SWOT vs. SOAR: Engaging Staff in Institutional Planning

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Presented with Heather Berringer at Canadian Library Association Conference, 2013.

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SWOT vs. SOAR: Engaging Staff in Institutional Planning

  1. 1. SWOT vs. SOAR: Engaging Staff in Institutional Planning An Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry Heather Berringer, Deputy Chief Librarian, University of British Columbia - Okanagan Campus Gillian Byrne, Manager, Council of Atlantic University Libraries - Conseil des bibliothèques universitaires de l’Atlantique CLA 2013 – Winnipeg MB June 6, 2013
  2. 2. Appreciative Inquiry - a definition "Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is an energizing approach for sparking positive change in people, groups, and organizations. It focuses on what is working well (appreciative) by engaging people in asking questions and telling stories (inquiry)." Cockell,J. and McArthur-Blair, J.2012. Appreciative Inquiry in Higher Education: a Transformative Force. .
  3. 3. AI is ... a research method: "Appreciative Inquiry did not begin life as an organizational change technique; it began as a research method for making grounded theory- building more generative." Bushe, G.R. 2011. Appreciative inquiry: Theory and critique. In The Routledge Companion To Organizational Change.
  4. 4. AI is ... an organization development tool: “Appreciative Inquiry enables organizations to build their own generative theory for enabling transformational shifts by learning from their most positively exceptional moments.” Sharma, R. 2008. Celebrating Change: The New Paradigm of Organizational Development. Icfai University Journal of Soft Skills, Vol. 2 (3).
  5. 5. AI is ... a change paradigm: “The traditional approach to change is to look for the problem, do a diagnosis, and find a solution. The primary focus is on what is wrong or broken; since we look for problems, we find them. By paying attention to problems, we emphasize and amplify them. …Appreciative Inquiry suggests that we look for what works in an organization." Hammond, S. 1998. The Thin Book of Appreciative Inquiry.
  6. 6. Core Principles 1. THE CONSTRUCTIONIST PRINCIPLE Words create worlds 2. THE SIMULTANEITY PRINCIPLE Inquiry creates change 3. THE POETIC PRINCIPLE We can choose what we study 4. THE ANTICIPATORY PRINCIPLE Image inspires action 5. THE POSITIVE PRINCIPLE Positive questions lead to positive change
  7. 7. Additional Principles Whitney D. and Trosten-Bloom, A. 2003 / Barrett, F. & Fry, R. 2005 / Stavros, J. & Torres, C. 2005. THE WHOLENESS PRINCIPLE Wholeness brings out the best THE ENACTMENT PRINCIPLE Acting “as if” is self-fulfilling THE FREE CHOICE PRINCIPLE Free choice liberates power THE NARRATIVE PRINCIPLE Weaving stories creates bonds THE AWARENESS PRINCIPLE Surfacing assumptions is important in good relationships
  8. 8. Strengths of AI 1. Focus on the positive 2. Participatory 3. Creative thinking 4. Systemic
  9. 9. Criticisms of AI 1. Time intensive 2. Ignores deficits 3. Uncertain outcomes 4. Anti-evidence
  10. 10. Those who imagine that appreciative inquiry is by definition a pain-free, contented chewing of the organizational cud of recalled best practice need to bear in mind that any attempt at depth learning within an organizational setting is likely to exact its own psychic price. Elliott, C. (1999).Locating the energy for change: An introduction to appreciative inquiry.
  11. 11. “The negative is seductive” -Maureen Sullivan Sullivan, M. (2004). The promise of appreciative inquiry in library organizations. Library Trends 53(1), 218-229.
  12. 12. Psychological theory from other disciplines: • Pygmalion Theory (Education, Management) • Placebo Effect (Medicine) • Performance Theory (Sport Psychology)
  13. 13. Sullivan, M. (2004). The promise of appreciative inquiry in library organizations. Library Trends 53(1), 218-229.
  14. 14. Discovery Dream Design Deliver The “4D” Framework
  15. 15. Discovery Dream Design Deliver The “4D” Framework Appreciate the “best of what is” “Numbers are not good or bad. They are just interesting.” Alison Sivak, Assessment Librarian, University of Alberta
  16. 16. Discovery Dream Design Deliver The “4D” Framework Imagine what could be “Let’s have a buddy system at the service desk and have 2 staff members working together at each terminal. Pair a circulation and reference person to make a team. This team can then handle any transaction – one stop shopping!” “Or, what if the circulation and reference person was actually just one individual?”
  17. 17. Discovery Dream Design Deliver The “4D” Framework Determine what should be Have conversations that matter From Whitney & Trosten-Bloom(2003)
  18. 18. Discovery Dream Design Deliver The “4D” Framework Create what will be “In golf, as in life, it is the follow through that makes all the difference.” (Author Unknown)
  19. 19. Discovery Dream Design Deliver The “4D” Framework
