And Now for the Good News: Appreciative Inquiry
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And Now for the Good News: Appreciative Inquiry

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Program presented an overview of appreciative inquiry, the study and exploration of what gives life to human systems when they function at their best. This approach to organizational change is based ...

Program presented an overview of appreciative inquiry, the study and exploration of what gives life to human systems when they function at their best. This approach to organizational change is based on the assumption that questions and dialogue about strengths, successes, values, hopes and dreams are themselves transformational. It offers a positive way to engage library staff in assessment. Although this method had its inception in the health care industry, this program will demonstrate its relevance to continuous improvement in libraries. Presenters included Maureen Sullivan and Gene Spencer.

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And Now for the Good News: Appreciative Inquiry And Now for the Good News: Appreciative Inquiry Presentation Transcript

  • And Now for the Good News: Appreciative Inquiry Maureen Sullivan Gene Spencer ALA Annual Conference - June 30, 2008
  • Agenda and Format
    • This will be an interactive working session:
    • Set the Context for Appreciative Inquiry in Assessment
    • Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry
    • The “Art” of the Positive Question
    • Application of Appreciative Inquiry
  • Setting the Context "The most serious mistakes are not being made as a result of wrong answers. The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong question." Peter Drucker
  • Focus of Assessment What are we doing well? What’s broken or ineffective? (within some +/- “gap”) Typical Assessment Process Maintain or Tweak? Fix or Abandon? AI Process Significantly Better Results Asking Different Questions
  • Introducing Appreciative Inquiry (AI) A Whirlwind Tour
  • What is Appreciative Inquiry (AI)?
    • Appreciative Inquiry is the study and exploration of what gives life to human systems when they function at their best.
    • This approach to personal change and organization change is based on the assumption that questions and dialogue about strengths, successes, values, hopes, and dreams are themselves transformational.
    (from The Power of Appreciative Inquiry by Diana Whitney and Amanda Trosten-Bloom )
  • The Essence of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) Positive Core
  • AI’s Origins
    • Research from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University
    • David Cooperrider is Professor and Chairman of the Case Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit
    • Study at the Cleveland Clinic
  • A Positive View of Organizations
    • “ Organizations are, first and foremost, centers of human relatedness and relationships come alive where there is an appreciative eye, when people see the best in one another and the whole, when they share their dreams and ultimate concerns in affirming ways, and when they are connected in full voice to create not just new worlds, but better worlds. By making it possible for every voice to be heard, a life giving process is enacted.”
    (from The Appreciative Organization by Harlene Anderson, David Cooperrider, et. al. )
  • Appreciative Inquiry - Simply Put… If we look for what is best and learn from it, we can magnify and multiply our success If we continue to search for problems, we will continue to find problems
  • Imagine the difference…
    • Starting with 2 very different questions:
    • What works well in this organization?
            • vs.
    • What problems do we need to fix to make this organization better?
  • 4-D Cycle of Appreciative Inquiry From The Power of Appreciative Inquiry One example of a Formal AI Process Positive Core Design “ Determine what should be” Affirmative Topic Choice Dream “ Imagine what might be” Discovery “ Appreciate what is” Destiny “ Create what will be”
  • Problem Solving vs. Appreciative Inquiry
    • Identify problems
    • Conduct Root Cause Analysis
    • Brainstorm Solutions & Analyze
    • Develop Action Plans
    • Metaphor: Organizations are problems to be solved
    • Appreciate “What is” (What gives life?)
    • Imagine “What might be”
    • Determine “What Should Be”
    • Create “What Will Be”
    • Metaphor: Organizations are a solution/mystery to be embraced
  • The Art of the Positive Question
  • Focus Again on the Positive Core Positive Core
  • MISSED COMMITMENTS Critical Thinking Gap Analysis Failure Rate Root Cause Analysis Emergency TROUBLE REPORT CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS PERFORMANCE REVIEW Evaluation Language of Assessment: Deficit From the Appreciative Inquiry Handbook Error Report Post-Mortem Deadline Fire Fighting Variance Report “ Missed Opportunity” “Satisfaction” Surveys WARNING
