acompañar a las personas desde las fortalezas

“We thought it very powerful to accompany people from the strengths they have and not from the areas of improvement they need”

Beatriz Malpartida– Schweppes Suntory España:

What Madavi says about “Changing the way in which we change” is real.

“Creating the future together; Absolutely , YES!”. With this slogan, Schweppes Suntory España a group of employees resume the experience that they have lived with Madavi. A unique experience to create their future together. A future in which their way of working changes towards a model based on self- responsibility, collaborative leadership, the simplification of the processes and the inter-relationship between departments.

“What we did not expect was that so many things would happen in the wake of working with Madavi, in doing so from such a positive point of view and based on abundance, as they say” explains Beatriz Malpartida, People Development Lead of Schweppes Suntory España.

“Expectations have been met with regards to a new way of working: it was not only affronting concrete changes which we were pursuing, but also that the department shines much more, is more autonomous and that the results which we dared to dream about before starting the project are being achieved. “There is a before and after”.

“The experience is very potent because different dynamics to any other way of working are generated.”

Schweppes Suntory Iberia, formed by the business units of Spain and Portugal, belong to Suntory Beverage & Food Europe (SBFE), European subsidiary of the Japanese Suntory, a worldwide leader.

Their philosophy of YATTE MINAHARE (Go for it!) is the engine which impulses them to want to revolutionise the drinks sector, creating pleasing and healthy consumer experiences through their trade marks Schweppes®, La Casera®, TriNa®, Sunny Delight®, MayTea® y Joi®.

Beatriz, at what moment in the company does this experience with Madavi fit in?

When Schweppes Suntory España decided to work with Madavi, we wanted to support a particular department of the company which was going through a moment of many changes, both at organisational and strategic levels, as well as, with work tools and processes.

What we were looking for was someone to help us connect those changes and unify all the energy that was being generated and that is why Madavi seemed to us a very integrating solution.

Why Madavi?

We were looking for someone to help us with appreciative inquiry because we thought it very powerful to focus  the subject of the people from an appreciative point of view, that is to say, from their strengths and not from the areas that they need to improve.

It is that current, positive psychology, that is behind appreciative inquiry, which made us in the end come across Madavi.

What were your  expectations?

Before meeting Madavi, we were wanted a company that would help us channel all that energy, which sometimes, when there are a lot of changes, generates some initial resistance.

What about the result? How do you value their unique methodology, the summits, the experience…?

At the beginning we did not really know what we were going to do; it was very disruptive and innovative.

The experience is very powerful because it generates dynamics very different to any other way of working. People decide what they want to do and by relying so much on what is positive, on the capacity for people to assume responsibility, – which is very high -, all the commitments arise from them. Also to what point each person involved in the project wants to reach.

“The illusion and the action plans which arose from this Summit continue to be preserved through time and are increasing”

Another dynamic which has seemed very powerful to us is that everyone has an equal voice. This way of working relies on inquiring into a Summit moment in which you realise that you already have the strengths that the company needs at that moment.

From then on everything occurs in a very natural manner, a lot of pro-activity and commitment are generated by the people, which facilitates that things happen.

In effect it is a question of generating the belief that you really can do it and, what is more, “who better than you who belongs to this department, and much better than an external consultant or someone from HR…”. It is a matter of giving that responsibility to the people and then the power to take decisions and actions and thus allow them to commit to those decisions and put them into practice.

How would you define in one phrase the contribution of Madavi?

In one phrase I would say: “the power to unite individual strengths”.

What Madavi says: “change the way in which we change” is real, no one who has participated in this project is the same as before having taken part it. A belief in oneself has been created that things can be done, that you do not need to ask for permission, that you are responsible for your work. It is so powerful that we can see how they are applying it to more areas of work.

It is no longer only used in the specific sector in which we started to work but they are taking it into their daily routine, into their relationships with other departments and how they plan their future …

Therefore, it can be interpreted as a new attitude, a new way to work and live the day to day with their companions?

Yes, in the end that is what happens, you see how something that has worked and has a very immediate result finishes off by forming part of your daily work.

People in their relations with others already use part of the appreciative culture that they have learned as a result of participating in a Summit or when they have interviews or conversations that are a bit more difficult in some areas.

We have also learned how to ask for help because obviously there are things that you cannot cannel by yourself. They are small nuances that change the way you work.

And the rest of your companions do they realise that this group does things in a different way?

A very interesting phenomenon occurs and that is that the system starts to be contagious because anyone who tries it sees the potential it has. Moreover, as they way of working in a Summit is to integrate people from different systems or departments who collaborate with you it has a very disseminating effect and so reaches more people.

