APPRECIATIVE INQUIRY

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Ap-pre\'ci-ate, v., 1. valuing; the act of recognizing the best in people or the world around us; affirming past and present strengths, successes, and potentials; to perceive those things that give life (health, vitality, excellence) to living systems 2. to increase
APPRECIATIVE INQUIRY

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1. APPRECIATIVE INQUIRY An Alchemy of Spirit

2. Ap-pre?ci-ate, v., 1. valuing; the act of recognizing the best in people or the world around us; affirming past and present strengths, successes, and potentials; to perceive those things that give life (health, vitality, excellence) to living systems 2. to increase in value, e.g. the economy has appreciated in value. Synonyms: VALUING, PRIZING, ESTEEMING, and HONORING. In-quire?, v., 1. the act of exploration and discovery. 2. to ask questions; to be open to seeing new potentials and possibilities. Synonyms: DISCOVERY, SEARCH, and SYSTEMATIC EXPLORATION, STUDY.

3. SESSION OBJECTIVES Introduce an approach to development within any human system -families, groups, organizations, communities Philosophy and principles Common Stages/steps Core Experience Hello/opening words Purpose of today?s session is to introduce a relatively new approach to organizational development - an approach that I believe is a refreshing and effective contrast to traditional approaches. Appreciative Inquiry has been described as both a practical philosophy and a process. My hope for this session is that you leave with a basic yet compelling understanding of both. To this end, I will be reviewing: 1) the philosophy and related principles that guide appreciative inquiry; 2) the common process or steps used in implementing the approach; and 3) leading you through a basic experience in the Ai process. Hello/opening words Purpose of today?s session is to introduce a relatively new approach to organizational development - an approach that I believe is a refreshing and effective contrast to traditional approaches. Appreciative Inquiry has been described as both a practical philosophy and a process. My hope for this session is that you leave with a basic yet compelling understanding of both. To this end, I will be reviewing: 1) the philosophy and related principles that guide appreciative inquiry; 2) the common process or steps used in implementing the approach; and 3) leading you through a basic experience in the Ai process.

4. TRADITIONAL APPROACH TO DEVELOPMENT Articulate the problem situation Identify the obstacles, problems, or malfunctions that have contributed to the current situation. Explore why these problems exist - root cause analysis Propose actions to be taken to address these problems Create an action plan Let me start by first talking about traditional approaches to development that most of us are probably familiar with. Typically, in situations where we recognize that something needs to change or improve, we first identify what problems exist, then we analyze the root causes or contributors to the problem, we work to identify some potential solutions, and then we develop an action plan to implement a chosen solution.Let me start by first talking about traditional approaches to development that most of us are probably familiar with. Typically, in situations where we recognize that something needs to change or improve, we first identify what problems exist, then we analyze the root causes or contributors to the problem, we work to identify some potential solutions, and then we develop an action plan to implement a chosen solution.

5. TRADITIONAL APPROACH Examples What are our customers dissatisfied with? What is contributing to customer dissatisfaction? What do we need to do to decrease customer dissatisfaction? ______________________________________ Why aren?t our stakeholders more involved in what we do? What do we need to do to address these issues? Here are a couple of examples of this in action. (we first identify what problems exist, then we analyze the root causes or contributors to the problem, we work to identify some potential solutions, and then we develop an action plan to implement a chosen solution.) This approach takes a ?glass-half-full? view of the situation by focusing first on what is missing. The approach then works to close the gap between the existing deficit and the desired state. Here are a couple of examples of this in action. (we first identify what problems exist, then we analyze the root causes or contributors to the problem, we work to identify some potential solutions, and then we develop an action plan to implement a chosen solution.) This approach takes a ?glass-half-full? view of the situation by focusing first on what is missing. The approach then works to close the gap between the existing deficit and the desired state.

