Appreciative Inquiry

When I was in my research phase of becoming a Strengthscope Practitioner, I stumbled upon a concept called Appreciative Inquiry. Appreciative Inquiry, described from the AI Commons site, "is about the search for the best in people, their organizations, and the strengths-filled, opportunity-rich world around them. AI is not so much a shift in the methods and models of organizational change, but AI is a fundamental shift in the overall perspective taken throughout the entire change process to see the wholeness of the human system and to inquire into that system’s strengths, possibilities, and successes.”

What struck me about AI is the simplicity of the approach, yet having such a depth to its theories that they demand constant study and adaptive application. What I am learning is to always to be in a state of learning...that it is a dangerous place to feel as if I have arrived to a place in my consulting work that I can plateau my efforts in educating myself. AI forces this discipline, as its nature is fluid and its effects are all connected to the greater community which shares the same value for its work.

The core of my application of AI is in it cyclical nature and its connection to the cycle I follow in my Strengthscope work. In my practice, I guide clients through a cyclical model, where we start with aspirations - dream about what can be. This launches the opportunity to change the conversation in the workplace...from a deficit based mindset to one of abundance. I credit Chuck Blakeman for making me obsessed with abundance in the workplace. Once on this path of abundance, I launch into four more phases of awareness, action, adapting and achievement. More on those in future posts.

The advantages in changing the conversation to an abundance mindset are numerous, but here are a few:

  • Path of Possibility - people are now focused on strengths, opportunities and solutions.
  • Emotional Health - people experience positive emotions and open conversations
  • Performance - people trust each other and have energy for the mission and one another
  • Results - people produce and become more engaged

At this point, it is not a tough sell to implement this strategy, as it improves cultural health and financial performance. What might be the possibilities of your organization, if you took the risk in exploring what might be and began to implement strategies to make it a reality? What level of influence could your organization have in this environment, internally and externally? What type of legacy might you leave behind?

If you would like to start this conversation with Red Chairs, reach out and let's get started