I think it is important to live the experience to really make a change, above all because it is very positive: That someone asks you why you do something well and how you can do it better contributes a lot and is contagious.

How are you advancing in relation to the projects or ideas that have arisen from these Summits?

We decided to work with Madavi in this department specifically because at present it is in a phase of many changes and they were reacting to them very individually without  embracing them as something bigger.

This is what Madavi has helped us with.

The projects that have arisen are very related to what the department had already done before, but we have also looked the interrelationship between those projects. That is its strength and why I speak so much of combining energies, because now no longer does that department only work on its project that it thought affected it individually, but it has also found the way of involving the person next to him in order get help and so that way also be part of the change.

Although only three months have passed we have already started to see changes. But compared to other experiences that we have had when we have managed change, what happens now is that the illusion as well as the action plans which arose from that Summit continue to be maintained through time and are growing.

In Madavi, we always work business and culture together. What do you think of that approximation?

To achieve business and culture it is necessary to have a well-founded culture and that people are impregnated with it.

In our case, they have gone hand in hand: business on the one side supported this cultural change which was going to be implied to us by Madavi and in some way that culture reinforced what the business was asking from us.

Is that connection one of the pillars of success?

It is fundamental, if not How are you going to make a cultural change if the business is not supporting it? Or how are you going to help business to reach where it wants reach if there is not a culture shared by all which is reinforcing it and that are also aligned? In this sense, Madavi has helped us interact and connect it all.

After a first Summit the team celebrated after a time a second Summit.

And now?

We have to have moments to continue giving continuity and visibility to the projects, because they are on-going. We are looking for moments in which we can show how we continue to advance, because that viability at the same time reinforces all that we have done. We have lived a very powerful mixture of learning and having fun, which at the end of the day is what we are all looking for at work.

Finishing this interview, Beatriz shared with us this evaluation: “Madavi fits in very well with our culture, with something that we have been trying to push for some time, and that is your own self-responsibility, where do you want to reach, regarding your position and your responsibility, within the company. Madavi respects and encourages you very well in how much you want to give and to what point do you want to be involved.

This experience has helped us a lot in supporting this culture in a very natural way and above all in doing it. Because sometimes in managing people we make the mistake of saying what has to be done when of course what most moves people is showing how to do it by doing it. In that Madavi has helped us a lot.

26 youths define the principles of the “transforming” leader of the future

During the Junior Leadership Campus of the “Fundación Princesa de Girona”, FPdGi, the Madavi team worked with 26 youths on the principles of a new leadership, “Do good to do well leadership”; a leadership capable of mobilising millions of youths in order to transform the planet.

principios liderazgo 

These youths vindicate their central role in society to achieve its  “transformation” and  defend that to maintain an unconditionally positive attitude is key to  a leadership which should also defend equanimity and honesty.

After interviewing 53 exceptional present-day leaders, these youths together, after asking about “summit” moments in their leadership, have defined the following principles that, in their opinion, a “transforming” leader of the future should have:

Principles of leadership “Do good to do well leadership”
  • Unconscious determination: Do not give so much importance to the process, calculating what could happen but rather focus on the result.
  • Sympathetic Direction: managing people and the capacity to empathise without forgetting the results.
  • Empathetic Plasticity: capacity to mould oneself depending on the surrounding relations.
  • Transparent Resilience: reach such a level of transparency that what is transmitted to the team is really positive.
  • Leadership reflected in themselves: leadership by example.
  • Collective self-confidence: synergetic empowering of the team from the individual and vice-versa / and Careful daring: The capacity to jump into a vacuum with a solid baggage of knowledge.
  • Hopeful Resilience: affront the weight of difficulties with renewed and inspired energy.
  • Diversity without complexes: understand that differences are unique opportunities.
  • Responsible inspiration: be able to influence others in a conscious manner
  • Disruptive Curiosity: persistent inquiry by moving out of the comfort zone.

“The world needs young talented leaders, like these, with the illusion to lead a social transformation in any professional field. People who have the desire to create an attractive future for all”, points out Fernando Iglesias, CEO of Madavi.

The Campus of Junior Leadership has taken place in the campus of Puente Nuevo of Naturgy (El Tiemblo, Ávila) promoted by the “Fundación Princesa de Girona” with one objective: To foment the personal and professional growth of youths with an enterprising spirit and a clear restlessness to construct a world with greater justice.


