Tag Archives: 2011mar

Leaders are distinguished by relentless effort, steadfastness, competence and attention to detail.

Model The Way


“Titles are granted, but it’s your behavior that wins you respect.  If you want to gain commitment and achieve the highest standards, you must be a model of the behavior that you expect of others.”

“To model effectively, you must first believe in something.  As a leader, you are supposed to stand up for your beliefs, so you had better have some beliefs to stand up for.  The first commitment you must make, then, is to find your voice by clarifying your personal values and the expressing them in a style that is authentically your own.”

“Eloquent speeches about your personal values are not nearly enough.  Your deeds are far more important than your words when expressing how serious you are about what you say, and your words and deeds must be consistent.

“The personal-best projects we (Kouzes and Posner) heard about in our research were all distinguished by relentless effort, steadfastness, competence and attention to detail.

The Leadership Challenge Workbook by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner  2003 Jossey-Bass page 10.



Learn more about the results of the 2010 Census

  Michigan Has Big Regional Differences

  in Per-Capita Income (2008)


    1.  Oakland County         $53,650

    2.  Midland County             $41,990

    3.  Leelanau County         $40,656

    4.  Washtenaw County $39,107

    7.  Macomb County         $36,462

  13.  Kent County                   $35,099

    Michigan Average        $34,953

  15.  Ingham County         $33,685

  23.  Wayne County         $32,094

  34.  Saginaw County     $30,143

  43.  Genesee County     $29,488

  68.  Ionia County           $25,371

  83.  Luce County         $22,158



Click for the 2010 Census Data

 2010 Census Data




The Principle of Simultaneity is another basic principle of Appreciative Inquiry

“The Principle of Simultaneity recognizes that inquiry and change are not truly separate moments; they can and should be simultaneous.  Inquiry is an intervention.  The seeds of change are the things people think and talk about, the things people discover and learn, and the things that inform dialogue and inspire images of the future.

One of the most impactful things a change agent does is to articulate questions.  The questions set the stage for what is ‘found’ and what is ‘discovered’ (the data).  These data become the stories out of which the future is conceived, discussed , and constructed.” Appreciative Inquiry Handbook: For Leaders of Change 2nd Edition, by David L. Cooperrider, Diana Whitney and Jacqueline M. Stavros, 2008, Crown Custom Publishing, page 9

The following questions are the kind of questions that might help you to form your own questions to lead to the ‘found’ or ‘discovered’ data.  These questions are from a Positive Engagement Blog 

  • What questions am I asking? How am I asking them?
  • What is the effect of the questions on our relationship?
  • In what directions are they directing people’s attention? How useful is this?
  • Bearing in mind that any inquiry is already an intervention, what is the most useful I could ask at this time?

So probing and inquiring are potential change activities. 

New ideas and new leadership have seldom been more urgently needed.

I wish I could write this well!  Please read the words of Bob Herbert of the New York Times, in his March 25, 2011 column.


“The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities. When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely.

Nearly 14 million Americans are jobless and the outlook for many of them is grim. Since there is just one job available for every five individuals looking for work, four of the five are out of luck. Instead of a land of opportunity, the U.S. is increasingly becoming a place of limited expectations. A college professor in Washington told me this week that graduates from his program were finding jobs, but they were not making very much money, certainly not enough to think about raising a family.

There is plenty of economic activity in the U.S., and plenty of wealth. But like greedy children, the folks at the top are seizing virtually all the marbles. Income and wealth inequality in the U.S. have reached stages that would make the third world blush. As the Economic Policy Institute has reported, the richest 10 percent of Americans received an unconscionable 100 percent of the average income growth in the years 2000 to 2007, the most recent extended period of economic expansion.”

Read the rest by clicking here.

We, that’s you and I and everybody, need to be part of the process of moving positively to the future.  If not us, who?  The status quo is unacceptable. 


One of the 5 Principles of Appreciative Inquiry is the Constructionist Principle

“A constructionist would argue that the seeds of organizational change are implicit in the first questions asked. The questions asked become the material out of which the future is conceived and constructed.

To be effective leaders and change agents one must be adept in the art of reading, understanding, and analyzing organizations as living, human constructions.

The most important resource for generating constructive organizational change is cooperation between the imagination and the reasoning function of the mind (the capacity to unleash the imagination and mind of groups).  Appreciative Inquiry is a way of reclaiming imaginative competence.”  ~ Appreciative Inquiry Handbook: For Leaders of Change 2nd Edition by David L. Cooperrider, Diana Whitney and Jacqueline M. Stavros, Crown Custom Publishing, 2008, page 8.

Here are some possible question to consider asking about your organization.

What are we good at?

What are we very good at?

What is our contribution?

What are our hopes for the organization in the future?

What do we want to be know for?

Thanking about and answering these kinds of questions will set a very different tone than asking: What do we have to do to be better than of competitor? or What are our problems and let’s locate our problems so we can fix them?


Trading “Problems” for “Possibilities”

To bring about dramatically improved learning outcomes for children and young people everywhere the learning systems we are familiar with will need to be “collectively transformation.” Yes, that would mean dramatic change.  Change beyond just adapting the status quo.

Peter Block in his book, Community: The Structure of Belonging, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2008 states: “To create an alternative future, we need to advance our understanding of the nature of collective transformation.”  He goes on to say, “We know a good deal about individual transformation, but our understanding about the transformation of human systems, such as our workplaces, neighborhoods, and towns, is primitive at best, and too often naïve in the belief that if enough individuals awaken, and become intentional and compassionate beings, the shift in community will occur.” It is going to take collaboration, a clear vision, planning, perseverance, and much more.  But transformation is possible within communities.


Block advocates that we must be willing to trade “problems” for “possibilities”.  Is it realistic, in our current times, to be asking communities and schools to create futures that are distinct from the past?  Shouldn’t the status quo be preserved?  How ready are you, the staff you work with and/or the citizens you serve – to willingly be part of creating a “future that is distinct from the past”?

Block believes that belonging to a community calls for “interdependence”.  And to build authentic interdependence he calls upon community members to “act as investors, owners, and creators of the community space”.  Are these reasonable and appropriate ideas? And – what are you or could you be doing to build interdependence for those involved in your community? Is it realistic, in our current times, to be asking communities to create futures that are distinct from the past?  Shouldn’t the status quo be preserved?  What do you think?