in the case of AI, did not kill the cat, but instead, increased its knowledge and propelled it to heights.

    The Challenge

    Meeting with “Tom” over a period of months in a coaching engagement revealed difficulty with an employee seemed to be representative of Gallup’s actively disengaged research numbers on employees — not willing to give an extra minute to work, not interested in the work, and not a “team player.”  In discussing the power of inquiry, “Tom” courageously decided to try the Appreciative approach with what he considered to be this difficult employee. (more…)


  2. Pummeling Our Opponents

    October 31, 2014 by Elaine Suess

    In the midst of election commercials and phone calls, pummeling your opponent is common fare. We regularly see ads lacking restraint, telling us who’s right and who’s wrong.

    But how does this approach work for leaders, who are not simply focused on a single race, but rather, on creating wins that last long after “the battle” is over.

    Inquiry and Restraint

    When we’re called upon to take action in the midst of business challenges such as “employees not doing their jobs”, “colleagues overstepping their bounds” or “stakeholders who just don’t see our side of a disagreement”, we can model the way and create a win for all with a mix of inquiry and restraint.

    Choosing the best approach will have lasting impact.

    What Doesn’t Work (more…)


  3. Finding The Positive Core

    November 27, 2013 by Elaine Suess

    Ah, Thanksgiving! A time when many people in the United States take a moment to reflect on what they are most thankful for.

    As we consider what we are most thankful for in the world around us, it makes sense to extend this discovery process to the people we lead and work with on a daily basis.

    When we find employees who do not exhibit or behave with a spirit of thanksgiving, it’s our job to help them find their own best selves, or bring back their spark.

    I’ll suggest three strategies to help you do this:

    1. Consider why your employees are at your organization. It’s rarely just because it’s the only job that can be found, or that yours is the only place that will pay them. Find out why they chose your organization. (more…)

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