Pepe Jeans, on his experience with Madavi: “It has been super positive; has mobilized the people “

Javier Raventós, of Pepe Jeans, evaluates his experience with Madavi:

“The experience has been really positive. It has mobilized people, and above all it has given the teams the capacity to do things and to transform, as well as empowering them   and that is a potent factor.”

Someone said that large companies become so and maintain themselves at the top thanks to constant movement. That is the case of Pepe Jeans London, an international group that is a leader in its sector.

At the end of the 90´s, Javier Raventós and Carlos Ortega took control of the company through an MBO (management buyout), which was launched with the support of 3i. Today, the company manages world known trademarks such as, Hackett, Pepe Jeans, Norton and Façonnable and has important teams in Spain, London, Amsterdam, India and México.

We spoke with Javier Raventós, the General Manager of Corporate Services in Pepe Jeans

Raventós has dedicated his professional trajectory to this company. We spoke to him about the challenging moment of transformation that the company was living and the collaboration of Madavi in this process; “a very positive experience” according to his own words.

“In the last 20 years, the company has been well managed and the trademark has reached a very high level, but the speed of change especially in the sector of fashion and the evolution from an analogical world to a digital one, which has caught some of the directors a little bit old, has meant that things have to be done in a different way; listening more and more to the young; empowering collaborators; working on transversal processes … We are faced by a change which in Pepe Jeans we live like an opportunity, and not with fear. Fortunately, in order to do so we have a very strong team”.

Given this context of change, the company decided to undertake an important process of transformation, in which it is immersed at present. “That was when we contacted  Madavi. We already had a relationship with them four years ago. On that occasion it was a short project with  very clear objectives and results (improve profitability) and the experience with Madavi was a success”.

At that moment we introduced, guided by Madavi, Appreciative Inquiry, that is to say, “ we looked for the strengths of our teams to accelerate”. “ It worked very well and that is why when we had to pose the transformation project we called once again Fernando Iglesias, of Madavi”.

So once more you decided to bet on your strengths to boost change?

We have very young teams that quickly engage with the project and that is why we indeed decided on that model, which had already worked for us and which facilitates the transformation with more dynamism that others that are more reactive.

Javier Raventós admits that to tackle a project of global transformation “is very complex” for any company but in his opinion to identify the areas on which to act with the teams in a positive fashion has much more impact. “It is true that when you do it only visualizing the strengths there is always something left out, but you have covered 90% of the elements of transformation. You can cover the other 10% left out with other processes, projects and action plans.”

From the Madavi model, from its summits, many initiatives flourish; “ people are connected and make more of an effort to achieve results because it is their projects, their dynamics, their responsibility and especially  for the young who are precisely the ones who most push you.”.

According to Javier’s evaluation, these models “which are not hierarchical”, “all the energy of the teams increases and sweeps away all the potential blocks. As they are very active and positive dynamics it is very difficult that a reaction and a brake can be produced.”

Have the expectations been met?

“Yes absolutely the energy of the organization rose dramatically during the Summit which we lived with Madavi. It is a very collaborative project that is very well set out.

The experience has been very positive, even though there has been a certain amount of resistance due to internal matters.

It has mobilised people and above all it has put in the hands of the teams the capacity to do things and to transform; it has empowered them, and that is very potent. In my opinion, the best thing about this experience has been the empowering of the teams, that is to say: you can do it. You put the energy and we shall support you; you direct. That is what allows you to advance more quickly”.

The path walked with Madavi forms part of a process of change that is transforming the company and already begins to have an impact on the market, in the form of a better experience for the client.

positividad éxito en la vida y en el trabajo

Bárbara Fredrickson and how being positive leads to greater success in life and at work

During nearly the whole of the 20th century psychology focused on knowing the reason for our negative states, leaving aside the whole positive spectrum of our emotions. It is in 1998 when for the first time the subject of positive emotions are tackled from a serious perspective, thanks to  Barbara Fredrickson, professor at North Carolina University in Chapel Hill USA, and one of the most important investigators in the area of Positive Psychology.

The 10 positive emotions of  Bárbara Fredrickson its exceptional effects.

Doctor Fredrickson identified 10 positive emotions: pleasure, gratitude, serenity, interest in the world, hope, pride, enjoying oneself, inspiration, wonder and love. Pleasure encourages us to be creative; being interested invites us to explore;  serenity permits us to enjoy the circumstances…

Until her work came out, it was believed that positive emotions were simply the opposite of the negative ones, but Barbara Fredrickson proved that positive emotions provoke an exceptional effect:  They generate very potent cognitive changes in the brain, They make us more creative, resilient…”Positive emotions open our hearts and our minds, they make us more receptive and creative” says this expert.  She claims that being positive allows us to develop new abilities, new relations, new knowledge and new behaviors.

