vPsychology for Business


We are dedicated to bringing out the best in you and your employees

Volume 3, Number 19                                                                                         September 20, 2002



Psychology for Business is a free e-mail newsletter written by Dr. Lynda Dahlke Dr. Paul Glass, and Dr. John Weaver,  business psychologists and independent consultants. It is published bi-weekly. You’ve received this newsletter because you’ve subscribed to it or it was forwarded to you by a friend or colleague. To subscribe sign up at our website,
http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/.  If you wish to unsubscribe, please see the end of this e-mail for easy instructions

Privacy Statement: We will not distribute the address of any subscriber to anyone.

We invite you to forward this newsletter, in its entirety, to your colleagues.




By Dr. Lynda Dahlke, Business Psychologist and Executive Coach

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”

                                                                                    –  Lao Tzu

                                                                        Legendary Taoist philosopher


If you have ever driven through a dense forest far from an urban area late at night, you know the meaning of “DARK”.  Traveling through the north woods late at night, I recently noticed that as my vehicle approached curves in the road I clenched the steering wheel more tightly in anticipation of the unknown that lay ahead.  What was I afraid of…an animal in the road, or losing my way?  I’m not sure what prompts this “fear of the unknown”, however to some degree my mind believed there was a risk associated with that journey.

 The same feeling holds true for many of us as we are asked to constantly change, change, change!  The organizations we work for are in a constant state of change and sometimes we find ourselves clenching our teeth as we journey towards yet another unknown outcome.  Risk is involved as a part of our daily interactions at work.

 As leaders in organizations, how can we decrease or minimize these uncomfortable reactions many have to the “unknown” that change creates?  How do we reduce fear and anxiety related to the risks we need our employees to take in order to remain viable and competitive organizations?

 David Cooperider of Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management created an exciting approach to change that can help reduce the fear and negativism that often accompanies organizational change.  The approach is called Appreciative Inquiry and it offers help to organizations desiring change by focusing and valuing the best of “What Is”.  The approach encourages teams or individuals to focus on what is working well, what they do best….and encourages them to do more of it. Traditional models of change, focusing on “problem solving”, see the organization as having problems that need solutions.  AI (as Appreciative Inquiry is called) sees an organization as a “mystery to be embraced”.

 Focusing on the positive provides a springboard for the future.  AI generates useful information on what to embrace and build on for the future.  Our reality is defined by what we focus on—if we focus on the negative—our reality will be there as well.  When we focus on problems, i.e., what’s wrong or missing in the organization, this becomes our “reality”.  The more we focus on problems, the more there seems to be “wrong” with the organization.  With AI, we simply are looking for what is working and finding ways to do more of that.

 This model makes two assumptions:

1.)                We have performed well at something

2.)                We need to explore how that happened and how to do more

The driver of this process is doing more of what works.

 Participants in the AI process answer a series of focused questions, usually in a group format, that describe peak moments in the organization’s history.  The process focuses on getting people to remember and verbalize what they have done well, what they know how to do and what works.  This is remembering what the road looked like during the daylight hours—it’s not so scary then!

 AI utilizes a four-phase approach and questions are tailored to the specific situation:

            Inquiry—What do we do best?

                            When did you feel the best about the organization and why?

            Envisioning—What might be?   Dream.

            Dialoguing—What should be?

            Innovating—What will be.

This approach works well for just about any application in any type of organization.  Numerous large organizations (Motorola, GTE, BP America, United Way of America, U.S. Navy) have used AI successfully.  Professor Cooperider helped facilitate a meeting using AI in NYC last April with approximately 600 business leaders to discuss the role of business in society.  “Much of the tension in the world today is related to the two words on the (former Twin) Towers, “world” and “trade;” Professor Cooperider observes.  “So it’s time for a new dialogue to give birth to a new vision of the relationship between business and society that we can begin to agree upon across cultures and civilization..”

AI is about searching for the best in people and organizations.  It involves the art and practice of asking questions that strengthens an organization’s capacity to understand and maximize positive potential.

There are many helpful resources to address the AI process and discuss its’ rich histor

Some include:               http://appreciativeinquiry.cwru.edu


So let’s start shining some light on those scary, dark curves found in the road to the unknown!  AI is a powerful method to reduce fear in the organization and decrease resistance to change.


