Theory  E²: Working with Entrepreneurs in Closely-Held Enterprises–III.The Appreciation of Entrepreneurship and Enterprise

Theory E²: Working with Entrepreneurs in Closely-Held Enterprises–III.The Appreciation of Entrepreneurship and Enterprise

Valuing Another Person

In some circles, the process of appreciation refers to an increase in worth or value. A stock portfolio “appreciates” in value. This use of the term appreciation would seem, on the surface, to be economic in character. Value, however, can be assigned in non-financial terms—especially in closely-held enterprises. Van Gogh looked at a vase of sunflowers. He appreciated these flowers by rendering a painting of them. In doing so, he increased the aesthetic value of these flowers for everyone. Van Gogh similarly appreciated and brought new value to his friends through his friendship: “Van Gogh did not merely articulate admiration for his friend: He created new values and new ways of seeing the world through the very act of valuing.”

Peter Vaill recounts a scene from Lawrence of Arabia in which Lawrence tells a British Colonel that his job at the Arab camp was to “appreciate the situation.”   By appreciating the situation, Lawrence assessed and then added credibility to the Arab cause, much as a knowledgeable jeweler or art appraiser can increase the value of a diamond or painting through nothing more than the thoughtful appraisal. Lawrence’s appreciation of the Arab situation, in turn, helped to produce a new level of courage and ambition on the part of the Arab communities with which Lawrence was associated. Appreciative organizations create value, courage and ambition among those who are associated with the organization. This is a key point in the process of organizational appreciation.


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William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations.

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