Are you familiar with Appreciative Inquiry? If not, read on because here’s a quick overview.
Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a method for organization development and change management that focuses on strengths and their power at both the organization and individual level.
From a great book on the topic, Appreciative Inquiry – A Positive Revolution in Change by David L. Cooperrider and Diana Whitney – “Organizations are not, at their core, problems to be solved. Each was created as a solution designed in its own time to meet a challenge or satisfy a need of society. Each is full of vital connections and life giving potential: relationships, partnerships, alliances and growing webs of knowledge, skill and ability that can harness the power of combined strengths.”
The Appreciative Inquiry process engages the powerful positive potential of all organization members and by identifying and aligning strengths makes weaknesses less relevant. It happens via four steps aka the 4-D Cycle:
- Discovery – identifying the best in the status quo
- Dream – creating a vision of what could be
- Design – determining what should be
- Destiny – realizing the dream
Appreciative Inquiry is a great addition to the toolkit of today’s managers and other organizational practitioners such as training & development folks. Using AI and emphasizing the positive can result in many desirable outcomes as reported by Cooperrider and Whitney including employees feeling safe, confident, and committed to the organization as well as increased employee participation.
Note: I am not suggesting companies completely ignore weaknesses and I do believe identifying, understanding, and addressing them is a necessary piece of the development process.
AI is a departure from the traditional command and control, employees must be policed school of management and therefore a hard sell to people and companies still operating with a 20th century mentality. Baby steps are required when introducing AI techniques in those organizations.
How are you harnessing the strength in your organization? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
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