Creating Conversations that Matter
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Appreciative Inquiry – A Summary

One of Profound Conversations’ core approaches is The Importance of Questions & The Appreciative Approach. One of the questions I am often asked by clients is to explain what exactly I mean by the Appreciative Approach, why I use it – and how they can learn more.

I made them a summary – and I would like to share it with you.

Appreciative Inquiry & The Appreciative Approach

We have two possibilities, we can look at what works or we can look at what doesn’t work – whatever we look for is what we are going to find”. – Marjorie Schiller, Phd

The Appreciative Approach is based on Appreciative Inquiry (AI).

AI offers a new, invigorating approach to dealing with the very real business issues you face. We focus on what gives energy, and support leaders, their teams, and their organizations on remembering and re-discovering themselves at their best.

Let’s contrast it briefly with the traditional approach: The traditional approach to change is often deficit-focused. It comes from the belief that organizations are problems that need to be solved. That all we need to do to “fix” the problem is to identify the root cause of failure and then develop and implement solutions to close the gap. Often, experts are called in to diagnose the problem and “prescribe” solutions.

Appreciative Inquiry’s new theory of change is that broad-based participation and collaboration focused on purposefully exploring for and enhancing that which gives life to an organization when it is performing at its best is much more effective and efficient in shaping the future. Or as David Cooperrider (the originator of AI) put it: “AI is an exciting way to embrace organizational change. Its assumption is simple: Every person, every team, every school, every organization has something that works right – things that give it life when it is most alive, effective, successful, and connected in healthy ways to its stakeholders and communities.”

Therefore, the Appreciative Approach means we direct our questions away from deficits and gaps. We focus instead on what gives energy, and support leaders, their teams, and their organizations on remembering and re-discovering themselves at their best. As a result, a powerful vision for, and commitment to, an energizing future emerges.

You can learn more about Appreciative Inquiry here. Or ask me a question via email or in the comment section below. I look forward to your feedback!

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