Positivity Strategist Podcast: Strength-based business education

 I am happy to share my recent Podcast with Robyn Stratton-Berkessel as part of her "Positive Strategist" series. We talked about innovative, strength-based business-education approaches and how we bring the appreciative mindset into our work. Listen to Podcast here and I look forward to hearing what resonated and inspired you from our discussion! 

Original posting


Episode Summary

My special guest is the brilliant Dr. Lindsey Godwin. Associate Professor Robert P. Stiller School of Business, Champlain College, Burlington, VT.

Lindsey is an exceptional human being with an amazing career that spans the globe.  Lindsey is not only a Professor in a business school, but she has close professional relationships with businesses locally and internationally.  Lindsey has sat the table with the Dalai Lama and has shared the stage with the Presidents of global corporations and the elected presidents and politicians of countries.  I’m not naming names.  Except to say Lindsey received her PhD in Organizational Behavior from Case Western Reserve University, where she studied with the founding thought leaders in AI — David Cooperriderand Ron Fry.

A dream start to a career

Business EducationLindsey’s start in higher education in business was not necessarily by design.  She was a seeker – as a student of biology, psychology, sociology, she was called to find out more about organizational behavior.  She loved the people who were doing this work and followed her heart to the doctoral program at Case Western Reserve University.

It was a fortuitous time to be at Case, with the lauch of a new projectBusiness as an Agent of World Benefit (BAWB)  which has since become a center. And she was also invited as a doctoral student among others to the first Appreciative Inquiry summit at the United Nations Global Compact, invited by Kofi Annan to establish partnerships between governments, corporations and NGOs to tackle global initiatives

Following the heart

Lindsey reflects that when you follow your calling, your heart, your passion, paths and opportunities open up that you wouldn’t believe to be possible because in the moment things may not make sense.

When Lindsey became aware of Appreciative Inquiry, she found a framework and set of principles that allowed her to work more to her strengths.

Highpoint story of an AI Summit

In Burlington VT, the ECHO center (Ecology, Culture, History, Opportunity)  convened an A...that Lindsey co-designed and facilitated with the affirmative topic of “Blue Water in Green Mountains.” The Summit engaged multi stakeholders – educators, politicians, faith-based groups, national and international thought leaders who came together to roll up their sleeves with local citizens to engage around infrastructure, opportunities, partnerships with businesses and non-profits to ensure that in the next 10 – 30 there would be clean water in the lakes. The notion of “one drop” makes a difference has been an ongoing theme for the local community.

Positive Outcomes from the Summit

  • ECHO recognized its value as an ongoing convener, facilitator to open up space to create opportunities and initiatives around environmental issues allowing multiple constituents to come together.
  • The organization was most excited about the model of holding secondary summits focused on specific topics over the next 10 years.
  • The ongoing conversation is focused around how do we become more resilient as a community, creating resilient infrastructure, communities and actions.

Positive Examples of Collective Resiliency

Aftermath of Hurricane Irene brought to light many positive examples of collective resiliency.  There were positive examples of communities surviving and infrastructures doing well after the hurricane. What were these examples, and what were the factors that lead to some communities being more resilient than others?  The objective  of the inquiry is to lift those examples up and learn from them; expand them and replicate them so they can be beacons and can be expanded upon further.

The conversations will be enlarged and amplified. Resiliency has shifted from the individual to collective resiliency.  We need resilient organizations; we need a resilient planet.

Collaborative, participatory, dispersed leadership

We cannot tackle issue today without the whole system – any AI summit  ensures all voices are part of this.

Today we live in a world of radical transparency – access to information is at our fingertips.  We have expectations to have our voices heard and enlightened leaders, who lead with rather than lead overrecognize the power of the shared leaderhsip model. An empowered work forces expects to be also an engaged workforce.

Customers of business or social sectors are all part of the conversations now.  This wonderful time in history with tools and technologies, there is the fundamental human desire to connect.

Meaning of  positivity

Positivity is not only about the positive, implying we can’t talk about certain things – it’s just the opposite!  Positivity is all about possibility. Linsdey referenced Gervase Busche’s article, iAppreciative Inquiry is not (just) about...

Positivity creates generativity and possibility.  From the science of neuro psychology, we are left wondering where do we start the conversation around positivity and how can we learn more about it.   It can start anywhere.

Positivity opens us up to tackle the thorny issues and opens us to the energy to address matters from this generative, possibility-focused perspective.  We can now to look at the root causes of success.

Big aspirational conversation

How do we do this appreciative work at all levels?  Reference to the new book currently in the works by Lindsey and David Cooperrider that expands on the impact and influence and possibility of theintersection of the strengths revolution.

  1. How do we lift up strengths at all levels in society?
  2. How do we align the strengths?
  3. How to we use them to create organizations  that are refractions and reflections of our best selves?

Links Mentioned in this Episode

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Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on October 5, 2014 at 7:35pm

Hi Lindsey, I enjoyed your podcast very much especially the chemistry sparked by conversation with Robyn. 

I especially like the point about inter-connectedness, also connection between business sector and development. I had two questions and would like to learn from your experience:

You talked about including all those who are affected by the issue to come together to talk. How to ensure that we have not missed someone or a particular group? How to ensure that those at lower level in hierarchy in an organisation? In non-profit sector participatory approaches can assume that groups are homogenous but what is the likely that a man for instance from marginalized community will share as openly than a woman who is educated and very vocal? 



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