An impulse to action

Positive emotions provoke changes in cognitive activity, which in the long term can produce changes in behavior, or what she calls an “impulse to action”.

Thanks to the work of Fredrickson it has been proved that positive emotions help us to “to enlarge, transform and construct”:

– Enlarge: positive emotions broaden the tendencies of thought and action.

– Construction: it favors the construction of personal resources so as to affront difficult or problematic situations.

– Transformation: Construction produces the transformation of the person, who becomes more creative, with a deeper knowledge of situations

“Madavi, the YES company”

The Bárbara Fredrickson model is aligned with the way we understand in Madavi (“the YES company”) the processes of transformation (cultural, organizational…) in companies; “Changing the way in which we change” , that forms part of our DNA, which defines and differentiates us.

As the CEO of Madavi, Fernando Iglesias argues: “What sense is there on focusing on what we do Not have when we have so much?”. Fernando illustrated it recently in an interview with this example: “Imagine that what is failing outrageously is communication. Instead of analyzing what fails let us join a group of, 50, 100, 200 people… and inquire what were the moments when communication was vital for success. That way we shall learn from the stories of those people how to achieve a communication orientated towards success. From that learning let us imagine how the company and its results will be. An attractive image of the future, and then we reach an immediate collective action. Contrary to “problem solving”, in Madavi we use the energy which is produced when you discover what you do know, what you want and so you achieve the exceptional communication which allows you to reach your aspirations”.

Madavi´s approximation is base don aligning the strengths towards the aspirations in terms of opportunities. Aspirations are always greater, more motivating and more demanding than the objectives. “ We substitute the usual paradigms of scarcity and sequentiality with abundance and simultaneity”.

How do we do it?



clave para la indagación apreciativa

Involve everyone in the organization in the change is the key to success

Steve Jobs had a great phrase: “ Focus on the things that you have the opportunity to do well”. One of the greatest business leaders looked to strengths not weaknesses.

This is the basis of appreciative inquiry and the methodology we use at Madavi to “change the way in which organizations change”.

Appreciative inquiry is a revolutionary approach to change and growth in organizations; the term “inquiry” refers to the asking of positive questions, while “appreciative” in this context means recognizing the strengths of something or someone.

That is to say that Appreciative Inquiry is based on the idea that organizations change as a function of the questions asked; those organizations that inquire into their problems and difficulties will obtain more of the same, but those that try to discover what is best in themselves will discover how to achieve success.

Why should we think that the growth of a company has to depend on resolving the “problems”? That could be a summary of the line of argument of the father of IA, David Cooperrider

In meetings it is normal to analyze failures and problems. When there is a problem everyone wants to know why. Madavi proposes to inquire into the successes asking: What have you done to have so much success?  This question generates a productive conversation. We are so little accustomed to inquire into success that people do not know how to answer quickly, they have to think about it and that is a good thing. They will realize what were the factors that have worked, and “The best of what is” to do it more and better. As a result, the person learns what DOES work and the essential aspects that have made it work.  He/she will feel better than if you congratulate him/her because we are considering that person as a source of learning.  By asking we are saying I want to learn from you! That is really recognizing the person with capital letters.

This methodology aligns organizations towards a shared attractive image of the future, which will improve productivity, increase the commitment and satisfaction of the people and stimulate the generation of ideas. Any system moves better towards what it DOES want.

Involve the whole organization

We have already talked in several posts about the results that arise by this way of approaching change, such as discovering the assets and strengths, which the organization has, or the joint vision of the future. Today, however, we want to underline one of the principle values of Appreciative Inquiry and the methodology of Madavi compared to other models: involving the whole organization in the change.

It does not matter what position one has in the company each person is in part responsible for success. The participation of all the players, designing their future is fundamental for their transformation. To be part of the process generates commitment and movement.


A Summit is a collaborative event for many people: 20, 50, 100, 200 or more. When it is celebrated all the people necessary for success are brought together at the same time and the same place to create collective action aimed towards an attractive image of the future.

Throughout our long trajectory we have carried out summits with companies such as LinkedIn, Suntory Schweppes, Danone, Frit Ravich, Evian, Weleda, Mahou San Miguel, Volvo, Pepe Jeans, Eroski, Tactic Consulting, The Motion, Inspiralia, Repsol, Congalsa and Meta 4 amongst others.


women in leadership

Women in Leadership, a complete change of paradigme

Women in Leadership – The creation of a balanced world.

