Tag Archives: Appreciative Inquiry

Best Posts of Jeremiah Stanghini’s Blog in 2012: Top Posts, Part 3

Over the last two days, I’ve shared some of the top posts from Genuine Thriving both those written in 2012 and those written in any year. Today will be the last in the series of three where I’ll look at those posts that garnered the most views right here — on this site. There is one thing that is worth noting before sharing the top 6 posts. On Genuine Thriving’s site, there used to be only an excerpt shown with the post. So, if someone wanted to read the whole post, they had to click the link (this was just how the theme worked). On this site, however, I specifically chose a theme where folks wouldn’t have to click a link to view the whole post (only to share or comment because those links are on the post’s page). As a result, the statistics for the most popular posts are sure to be skewed because people may have read a certain post more than another, but without them clicking the link for the post, there’s no way (that I know of) for me to know. On top of that, the theme I’ve chosen here allows the viewer to scroll (all the way to the first post!) What does that mean? When you’re on the homepage, you can continue to scroll down and more posts will load… all the way ’til you get to the first post. And in looking at the statistics of the top posts, it’s clear that “scrolling down” is far and away the most popular “post” on this site. With that in mind, here they are with an excerpt for each:

Appreciative Inquiry and George Mason University’s Strategic Vision

Getting back to AI: I really like this method. By focusing on the positives of an organization, it certainly feels like there’s a better energy about the process. I could be demonstrating one of my biases, but even the faculty facilitator (who was there at the birth of this method in 1987!) spoke about the importance of steering clear of falling into a trap of opining the things that an organization lacks. Why? Simply stated: that list is never-ending.

There Is No Fiscal Cliff: A Lesson in Metaphor

I’ve written about the importance of words, but when it comes to instances like this, the words we use are even more important. The fact that so many of us are constantly using this metaphor to discuss the impending changes to America‘s fiscal policy makes the metaphor that much more entrenched. And by extension, that also makes those people who only hear about these changes in passing that much more frightened (by the metaphor).

Some Men Just Want to Watch the World Burn: Lessons from Hurricane Sandy

It looks like the internet makes quick work of fake images, but might still have a little while to go before it no longer falls prey to digital deception. In fact, Prof. Drezner argues that the internet does well with fast-moving memes (pictures, stock market flooding, etc.), but has a harder time with slow-moving memes (Pres. Obama was born in Kenya). It’s worth reading.

The Marshmallow Study Revisited: Context Matters!

A little over a week ago, the University of Rochester published some research that ‘updates’ the marshmallow experiment. I have to say, I’m quite pleased with the findings. Previously, it was thought that the participant’s ability to control themselves from eating the marshmallow in front of them and hold out for the second marshmallow was an indication that the participant may be more likely to succeed in the future. With this updated addendum, if you will, it now seems that there is more to the experiment than simply self-control.

Money Doesn’t Matter, Right?

Being in an MBA program, I’m certainly sympathetic to the argument thatmoney does matter, but after watching this video, I was reminded of a story I’ve heard on many occasions. The story’s fame was aided because it was printed inFerriss‘ “The 4-Hour Work Week“.

Democrats Get More Votes Than Republicans — Still Lose The House of Representatives

For those people who follow American politics, it’s quite understandable as to why this happened. Every 10 years, there’s a Census in the US and as a result, an update on the population of the states. By extension, those states are then responsible for redrawing the districts [areas of representation]. Since the 2010 election was one where there was a great deal of Republicans swept into office, it made it easier for them to redraw the districts in a way that made it easier for members of their party to keep their seats. This is known as gerrymandering and it’s not unique to the Republicans. had the Democrats won, they most certainly would have done the same thing.

If You’re a Senior Executive and You’re Not on Twitter, You’re Doing It Wrong

I’ve seen a number of articles in the past 12 months (here’s one, and another, and another still) that discuss CEO’s and social media. Of the three I pointed to in the previous sentence, two are for and one is against. On the whole, I think the majority of what I’ve read in the popular press is that CEOs should be on social media. There are a number of good reasons (know your market, humanizing your brand, appearance of accessibility, etc.), but I learned of an externality last week.

