The technique of appreciative inquiry (AI) can play an important role in the overall change management strategy. AI challenges the status quo by working from a strength-based foundation. If you accept the following principles, AI may be a technique for change of interest to you:
- What you focus your energy on increases
- Every individual, team and organization has positive qualities to be discovered
- Focusing on the positive and working from strengths is more engaging to people than telling them they are a problem that needs to be fixed
- People are receptive to being asked to share positive aspects of themselves through the process of telling stories
- Through telling our stories we can enhance the social systems we engage in daily and positively impact processes including communication, conflict resolution, decision-making, performance appraisals, and team interaction
Recently, I interviewed Dr. Hadley Williams, Managing Director at Human Productivity, about his experience using AI to empower the change management process. He cites a recent engagement with a large non-profit where they used AI to help the organization develop a new vision and chart a new direction for it future (a method he calls “Appreciative Visioning”).
Linking it to his previous work in the area of action research, Dr. Williams explains how focusing on what is not going to change during a transformation has the potential to radically reduce change resistance. Click the video below to hear the interview.
Click here to download slides with a summary of the appreciative inquiry approach along with contact information for Dr. Hadley Williams. If you would like to learn more about the nuts and bolts of AI, you may want to also check out the Appreciative Inquiry Commons project sponsored by Case Western Reserve University.