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Appreciative Inquiry: A Revolution in Change


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Appreciative Inquiry: A Revolution in Change

  1. 1. Appreciative Inquiry A Revolution in Change * View Notes for speaking note suggestions Contact Debbie Morris at
  2. 2. New Challenges Require New Thinking First <ul><li>“ The world we have made as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far creates problems we cannot solve at the same level of thinking at which we created them” – Albert Einstein </li></ul>
  3. 3. Advocacy <ul><li>A western educational & business tradition that stresses: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- critical thinking - critiquing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- adversarial thinking - confrontation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- testing one viewpoint against the other to find the strongest </li></ul></ul><ul><li>We focus almost exclusively on advocacy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- presenting our views and arguing strongly for them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- debating forcefully to influence others </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Most managers are trained to be advocates </li></ul>
  4. 4. Inquiry <ul><li>A complementary skill to advocacy that: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>seeks to uncover information about why a particular view is held </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>asks questions about underlying assumptions, beliefs, reasoning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>explores: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- why do you believe this ? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- what logic leads to this conclusion ? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- what facts and data do you have ? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- what examples or past experience exists ? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Supported by attitude of wanting to understand, explore, learn, expand </li></ul><ul><li>Not a technique to cross examine people or find fault </li></ul>
  5. 5. Appreciative Inquiry <ul><li>Appreciate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recognize the quality, significance or magnitude of </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To be fully aware of or sensitive to </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To raise in value or price </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Inquiry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The process of gathering information for the purpose of learning and changing. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A close examination in a quest for truth. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. How It Works… Generally <ul><li>First, understand the positive core of a living system. What makes it most effective and vital, in economic, ecological and human terms? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We move in the direction of our deepest and most frequently asked questions. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Positive guiding images of the future trigger action in the present. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Images are found in our dialogue with each other. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ratio of positive to negative statements is a success factor for change. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individuals & groups can then weave the best of what is into formal and informal practices. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This new approach to change, based on the power of the positive question, has emerged from revolutions in many fields </li></ul>
  7. 7. Evidence <ul><li>When organizations or groups capture positive imagery internally and make it visible, it starts to drive change in an individualistic, self-directed way. It creates a sense of focus. </li></ul>Our image of the future drives our ACTION! Placebo Effect Help someone construct an image of how something might happen, and it drives behavior which creates a change in that direction Pygmalion Effect Change a teacher’s image of a student, and their behavior changes toward the student, improving student performance Sociology The study of problems creates an increase in number & severity of problems. But opposite also occurs. Sports Vivid visualization of one’s performance guides physical performance. Speed of learning when only correct images are reviewed. Internal Conversations Studies of pre and post operative patients. Difference in recovery between positive and negative imagery.
  8. 8. Appreciative Leadership <ul><li>New definition of leadership includes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the ability to see the best, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>lift it up, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>create an alignment of strengths, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>see opportunities in the environment more rapidly than others. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. The Idea of Positive Change <ul><li>Definition: Any form of organization change, re-design, or planning that begins with comprehensive analysis of an organization’s “ positive core” and then links this knowledge to the heart of any strategic change agenda. </li></ul><ul><li>Because human systems move toward what they persistently ask questions about, positive change involves the deliberate discovery of everything that gives a system “life” when it is most effective in economic and human terms. </li></ul><ul><li>Link the positive core directly to any strategic agenda, and changes never thought possible are more rapidly mobilized while simultaneously building enthusiasm, corporate confidence, and human energy. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Comparison to Problem Focus <ul><li>What to fix </li></ul><ul><li>Underlying grammar = problem, symptoms, causes, solutions, action plan, intervention </li></ul><ul><li>Breaks things into pieces & specialties, guaranteeing fragmented responses </li></ul><ul><li>Slow! Takes a lot of positive emotion to make real change. </li></ul><ul><li>Assumes organizations are constellations of problems to be overcome </li></ul><ul><li>What to grow </li></ul><ul><li>New grammar of the true, good, better, possible </li></ul><ul><li>“ Problem focus” implies that there is an ideal. AI breaks open the box of what the ideal is first. </li></ul><ul><li>Expands vision of preferred future. Creates new energy fast. </li></ul><ul><li>Assumes organizations are sources of infinite capacity and imagination </li></ul>Problem Solving Appreciative Inquiry
  11. 11. The AI Change Process Definition: Decide What to Learn About Discovery: Opportunity Context Positive Core Dream: Envisioning what might be; shared images for a preferred future Design: Finding innovative ways to create that future; Breakthrough propositions Delivery: Sustaining the Change Topic (What you Want More of)