For a consultation regarding Appreciative Inquiry, or coaching to enhance your implementation of this and other proven strategies, contact Lynda Dahlke, Ph.D. at ldahlke@psychologyforbusiness.com


About the Author

Lynda Dahlke, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and business consultant with over 20 years of practical experience working with individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds and levels of responsibility. She excels at delivering concise, actionable guidance and recommendations. Lynda specializes in pre-employment assessment, professional coaching, conflict management, assisting organizations to work with difficult individuals and personalities and organizational diagnostics/consulting.

Based in Waukesha, WI, Dr. Lynda Dahlke is available for consultation or coaching by phone, e-mail or in person. She may be reached at (262) 789-2728 (office), by e-mail at
mailto:ldahlke@psychologyforbusiness.com or:

Lynda Dahlke, Ph.D.
Psychology for Business
200 South Executive Drive, #101
Brookfield, WI 53005-4216

Did you know that executive coaching is not geographically limited?  Coaching by telephone is effective.  It is also an efficient use of time and resources.  You never need to leave your office to travel, nor do you need to pay travel expenses for your coach. We offer coaching either onsite or by telephone. To find out if coaching is right for you, contact us to schedule a FREE 1/2 hour consultation.  Or request a price sheet to determine the best value for your organization.  Call us at: (262) 789-2728 or email us at mailto:ldahlke@psychologyforbusiness.com.

Archives:  All of our previous newsletters are archived at http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/eNewsletter.htm.  Check out the series on The Vitamin C’s of an Emotionally Healthy Workplace, the series on Dealing with Difficult Employees, links to our Published Articles and our newest series, Triple "A" Leadership.

To subscribe, visit our website at http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/.


If you would like to learn more about Dr. Lynda Dahlke (mailto:ldahlke@psychologyforbusiness.com), Dr. Paul Glass (mailto:pglass@psychologyforbusiness.com), and Dr. John Weaver (mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com) please visit us at our website: http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/.


© Copyright 2002. All rights reserved. Lynda Dahlke. Distribution rights: The above material is copyrighted, but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is changed, added or deleted, including the contact information. If you would like to reprint part of this newsletter please contact me at mailto:ldahlke@psychologyforbusiness.com to make arrangements.

To order your copy of the book, MANAGING DIFFICULT PERSONALITIES IN THE WORKPLACE: A Manager’s Practical Guide, by Dr. Paul Kenneth Glass, send your name, address, number of copies desired and a check made out to Dr. Paul Kenneth Glass for $12 per book (plus $2 shipping per book).  Or order 10 or more copies for $10 per book and $6.95 for shipping (up to 50 copies).  No fluff, this book gets right to the point. Send orders to:

Dr. Paul Kenneth Glass
Psychology for Business
2717 N. Grandview Blvd. #303
Waukesha, WI 53188   

Email: mailto:pglass@psychologyforbusiness.com

To order the booklet: 41 WAYS TO IMPROVE THE EMOTIONAL HEALTH OF YOUR WORKPLACE, by Dr. John Weaver send a check for $6 and a self-addressed, double stamped business size envelope to:

Dr. John Weaver
Psychology for Business
2717 N. Grandview Blvd. #303
Waukesha, WI 53188

If you would like to order multiple copies, send an email to mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com to request a price sheet.  Order in quantity and save.


Sharing this newsletter with colleagues and friends, under these conditions, is encouraged.


If you have a question or topic you would like to see covered, send your request to


New!  Subscriber Corner.  In each newsletter, we will highlight some of our subscribers at the end of each issue. It is an opportunity for you to learn more about other organizations who are part of the Psychology for Business family. It is also a chance for you to highlight your business efforts. To have your organization listed, please send a brief (4 to 7 lines) description that will tell readers about who you are, what you do, and how to get in contact with you. This service is offered to our readers free of charge (although we hope you will share the newsletter with lots of your potential customers and that you will encourage them to sign up for Psychology for Business!) on a first come, first served basis.  Send your information to mailto:ldahlke@psychologyforbusiness.com. All of our readers are invited to be listed in Subscriber Corner. Listing does not imply that we endorse any specific business.


Dr. John Weaver publishes another newsletter, co-authored by Darlene Weaver, THE CENTERED PENDULUMIt is our firm belief that lifelong patterns of “being” (personality, attitudes, emotions) and “doing” (lifestyle, adaptability, coping skills) interact with our genes and environment to create conditions of a healthy or a diseased brain.  If you would like to read previous issues of the Centered Pendulum newsletter or to subscribe, please visit the archives at http://www.centeredpendulum.org/newsletters.htm.