David Cooperrider

Changing the way in which we change, with a look at David Cooperrider

“The images of the future guide the behavior of any system”, says David Cooperrider, one of the creators of  Appreciative Inquiry. What is AI and who is David Cooperrider?

He defines it himself:

Appreciative Inquiry «looks for the best », David Cooperrider.

As David Cooperrider explains, Appreciative Inquiry is about the search for the best in people. It implies the art of asking questions which “strengthen our own capacity –and that of all the rest-to understand, anticipate and increase the positive potential”.

That is to say that, Appreciative Inquiry focuses on the search for the “best” amongst people, their organisation and their environment based on their successes, and how to enhance them rather than the “problems” and how to resolve them.

Involving everybody in an organization to renovate it

One of the most interesting aspects of Appreciative Inquiry is that it involves all the people in the organisation with the purpose of renovating it, changing it and focusing on the change. The nucleus of everything is when we discover the strengths and when we combine and enlarge those strengths. “That is inspiration”, says David Cooperrider.

According to Cooperrider, organizations change as a function of the questions asked of them; ”those organizations that inquire into their problems and difficulties will obtain more of the same, but those that try to discover what is the best they can find in themselves will discover how to be successful.”

A very good definition of Appreciative Inquiry is given by Frank J. Barret y Ronald E. Fry: AI is a “way of transforming human systems in the shared image of their most positive potential, based on strengths inherent to those systems and in the construction of capacities”.

“If we put the focus in detecting problems, these grow, multiply and become more solid. It is the paradigm of deficit, scarcity and what we do not want. But when study the best moments, what we call the “Summit experiences”, these also multiply… it is as if in some way they flourish”, points out Fernando Iglesias, CEO of Madavi.




acción colectiva

A new Madavi “summit” with the Schweppes Suntory team; collective action continues

Madavi has held a new Summit with the Schweppes Suntory España team. The process started a few months ago when the company selected Madavi to support and mobilise towards collective action a specific department of the company, which was going through a moment of many changes both at organisational and strategic levels, as well as, with processes and work tools. We then held our first “summit”.

“ What we are looking for is someone to help us connect these changes and unify all that energy which is being generated, and as a result Madavi seemed to be a very integrating solution”, explained Beatriz Malpartida, in an earlier interview in this blog, who is People Development Lead of Schweppes Suntory España.

“We thought it a very powerful to focus the subject of the people from an appreciative inquiry point of view, that is to say, from strengths that they have and not from the areas that they need to improve”.

Mobilizing many in one direction

As is usual in our processes, we count on each and every member of the team, and with dynamics very different to any other way of working. That is why we say, that in Madavi “we change the way in which we change”. According to the evaluation of Schweppes Suntory, “people decided what it was that they wanted to do and by supporting themselves on what was positive and on their capacity of assuming responsibility – which is very high -, all the commitments which arose, came from them. Also the fact that each person decided up to what point they wanted to get involved in the project.

Another dynamic which seemed to them “ very powerful” was that everyone had the same say in what happened.  This dynamic way of working relies on inquiry into a summit moment, in which you realize that you already have those strengths that the company needs at that moment.

«Yes you can», the collective action continues

As a result, collective action was generated with different areas of opportunities, which have converted into projects. “No one who has participated in this Project is the same than before having participated in it”. The belief that “yes you can” has been generated. “You see that something that you have done has worked and that it ha an immediate result and that you finish making it part of your daily way of work”, according to Beatriz Malpartida.

But, what is a summit? It is here that the change begins

In Madavi, we change the way in which organisations change; to do so, instead of analysing the problems, we inquire into what we call “summit moments”.

It is here that the change starts, injecting energy into the system; mobilizing many in the same direction by holding a summit.

A Summit is a collaborative event for a lot of people. When they are held, all the people necessary for success meet at the same time and the same place and create collective action aimed at an attractive image of the future.

The summits are developed in three stages:

In the first (the pre-summit) the sponsors, – a small group of people who have an agenda of change and are convinced that an appreciative process is the best way to change – mark the purpose of the process.

In the second, the Summit, all the stakeholders necessary to mobilise the system participate. During the sessions the strengths are harnessed and aligned in the form of action towards the opportunities.