  12. 12. 4 Generic Questions to Start <ul><li>Best experience. A time when… </li></ul><ul><li>What do you value about… yourself, work, organization. </li></ul><ul><li>What do you think is the core life-giving factor or value of your organization –that which if it did not exist would make your organization totally different than it currently is? </li></ul><ul><li>If you had three wishes for this organization, what would it be? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Typical Project Start-up <ul><li>Choose the topic: combine themes from generic interviews with research questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Agree on desired outcomes & CSF; </li></ul><ul><li>Agree on how to get there </li></ul><ul><li>Develop draft interview protocol </li></ul><ul><li>Practice interviews; develop interview guidelines </li></ul><ul><li>Plan for collecting & “analyzing” the data </li></ul><ul><li>Plan for how the process will drive change. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Application Areas <ul><li>Leadership & Management Development </li></ul><ul><li>Work Process Redesign </li></ul><ul><li>Team Development </li></ul><ul><li>Organization Culture Change </li></ul><ul><li>Employee Development </li></ul><ul><li>HR Practices: Staffing, Orientation, Performance Management </li></ul><ul><li>Communications </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative alliances & joint ventures </li></ul><ul><li>Community & customer relations </li></ul><ul><li>Diversity initiatives </li></ul><ul><li>Strategic Planning </li></ul><ul><li>Focus Groups </li></ul><ul><li>Benchmarking </li></ul><ul><li>Surveys </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluation to Valuation </li></ul>
  15. 15. Why It Works (1) <ul><li>Doesn’t focus on changing people  Relief that the message isn’t about what they’ve done wrong or have to stop doing. </li></ul><ul><li>Invites people to engage in building the kinds of organizations and communities that they want to live in. </li></ul><ul><li>Helps everyone see the need for change, explore new possibilities, and contribute to solutions. </li></ul><ul><li>Through alignment of formal and informal structures with purpose and principles, it translates shared vision into reality and belief into practice. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Why it works (2) <ul><li>Assumptions  conversation  dominant images  individual acts at both conscious and unconscious levels  organizational infrastructure. </li></ul><ul><li>Organizations manifest human imagination. Learnings that surface through AI shift collective image. </li></ul><ul><li>Process responds to three truths about human nature: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exceptionality: We’re all exceptions. We respond best when this is noticed & conditions for exceptional performance are enhanced. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Essentiality: We each need to be seen as essential to the group. If we “lift up” meaningful contributions, it creates a compelling guiding image for others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Equality: Creates a way for the organization to be in “full voice” about the true, good, better, possible. </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Summary <ul><li>A high-participation, full-voice process targeted at organizational innovation </li></ul><ul><li>A learning process to identify and disseminate best practices </li></ul><ul><li>A way of managing and working that fosters positive communication and can result in the formation of deep and meaningful relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Can be used to radically redesign the governance structures and processes of an organization. </li></ul><ul><li>Mobilizes strategic change by focusing on the core strengths of an organization, then using those strengths to reshape the future.  </li></ul>
  18. 18. References Used <ul><li>“ What is Appreciative Inquiry” by Joe Hall & Sue Hammond, </li></ul><ul><li>Appreciative Inquiry: Change at the Speed of Imagination , by Jane Magruder Watkins and Berhard J. Mohr. </li></ul><ul><li>Appreciative Inquiry: A Constructive Approach to Organization Development and Social Change , 2001 Cape Cod Institute Workshop by David Cooperrider and Marge Schiller </li></ul><ul><li>Appreciative Inquiry: Igniting Transformative Action,” by Bernard Mohr. From The Systems Thinker , Volume 12, #1, 2001, at </li></ul><ul><li>Other Resources: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>AI Listserve at [email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>AI Commons website at </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>AI Consulting Organization is just getting started: a global network of AI practitioners at www . </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. 5 Principles <ul><li>Constructionist: We live in worlds our questions create. Knowledge and org destiny are interwoven. We see the world we describe. </li></ul><ul><li>Simultaneity: Change begins at the moment you ask the first question. </li></ul><ul><li>Open Book: We can read almost anything into any organization. </li></ul><ul><li>Anticipatory: Deep change occurs first in our images of the future </li></ul><ul><li>Positive: The more positive the question, the greater and longer-lasting the change. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Assumptions Underneath <ul><ul><li>In every human system, something works. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What we focus on, and the language we use, becomes our reality. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reality is created in the moment and there are multiple realities. It is important to value differences. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The act of asking questions influences the group in some way. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People have more confidence & comfort to move to an unknown future when they carry forward parts of the past. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What we carry forward should be what is best about the past. </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Appreciative Leadership <ul><li>New definition of leadership includes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the ability to see the best, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>lift it up, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>create an alignment of strengths, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>see opportunities in the environment more rapidly than others. </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Dealing with the Negative <ul><li>It is how experiences are reflected upon, talked about, defined, and the reality we co-create that ultimately makes it positive or negative. </li></ul><ul><li>“ [We] must never be intimidated by experts; experts deal only in facts, but important decisions are matters of philosophy and valuing, not fact.” </li></ul><ul><li>AI is a way of reclaiming our imaginative competence. </li></ul>