  20. 20. Some Practical Applications: • Four Generic Questions • Mapping the Positive/Mapping the Dream • Words Create Worlds/Provocative Propositions • Positive Change Networks, Consortia, and Meetings
  21. 21. Four generic questions: 1. Best Experience Question 2. Values Question 3. Life-giving Force Question 4. Wishes and Images of the Future Remember: the act of asking questions of an organization or group influences the group in some way Adapted from Magruder Watkins & Stavros (2010)
  22. 22. Mapping the Positive/Mapping the Dream: 1. Read and share stories collected in the interview process 2. Conduct a “root cause of organizational success” analysis to identify all of the factors that lead to your organization’s success 3. Map the success factors (e.g.: mural, collective art project, input for a time capsule – use your imagination!) Adapted from Whitney & Trosten-Bloom (2003)
  23. 23. Words Create Worlds: 1. The terms by which we understand our world and our self are neither required nor demanded by “what there is” 2. Our modes of description, explanation and/or representation are derived from relationship 3. As we describe, explain, or otherwise represent, we also fashion our future 4. Reflection on our forms of understanding is vital to our future well-being Gergen, K. (1999). An invitation to social construction. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  24. 24. Provocative Propositions: 1. Narrative statements, proposing the ideal 2. Provocative, in that they stretch the organization beyond its norm into novel and more desired forms of interaction 3. Stated in the affirmative, using vivid positive imagery 4. Statements of belief, that constitute the ideal organization Whitney & Trosten-Bloom (2003)
  25. 25. Positive Change Networks, Consortia, and Meetings: • Groups of people dedicated to creating or facilitating change; • Task groups brought together to work on major design themes and report back to a larger group; • Cross-organizational inquiry teams who look for topics and themes of mutual relevance; or • As simple as asking at the end of a meeting, “What do you think went especially well today?”
  26. 26. SOAR Exercise • Alternative to SWOT in strategic planning processes • Focusses on the positive rather than insurmountable problems • Focusses on 'what should be' rather than 'what is'
  27. 27. SOAR Model
  28. 28. STRENGTHS 1. What story can you tell about the benefits of being involved with CLA? 2. What is it you value most about your interactions with CLA? ASPIRATIONS 1. What would you like to be able to say about CLA this time next year? 2. What inspires you about the work of associations? OPPORTUNITIES 1. What are the best parts of CLA that you want to perpetuate? 2. Where does your passion for your work match with CLA’s goals? RESULTS/RESOURCES 1. How will you know CLA is successful? 2. What can you offer to assist CLA in getting there?
  29. 29. Strengths 1. What story can you tell about the benefits of being involved with CLA? 2. What is it you value most about your interactions with CLA?
  30. 30. Opportunities 1. What are the best parts of CLA that you want to perpetuate? 2. Where does your passion for your work match with CLA’s goals?
  31. 31. Aspirations 1. What would you like to be able to say about CLA this time next year? 2. What inspires you about the work of associations?
  32. 32. Results/Resources 1. How will you know CLA is successful? 2. What can you offer to assist CLA in getting there?
  33. 33. Thank you! Heather Berringer, heather.berringer@ubc.ca Gillian Byrne, gbyrne@caul-cbua.ca
  34. 34. Selected Bibliography Barrett, F. & Fry, R. 2005. Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Approach to Cooperative Capacity Building. Chagrin Falls, OH: Taos Institute Publishing. Cockell, J. & McArthur-Blair, J.2012. Appreciative Inquiry in Higher Education: a Transformative Force. Jossey-Bass. Cooperrider, D. L., Whitney, D., & Stavros, J. M. 2003. Appreciative inquiry handbook. Bedford Heights, OH: Lakeshore Publishers. Elliott, C. 1999. Locating the energy for change: An introduction to appreciative inquiry. Winnipeg, Manitoba: International Institute for Sustainable Development. Hammond, S. 1998. The Thin Book of Appreciative Inquiry. Thin Book Publishing Company, 1998. Lewis, S., Passmore, J., & Cantore, S. (2008). Appreciative inquiry for change management: Using AI to facilitate organizational development. Philadelphia: Kogan Page Magruder Watkins, J., & Stavros, J.M. (2010). Appreciative inquiry: OD in the post-modern age. In W.J. Rothwell, J.M. Stavros, R.L. Sullivan, & A. Sullivan (Eds.), Practicing organization development: A guide for leading change, 3rd ed. (pp. 158-181). San Francisco: Pfeiffer. Stavros, J. & Torres, C. 2005. Dynamic Relationships: Unleashing the Power of Appreciative Inquiry in Daily Living. Chagrin Falls, OH: Taos Institute Publishing. Sullivan, M. (2004). The promise of appreciative inquiry in library organizations. Library Trends 53(1), 218-229. Whitney D. & Trosten-Bloom, A. 2003. The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

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