6. DRAWBACKS TO THE TRADITIONAL APPROACH Looks to identify/assign blame Focuses attention on what to avoid (fears) Focuses attention on what is missing (deficits) Can deplete energy and motivation Obviously, this approach has had some measure of success or we wouldn?t have continued to use it. For many of us, this is all that we have known as an approach to dealing with issues we?d like to address and improve. The question many would ask then is ?what is wrong with this traditional approach??. It may not be a matter of what is wrong with the approach so much as what are its limitations or the concerns associated with it. In an attempt to answer this question, let me recount one of the early experiments using Ai as an approach. >> recount the ?bowling? example from Positive Image, Positive Action. What were the issues associated with the different approaches to improving success in bowling? One issue is that the traditional approach is critical - it looks to assign fault in the current situation, the thinking being that this allows us to correct the fault. This can provoke defensiveness, resistance, hiding the truth, ? (refer to Demings and his comments about fear in the workplace) Can create a culture that is oriented towards criticism. Another issue is that it focuses on what is feared and to be avoided. Jack Nicholas in his book ?Golf My Way? noted an important distinction between ?don?t hit it into the trees? and ?hit it down the middle of the fairway?. Also -defensive driving and dealing with skids. As I said earlier, this approach focuses primarily on what is missing and can overlook or fail to fully recognize and build on existing strengths. Refer to the work of John McKnight.Obviously, this approach has had some measure of success or we wouldn?t have continued to use it. For many of us, this is all that we have known as an approach to dealing with issues we?d like to address and improve. The question many would ask then is ?what is wrong with this traditional approach??. It may not be a matter of what is wrong with the approach so much as what are its limitations or the concerns associated with it. In an attempt to answer this question, let me recount one of the early experiments using Ai as an approach. >> recount the ?bowling? example from Positive Image, Positive Action. What were the issues associated with the different approaches to improving success in bowling? One issue is that the traditional approach is critical - it looks to assign fault in the current situation, the thinking being that this allows us to correct the fault. This can provoke defensiveness, resistance, hiding the truth, ? (refer to Demings and his comments about fear in the workplace) Can create a culture that is oriented towards criticism. Another issue is that it focuses on what is feared and to be avoided. Jack Nicholas in his book ?Golf My Way? noted an important distinction between ?don?t hit it into the trees? and ?hit it down the middle of the fairway?. Also -defensive driving and dealing with skids. As I said earlier, this approach focuses primarily on what is missing and can overlook or fail to fully recognize and build on existing strengths. Refer to the work of John McKnight.

7. AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH ?Appreciative Inquiry? Focuses and builds on existing strengths and capacities (assets) Identifies what is desired (positive image) Taps into what energizes and motivates stakeholders Alternatively, Ai starts from a foundation of first looking at the situation from a ?glass is half-full? perspective. It focuses primarily on what is working (vs. not working) and strives to build on existing strengths (vs. overcome existing weaknesses) to achieve our desired outcomes. This is not to say that is a unique and never-before-tried approach. The power of positive imagery and the notion of building on existing strengths have been noted for decades, if not centuries. There are similarities to work done in other fields - e.g. Sports psychology, Solution Focused Therapy in the field of psychotherapy, and John McKnight?s work in community development. David Cooperrider, however, has drawn upon bodies of research from a variety of disciplines and philosophies and has developed a highly adaptable process for engaging people to build the kind of organizations and world that they believe to be desirable. Alternatively, Ai starts from a foundation of first looking at the situation from a ?glass is half-full? perspective. It focuses primarily on what is working (vs. not working) and strives to build on existing strengths (vs. overcome existing weaknesses) to achieve our desired outcomes. This is not to say that is a unique and never-before-tried approach. The power of positive imagery and the notion of building on existing strengths have been noted for decades, if not centuries. There are similarities to work done in other fields - e.g. Sports psychology, Solution Focused Therapy in the field of psychotherapy, and John McKnight?s work in community development. David Cooperrider, however, has drawn upon bodies of research from a variety of disciplines and philosophies and has developed a highly adaptable process for engaging people to build the kind of organizations and world that they believe to be desirable.

8. APPRECIATIVE INQUIRY ?5-D Cycle?


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