To create a more balanced world it is necessary to change the paradigm of leadership amongst both men and women. This is already happening in many companies. A good example is Meta4, a technological company, where feminine leadership is included in the organizational culture and compliments masculine leadership in a very masculine business environment.

Program of  “Women in Leadership”, at Madavi

The program of “Women in Leadership” proposes  a different model of leadership because its starts by finding its roots in the strengths and potential arising from our past experiences of success.

The traditional model of programs to develop leadership start from what we lack, what we do not have in order to develop new abilities. The emphasis is put on what I have to improve by learning from what we lack. Sometimes this approach can become a mountain, which requires a lot of energy to climb. However, the focus which we propose at Madavi, by searching in our past for successful experiences, is to reconnect with what we have, what has given us life, energy and motivated and propelled us to achieve our aspirations.

Going to the source of our strengths. 

In the feminine archetype, due to our high level of self-demand, we often forget those strengths, which have helped us overcome obsolete beliefs and obstacles, which seemed to be unsurpassable.  By going to the source of strengths we strengthen our self-confidence, raise our self-esteem and bring the energy of the past to the present. We have already been there; we have already done it and know how to do it. At that moment the mountain, which we have to climb, does not seem to require so much effort and that positive energy propels us forward.

A complete change of paradigm.

Therefore, the  model of  Women in Leadership contributes to a complete change of paradigm, by looking from abundance instead of from scarcity, from what we already have that gives us life instead of what we lack. The energy is different, it propels us into movement and development with a very high motivation to pass into action and change whatever is necessary.

The way that the program of Women in Leadership is designed includes another factor, which is to work with collective intelligence. All the intelligences of everyone in the room co-creating jointly serve to multiply rather than simply sum the creativity of the innovative solutions. The exchange of experiences enriches, inspires and develops a collaborative and supportive environment necessary to sustain us on our way to development and expansion. The networking is strengthened and we ferment learning communities that continue to function after the program.  It has been proved that that the development towards leadership and promotion in professional careers obtain better results accompanied than alone.



Liderazgo femenino

Female leadership, challenges and opportunities

By Ana García Villas-Boas, partner at Madavi

In Spain, women represent only 19% of Management Committees and 11%  of Executive Committees, even if it has been proved that companies with a greater number of women in leadership positions achieve better results.

58% of university graduates in Spain are women, however this fact has not led to an increase in the number of women in leadership roles. The percentage of women in executive committees is 11% and far from the average of the European Union (15%). Without the incorporation of women into the labour market Spanish GDP in 2015 would have been 18% less. [1]

Several studies prove the positive correlation between the presence in leadership positions of women and financial and organizational performance.

In the same manner, several studies show that the presence of women improve the taking of decisions.

The presence of women seems to foment innovation and creativity, reduce conflicts and better  collaboration and loyalty. We find an example of this phenomenon in an investigation published in the Harvard Business Review [2]which points out that the collective intelligence of a group increased as the female representation did so.

The probabilities of promotion at all levels of a professional career are less for women.

The studies about women in leadership positions tend to concentrate on executive boards and committees but it is essential to examine the professional careers that have led to those positions. An investigation carried out in 47 companies, showed that the problem of the highest positions had their origin in the lowest ones, since women only represented 37 per cent of the workers hired. If one bears in mind that Spanish women represent 58% of university graduates this fact results even more alarming.

Spanish women who join a company have less possibilities of promotion than men at all levels. The men in the top managerial positions have four times more probabilities of becoming Managing Director.  These figures are similar to the European average.

The corporative obstacles, the cultural dynamics and the lifestyle are the principle factors that prevent the incorporation of Spanish women into positions of leadership.

Corporative Obstacles

Only 26% of Managing Directors state that diversity of gender as a priority. A visible and recurring  lack of compromise exists on the part of management. The lack of mentors and reference models to guide women and help them climb the corporative structure is another aspect related to corporative obstacles.

Cultural Dynamics and Lifestyle

In Spain women are responsible for the majority of household tasks. According to a study [3] nearly 60 per cent of Spaniards agreed with the idea that “ families are affected when women have a full time job” (compared to 33 per cent in other European countries [4]).  75% of executives admitted that Spanish companies expect practically total availability of their employees.