When I was at the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) event, I was with a number of staff at George Mason University. Our aim at this event was to share positive things about Mason, which is one of the purposes of AI. During this sharing, it was possible to overhear conversations of other groups around the room (especially when there was a pause/lull in my group’s discussion). In a couple of these silences, I overheard groups talking about the President of George Mason University — Angel Cabrera — who is known for, among other things, being on Twitter.

In fact, a couple of these people who were talking about it, mentioned that this was the reason that they joined Twitter — just so that they could follow the President! And this isn’t the only time that I’ve heard of faculty/staff joining Twitter just to see what the President was saying. While these pockets of people saying this may not be a representative sample, it certainly seems like it might be the beginning of a trend, or at least something that’s worth noticing.

In a couple of the articles I mentioned in the opening paragraph, the authors specifically point to social media being a way for CEOs to connect with their employees. After hearing about these folks at Mason who joined Twitter just for President Cabrera, I can see other benefits, too. Once these folks are on Twitter, they may be more likely to follow other conversations and continue their learning/development. But more than that — for the company/brand/organization/school, these employees will be showing potential customers/employees another window into the workings of the company/organization. That may have been a confusing sentence. By being on Twitter, these employees could offer a window of what it’s like on the inside.

So, while there are obvious benefits of CEOs partaking in social media, I think it’s important to point out some of the externalities that result from CEOs being on Twitter  — namely — their employees joining Twitter. As you’ll notice in the title of this post, I would argue that senior executives should join Twitter, so not just the CEO (or President, in the case of George Mason University). In fact, at George Mason University, you’ll find that President Cabrera isn’t the only senior executive on Twitter. Mason’s Provost (Peter Stearns) is on Twitter, the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (Jack Senser) is on Twitter, the Dean of the College of Education and Human Development is on Twitter (Mark Ginsberg), etc.

So — if you’re a senior executive, make your way to social media — now! And for all the employees out there, head on over to social media to check and see if your company’s/organization’s senior executives are on Twitter… you never know.

Appreciative Inquiry and George Mason University’s Strategic Vision

This morning I was fortunate to be part of an Appreciative Inquiry (AI) event at George Mason University. If you’re not familiar with AI, from Wiki: “Appreciative Inquiry is primarily an organizational development method which focuses on increasing what an organization does well rather than on eliminating what it does badly.” The whole purpose of today’s AI was, “to help shape aspects of the new Vision related to Mason’s mission, values and the Mason Graduate (the attributes we wish all of our students have in common by the time they graduate).” Currently, George Mason University is creating a new strategic vision.

During my time as the student body president of Saginaw Valley State University, I contributed to the university’s strategic planning process. I was fortunate that during my time as the president coincided with when the university was in the process of redoing its 5-year plan. I say this because at the AI event today was George Mason University’s student government president. It made me a bit nostalgic about my time in that role.

Getting back to AI: I really like this method. By focusing on the positives of an organization, it certainly feels like there’s a better energy about the process. I could be demonstrating one of my biases, but even the faculty facilitator (who was there at the birth of this method in 1987!) spoke about the importance of steering clear of falling into a trap of opining the things that an organization lacks. Why? Simply stated: that list is never-ending.

The group of folks that I spent morning with really came up with some great ideas. This process gave me a new appreciation for some of the positives of George Mason University. In fact, I even joked with the group that it made me want to forget about moving back to Canada and get a job here at Mason.

Lastly, I wanted to say that today’s event reinforced my enjoyment of being part of strategic planning. While there wasn’t any actual “strategic planning” that happened today, I knew that the things that the larger group (of about 100 people) talked about today would be a data point that could be used by those folks who are doing the strategic planning. So, in a larger sense, today’s event was about strategic planning. And strategic planning is something that I can get really excited about.

Oh, one last thing. There was a really great line that was said during the meeting that the room seemed to love. I captured it in a tweet: