Dynamic Relationships: Unleashing the Power of Appreciative Inquiry in Daily Living exists because of the great deal of time and depth of conversations from many people. The efforts that we wish to acknowledge took place over the course of the last several years. First it was the idea, then the conversations, next the development of our dynamic relationships, then nearly two years of writing, more challenges, and finally the book itself took on a dynamic shape of its own.
The conversation of Appreciative Inquiry at a personal level began many years ago with David Cooperrider. He provided us the relational pathway to this original concept of living an appreciative life. We have heartfelt thanks to David and his colleagues at Case Western Reserve University, especially Suresh Srivastva and Ron Fry. Thank you for your seminal research and being our teachers. We also thank board members and associates of the Taos Institute and the founders and co-owners of Appreciative Inquiry Consulting for their contributions to this field of practice.
We acknowledge the direction, commitment, and collaboration of the Editorial Team from the Taos Institute for shaping this book: Kenneth Gergen, Harlene Anderson, Jane Seiling, and Dawn Dole. They saw pathways we did not and coached us along one conversation at a time. For making this a reality, most sincere acknowledgments must go to Jane Seiling, the senior editor of Taos Institute Publishing. Once this proposal was accepted she never left our side. Her voice and editing guided us through another twenty versions of the manuscript. Her capabilities, dedication, concern for quality and feeling for the reader made a difference to every chapter. She accepted our emails and calls any day and any time. Thanks also for the creative book and cover designed by Paul Stavros and David Runk’s production team at Fairway Press. That team, comprising Missy Cotrell, Production Coordinator, Rebecca Brandt, Bethany Sneed, and Beth Diamond were instrumental in the formatting and design of the text; Jennifer Bible was responsible for the final cover design.
Others whom we wish to single out for their help, insight, editorial comments, and encouragement along the way include: Marilee Adams, Patty Castelli, Ivy Gordon, Sue Hammond, Joep C. de Jong, Bobby Forshell, Rich Henry, Paul Hilt, Jackie Kelm, Bernard Mohr, Trena Paulus, Kim Porter, Mike Rinkus, Clarence Rivette, Dan Saint, Cindy Savich, Marge Schiller, Jacqueline Sherman, Carolyn (Rainey) Weisenberger, Susan Wood, and Sue Wyatt. Each of you helped to elevate our work and reflect on our words. Thank you to those who helped to edit this manuscript in its final stages: Stan Baran, Ed and Martha Kimball, Barbara Kouskoulas, Patrick Riney, and Paul Stavros. We are grateful for a special gift of Relational Identity, a poem by Patrick Riney. We are immensely grateful to each of you for the precious gift of your time, expertise, and support.
We are grateful to Jackie’s colleagues and students at Lawrence Technological University College of Management who supported this book from start to finish in many different ways—thank you for your commitment, enthusiasm, and insights. We fully appreciate the times that many of you listened patiently and politely about the status of this book. It is through writing and teaching that you learn and through learning that you write and teach! Cheri took time to visit with many of the MBA and DBA students throughout the last two years to engage them in Appreciative Inquiry and Experiential Learning. The students would ask just the right questions at just the right moment. We are also grateful to the faculty and students in Cheri’s cohort in the Collaborative Learning Doctoral Program at the University of Tennessee for engaging in dialogue that informed this book: John Peters, Trena Paulus, Annie Grey, Ron Bridges, (Laura) Rong Li, and Cynthia Ghosten.
Finally we thank our families for giving up so much of us during our dedicated writing time. Creating a book of this focus and depth requires the unconditional love and support of the people with whom we are closest in our lives. It has been wonderful to invite our families into this manuscript and our relationship. They have encouraged us, provided honest feedback, engaged in many of the exercises, generated ideas, and given us the opportunity to engage in positive dynamic relationships. We especially wish to acknowledge with love and appreciation: our husbands, Paul Stavros and Michael Torres, and our children, Laura and Carmen Torres, Ally and Adam Stavros. Thank you to our parents, Stan and Fran Baran, Ed and Martha Kimball, and Barbara and Joseph Bogert (who began the journey with us) for their enduring support and love.
We have been affected in pivotal ways by our relationships with all of you, which bring home the very heart of this book. We are deeply grateful. Dynamic Relationships is what it is because of our shared journey.