Women are principally responsible for household tasks; it is a work culture marked by absolute availability, and this fact implies that they have “two jobs”. In Spain, managers have to be available at all times; in fact, 81 per cent of managers interviewed agreed that the managing model of success in existence is that of “at any time, in any place”. Moreover, half of the employees interviewed said that children are incompatible with a top management job and that one has to choose between family life and a successful professional career

The digital transformation of society offers an opportunity in this sense. The flexibility that technology brings when it comes to choosing when and where to work could be of great benefit to men and women and impact positively on the ratios of employability.

Personal Attitude

Personal attitude does not seem to be, a priori, a large obstacle in Spain compared to other European countries. Spanish men and women show high levels of ambition: 70 per cent of women and 80 per cent of men wish to reach positions of top management. Moreover, 85 per cent of Spanish women are confident that they will succeed (compared to 90 per cent of men). These figures are considerably higher than the world average: only 58 per cent of women and 76 per cent of men) are confident of reaching positions of top management.

However, these facts change as Spanish women ascend. The difference in ambition between men and women, which are 10 percentage points at the beginning, rises to 12 percentage points once women reach intermediate positions. That is why we believe that aspects like confidence and resilience to make this possible should be reinforced by companies and by women themselves.

What style of leadership do companies need?

The style of leadership that companies require in a VUCA environment (Vulnerability, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) demands more abilities related to the feminine archetype, such as empathy, development of people, consensual decision taking, participation, collaboration and teamwork. The diversity and complementarity of the abilities of the masculine and feminine archetype lead to results of high achievement in business, as was mentioned above.

This situation offers the opportunity to contribute our feminine abilities in a masculine environment where the tendency of the female manager is to promote the abilities of the masculine archetype in order to be accepted by the system and the culture of the organization.

Women in Leadership

The program Women in Leadership of Madavi contributes a total change in the paradigm, by looking from  abundance instead of from scarcity, from that which we already have and which gives us life and works instead of from what we lack. The energy is different, it catapults us towards movement and development with a very high motivation to pass into action and change what is necessary.

The way program Women in Leadership is designed includes another factor, which is to work with collective intelligence. All the intelligences in the room co-creating jointly multiply the creativity of the innovative solutions which most sum. The final purpose of the program is to give women greater confidence and a network of support to reach out for their dream.



[1] Report McKinsey&Company, “Women Matter 2017, A way forward for Spain”

[2] Harvard Business Review, 2011. “Defend Your Research: What Makes a Team Smarter? More Women” 

[3] GESIS ISSP Research Group 2012, International Social Survey Programme: Familia y género IV – ISSP 2012. 

[4] Bélgica, Alemania, España, Portugal, Suecia, Noruega, Francia, Reino Unido. 


gestionar el talento de forma apreciativa

The importance of managing talent in an appreciative manner in organizations

“No-one should be named in a managerial position if his or her vision is focused on the weaknesses rather than the strengths of people ” Peter Drucker.

In an ever more globalized world which is in constant evolution, organizations are undergoing transformation processes as never before and converting into areas which are more diverse, innovative and cosmopolitan. In this context people se are starting to be valued and positioned increasingly as the most important asset of the company.

The Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) defines the meaning of talent as  “an intelligent  or able person for a specific occupation”.  Although it seems to be a simple thing to understand, some writers like Peter Drucker, see it from a much more complex perspective. Drucker, writer of dozens of books and  is considered to be the father of modern management, believed that people are the centre of the revolution in quality and productivity in the heart of  companies, because the quality of the person is determinant in the quality of work.

People in the centre of the organization

Drucker was one of the first writers to see people for what they really are: The most important resource in the organization, and as such cannot be reduced to a number expressed as a cost. He said that the people who possess talent are the principle ingredient in successful companies, going further than simple tangible aspects. An idea, which in its day, was undoubtedly revolutionary.

Talent has to be managed precisely by the appropriate leader or on the contrary there is the risk of losing it.  “No-one should be named in a managerial position if his vision focuses on weaknesses instead of the strengths of  people”, Drucker said, in line with the principles of madavi. The mission of a leader should precisely be the alignment of the strengths of an organization in such a way that the weaknesses become something irrelevant. That is to say, to lead in an appreciative manner which is undoubtedly the easiest and most effective one.

To lead in an appreciative manner

Everyone who leads has the potential to do so appreciatively, logically using his or her strengths and personal style. Some leaders inspire more, while others rely more on process. What changes is the focus: to work from abundance instead of from scarcity.

This type of leadership is based appreciative inquiry, a concept that  believes that a system moves in the direction it investigates. That is to say that companies grow and develop at a greater speed as long as they investigate what they do have and what they do want rather than investigate the problems. If we study problems we shall not reach the desired results….we shall only waste resources which, by the way, are valuable and scarce.