  • The Art of the Positive Question
    • To be compelling, assessment topics should be:
    • Positive – Overwhelmingly affirmative
    • Desirable – You want more of it
    • Motivational – Will take you where you want to go
  • Taking Aim at the Extraordinary
    • Examples:
    • Describe a peak experience or high point with your library.
    • Identify a time in your experience when you felt most effective and engaged.
    • What are three wishes you have to enhance the health and vitality of your organization?
  • Exercise – Appreciative Questions
    • Reflect on the sample questions in the handout
    • Form some new questions that you might use to assess your own organization
    • Share with a neighbor
  • When can you use these questions?
    • At the beginning of internal or external assessment efforts
    • To “jump-start” weekly meetings
    • In thought-provoking messages to staff
    • In one-on-one conversations with staff or community members
    • At the conclusion of any activity to assess the experience
  • Encyclopedia of Positive Questions
    • The questions in this book are intended to move the focus to positive possibilities
    A Great Resource:
  • Encyclopedia of Positive Questions
    • Sample positive questions are provided for:
    • Seamless service
    • Customer loyalty
    • Exceptional partnership
    • Compelling communication
    • Integrity in action
    • Quality moments
    • Participatory decision-making
    • Joy in a job well-done
    • Ownership
  • Application of Appreciative Inquiry
  • Underlying Benefits
    • Appreciative Inquiry unleashes power by:
    • Building relationships
    • Creating opportunities for people to be heard
    • Generating opportunities for people to dream
    • Allowing people to choose how they will contribute
    • Giving people the support to act
    • Encouraging and enabling people to be positive and affirming
  • 4-D Cycle of Appreciative Inquiry From The Power of Appreciative Inquiry Positive Core Design “ Determine what should be” Affirmative Topic Choice Dream “ Imagine what might be” Discovery “ Appreciate what is” Destiny “ Create what will be”
  • Exercise – an Appreciative Interview
    • It starts with an Appreciative Interview:
    • Choose a partner
    • Interview him/her based on the second handout
    • Take notes
    • Reverse roles
  • 4-D Cycle of Appreciative Inquiry From The Power of Appreciative Inquiry Positive Core Design “ Determine what should be” Affirmative Topic Choice Dream “ Imagine what might be” Discovery “ Appreciate what is” Destiny “ Create what will be” Rapport & Empathy Trust Mutual Understanding
  • Resources for Getting Started
  • Discussion
    • How can this approach be applied proactively to assessment in/for your library?
    • How would your stakeholders respond to questions that helped reflect on the “best of what is”?
    • How might this energy get beyond “assessment fatigue”?
  • Questions for Personal Reflection
    • How does the “appreciative approach” differ from typical techniques used for assessment?
    • Can you see how this approach (used regularly) would increase energy, creativity & momentum?
    • How would your stakeholders respond to a “strengths-based” assessment process?
    • Can you think of examples of how AI might be applied to internal and external assessment of your organization?
  • Closing Thoughts
    • “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. We must learn to see the world anew.”
    • “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
    Albert Einstein
  • Thank You!
    • Maureen Sullivan: [email_address]
    • Gene Spencer: [email_address]
  • Bibliography
    • The Thin Book of Appreciative Inquiry , Sue Annis Hammond (Thin Book Publishing Co.)
    • The Power of Appreciative Inquiry , Diana Whitney & Amanda Trosten-Bloom (Berrett-Koehler Publishers)
    • Encyclopedia of Positive Questions, Vol. 1 , Diana Whitney, et. al. (Lakeshore Communications)
    • Appreciative Inquiry Handbook , David Cooperrider, et. al. (Lakeshore Communications)
    • The Promise of Appreciative Inquiry in Library Organizations, Maureen Sullivan in Library Trends (53(1) Summer 2004, page 224)
    • Using Appreciative Inquiry in Evaluation, Hallie Preskill, Anne T. Coghlan, editors
    • Reframing Evaluation Through Appreciative Inquiry, Hallie Preskill, Tessie Tzavaras Catsambas
  • Other AI Resources
    • The Appreciative Inquiry Commons (www.appreciativeinquiry.org)
    • The Taos Institute (www.taosinstitute.net)
    • The Appreciative Organization by Harlene Anderson, et. al. (Taos Institute Publications)
    • Appreciative Leaders , edited by Marjorie Schiller, et. al. (Taos Institute Publications)