In the third, the post-summit, the necessary impulse is given to help the teams have success and promote the cultural change. We know the projects, the teams, the resources and the action required. It is the moment to adjust the planning to the reality.

Madavi, the YES Company.


“What we planned as a dream has occurred several months after the summit with Madavi”

We interview Elena Vela, Innovation Director – SITEX  (DANONE)

SITEX is part of the global innovation team of Danone for the division of fresh dairy and vegetable products. Its principle mission is to provide technological solutions for innovation and that these innovations be robust once they are transferred to the industrial line of production.

A few months ago, this division found itself in the middle of a process of acceleration in growth, using innovation as the key lever and changing the traditional way of innovating.

To face this ambitious challenge, “ I saw the need to project ourselves in the future and construct in a collective fashion (we, who have our own ecosystem). We wanted it to be our team, including both  the what  as well as the how, that is to say, redefine our mission. But also to change our way of working and organising ourselves, of connecting externally; of how to improve our internal collaboration, with other teams, and how to achieve a greater visibility and a larger impact on our team and their growing contribution to innovation”, explains in this interview Elena Vela Roca, Innovation Director – SITEX.

With this challenge on the agenda, they have worked with Madavi during 5 months. “ I wanted that this process of change to involve the whole team, from the beginning to the end. Thus, the participation of the team in the whole process has been a collective one in all its phases, from conception to execution”.

According to Elena Vela a key part of the process “has been to count on the direct implication of a representation of our principle stakeholders both internally (fundamentally local innovation teams, quality, engineering and operations) as well as externally, (suppliers of ingredients and engineering…).

 How do you value the methodology of the Project carried out by Madavi?

The fact that we worked on the process of the interviews from an appreciative inquiry perspective, in order to identify our stories of success, our strengths, was very motivating and re-affirmed the achievements and the high level of competence of the team.

Elena explains that “ from that point, we defined the positive Core (“what we do have”), so as to identify what works the best, what motivates us and gives us energy, and from there constructed our dream, what we do want. We visualize the future and define the areas of opportunity  to reach the dream. We worked as teams on simple ideas and prototypes to convert them into projects, with their milestones and the whole group mobilised towards it, with a high level of energy and commitment”.

Why Madavi?

We had internal references on Madavi from the local innovation team of Iberia, and rather than other options I chose Madavi because –personal experience – I believe in processes based on appreciative experience, that is to say, to put the focus on our strengths to build our energising and ambitious future, as well as the integration of our community of stakeholders.

What were your expectations before starting to work with Madavi? 

My expectations were to achieve the transformation necessary to face the challenges and at the same time that the road to the change would be motivating and energising for the team.

Have they been exceeded?: « We swim in abundance »

Highly exceeded; we swim in abundance, the opportunities are raining in and our connexion, both externally and internally have multiplied. And what is most important is that the team is highly involved and energised  with the change.

How would you define in a single phrase your « Madavi experience?


It is going to be a YES!


“Construction based on strengths and from the principles of simultaneity and abundance, project you into a much more ambitious future and you achieve a high grade of implication and motivation on the part of the team, which is different to normal sequenced processes”, she adds.

What has this experience given you? 

In it we all feel like direct actors of our futures, we see that what was posed as  “dream” is occurring only a few months after the summit: there are more projects and they are more interesting; we have multiplied our internal and external connexions and increased exponentially our internal visibility within the company.

And how do you value their methodology and the “Summit format”?

I am now completely convinced that there can be no other way. The format includes all the elements for success; appreciative inquiry, with its 6 principles, allows the summit to “propel” us into the future!

Elena Vela has told us that the appreciative culture has completely penetrated her team; “it would now be necessary to extend it to the whole organisation”. To the point that that they have created a virtual community called “The Yes Community”, “in which we interexchange our progress but also other subjects or experiences within our appreciative culture with all the members of the process so as to extend to the maximum possible number of people.”.

To finish off, can you give us a preview of a Project that has been born as a result of the summit?

From the areas of opportunities which we identified when projecting the future, 5 projects were born: some more focused towards “what”  (for example: how to improve our processes in order for them to be more flexible and adaptable for innovation); others were more focused towards how we worked … These projects advance and the results to date are what we hoped for, and this is because the people chose what they wanted, because they felt they had an added value to give to those projects, and they do so in a very motivated fashion”.

Elena Vela explains her impressions in this video:





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.