Applying appreciative inquiry to people means discovering all their strengths and  those of others with the objective of combining them.  They have told us that we have strengths and weaknesses and that is not true.  We only have strengths, weaknesses is what we do not have.  What can you do with what you do not have? NOTHING.

In this situation, as Drucker pointed out, successful companies are and will be those that are capable of creating the necessary conditions which permit the employees to give the best of themselves…  to work in an appreciative  environment.  Each company is a learning institution at all levels and permanently so, which means that we have to ensure to make effective the strengths and  talents of our employees and develop new strengths, which combined will make the weaknesses which you do not have  irrelevant, because you have combined  in teams your  strengths with those of the others.


“What is the point of putting focus on what we DO NOT have?”

Fernando Iglesias, founder of Madavi, has recently done an interview for Capital Humano on appreciative inquiry, addressing the cultural changes that are necessary to implement this system into the heart of companies. “What is the point of putting focus on what we DO NOT have when we have so much,” he points out.

– What tools does inquiry use and in what practices has it been transferred into the company?
Appreciative inquiry is a methodology, a set of principles, a philosophy and a way of seeing what is around you.
You start with the first two, and when you experience it in large groups, you want to apply that philosophy to all aspects, at work and in your life.
I shall start with an example from life. Parents go from asking why you have failed in a subject to making an appreciative evaluation of their childrens’ grades. They analyse the best results so that the child learns to succeed using their strengths. This learning is used for the areas with the greatest potential for change and to help design their path.
Here is an example from work. After the presentations, people stop using phrases such as “Mr. YES BUT” and whose surname is “I ALREADY SAID IT”. An appreciative practice is to share first what you liked most, what was useful, what you have learned in order to make explicit what is abundant. We start with what is a YES, we can talk about how to make the proposal even better and the unwanted side effects later on and finally we shall decide if it is as good for the whole as to invest in it. As my partner Miguel A. Sanz says, “Abundance helps us talk.”

– Can you survive as a business ignoring the flaws?
In no case are they ignored. What changes completely is the way in which we address them.
Imagine that what “fails” miserably is communication. Instead of analysing why it fails, we put together many people, 100, 200 … and investigate moments in which communication has been vital for success. This is how we learn, from the stories of hundreds of people of how communication is orientated towards success. From this learning, we imagine what the company and the business results will look like, an attractive image of the future, and then we come to immediate collective action. Unlike “problem solving”, appreciative inquiry uses the energy that is produced by discovering that you do know and what you want and that you can achieve exceptional communication which helps you achieve your aspirations.
It is not evading problems; it is running over them. Much faster and more motivating.

– What type of leader is needed to bolster up this system?
Everyone has the potential to do it, and in fact, you work on it.
It’s about moving from current to appreciative leadership. Always using your strengths and in some way your own style. What changes is the focus.
The development starts from abundance and simultaneity.
Abundance because it begins with an appreciative investigation by managers and executives to individual contributors. We enquire about what the leader did at a time when the interviewee was very proud of their contribution.
From this learning, a leaders development summit is held, 100, 200 … Their best leadership moments are explored and they discover their strengths at those moments. When finished, through a digital tool, they are able to carry out an appreciative session, to align the strengths of all their team towards the aspirations and objectives. The result is always action; its about doing, the rest is theory.

This form of massive and simultaneous development is what generates speed of change. When the attitudes of others add up, they push you forward and the whole team or the company go in the same direction.

– What cultural changes are needed to work with this system?
What we do is add some additional ingredients to the culture that the client wants. The abundance and simultaneity generate cooperation at another level: appreciation, trust, speed, joy … Therefore, it is the antidote of “departmentitis”, of being defensive, of criticism, etc. There are incompatible cultural features, and therefore these tend to disappear. You can be appreciative in very different cultures. This is what we see day-to-day with our customers.

– What are the most common resistances found?
More than resistance there is disbelief, amazement. It is normal. The change of paradigm is of such a dimension that we are always asked the same question, in its different versions: “Can we survive as a business by ignoring flaws?”
The most classic question is: “If it is difficult for a few of us to agree, how are we going to agree amongst so many?” The answer is simple. From scarcity we diverge, we confront each other, there is projection of blame. From abundance we come together, we appreciate each other. What is the point of focusing on what we DO NOT have when we have so much.

– How can appreciative inquiry help in digital transformation?
We always treat culture and business simultaneously. Each and every one of the transformations being undergone at present have to do to a greater or lesser intensity with the digitalisation.
To digitise culture it is essential that people have an attractive image of the future with the enormous digital change. It has to be attractive to customers, the company and to oneself. If this is the case, everyone wants to get on board. It is a much better place to be. How can one address the fact that I will not be able to guarantee the job in the future?
I love LinkedIn’s proposal to its employees. It is honest and beneficial for everyone. “When you leave LinkedIn you will be a better professional, more valued and a LinkedIn ambassador. WOW if you do not know the future what could be better than to increase your employability and simultaneously feel proud of what was done in the company. It gives you freedom and satisfaction. Who can give more? The employees return it with energy and the pride of belonging. Very appreciative.

-Can you give an example of the use of this methodology in order to face the challenges faced by the current HR departments?
I am particularly proud of the diversity initiative of my partner Ana García Villas Boas, “Woman in Leadership: use your power for a balanced world”. Ana’s program starts by creating abundance, with an inquiry into its own strengths that analyses moments in which other people have experienced our best version, our potential in action. The summit includes all women managers or future directors at the same time, applying the principle of simultaneity. By doing this simultaneously, enough energy and complicity is introduced to balance the system. Something that has been unbalanced and skewed for a long time needs a lot of energy to compensate it.
Energy is the ability to generate movement. Movement is very inclusive towards men. If you want to be included, be inclusive and include yourself. According to Ana, women tend to offer themselves less than men, they expect their boss to see them and promote them; you have to have an pro-active attitude, “use your power”. Not saying anything can be interpreted as a lack of interest.
A balanced world is sought, a world in which all the strengths of men and women are used. Or do not we have big enough challenges in the world? In my opinion, they are huge. When we use the best of what there is, the possibilities multiply.

5 key concepts

Abundance: Focus on what is the best of what is, you will always find a lot. We combine what is best towards the “Yes” we want it.
Simultaneity: Includes all those that generate success at the same time.
Energy: Maintain an unconditionally positive attitude.
Equanimity: We relate to each individual with the same enthusiasm, dedication and nearness.
Intention: Guide yourself by looking for the most beneficial and least harmful for the group at all times.

Liderazgo apreciativo

Moving from existing to appreciative leadership, managing from abundance and simultaneity

Liderazgo apreciativo

Each day more firms in Spain bet on Appreciative Inquiry, a model which transforms organizations. It is question of “changing the way in which we change”, of transforming the culture and business of the organizations in a simultaneous manner. The premise is simple: A system moves in the direction that it investigates, that is to say, that companies grow and develop at a greater speed as long as they investigate what they DO have and what they DO want instead of investigating problems and lamenting what they DO NOT have.

If we put the focus on detecting problems these will grow, multiply and become all the more solid. It is the paradigm of deficit, scarcity and what we do not want. But when we study what are the best moments, what in Madavi we call “peak experiences”, these will also multiply.

What sort of leader is necessary to prop up this system?

All who lead have the potential to do so in an appreciative manner, logically using their strengths and in some way their own style. Some leaders are more inspirational; others depend more on process etc. What changes is the focus from working from abundance instead of from scarcity.

According to Peter Drucker: the mission of a leader is to align the strengths of an organization in the form and manner that make the weakness something irrelevant. This is to lead in an appreciative manner. Without doubt it is easier and more effective.

How to develop this leadership?

The development starts from abundance and simultaneity.  Abundance because the first step is for the managers and directors to investigate the individual collaborators via interviews. We inquire into what the leader did at the moment the interviewee felt very proud of his/her performance and contribution.

From this learning a summit of development is carried out with the leaders, 100, 200… It is here where simultaneity enters. If we only do it with a few when they return to the office the existing culture absorbs them, but if they all do it at the same time the new culture propels you forward. Simultaneity generates speed.

In the development summit the best moments of leadership are explored. Episodes of which they feel proud and the strengths of those moments are discovered.

What is interesting is that the strengths, values, and principles of leadership of the two inquiries tend to come together. The leader realizes that he/she can and wants to do so.

At the end, through a digital tool, they are capable of doing an appreciative self-managed session with their team. In this session they align the strengths of all their team towards the aspirations and objectives. The result is always action; it is about doing….all the rest is theory.

This form of massive and simultaneous development is what generates speed of change. When the attitudes of the everyone sum they propel you forward and all the team or company goes in the same direction. It is necessary to move hundreds, thousands… The energy for change comes from the sum of the energy that each person puts. It cannot be bought.

From scarcity we diverge, we confront and project blame. From abundance we converge, we align.  What sense does it have for the leader to put the focus and what we do not have when we have so much.