Rethink Your Business: Appreciative Inquiry for Better Business & Organisatioanal Culture
By Rethinking your Business, Culture and Leadership, You can begin to transform your orgasnisation and results.
Appreciative inquiry is about the positive, strength-based and affirmative stories, memories that we have. Appreciative inquiry assumes that in organizations and relationships there have been times when great things were happening. Appreciative inquiry builds on these successes stories to create a platform and foundation for more successful future. This RETHINK, and simple philosophical shift of focus from negative to the positive and the possible, re-energises peoples’ passion and enthusiasm for their work. Appreciative inquiry is a high-energy process with the potential for long-term, sustainable results that support transforming leadership style, leadership developments and organisational Culture.
An Appreciative inquiry process introduction provides an overview of the AI steps and philosophy behind the system. AI has been used fory organisational development initiastives; team building, diversity, visioning, and more for over 25 years.
AI Definition – Positive point of Focus
Step 1. Define the area of positive focus and “inquiry”. Is it for REAL team building, enhancing interpersonal skills, High Performance leadership development? The area chosen becomes the basis for the remaining 4 steps of the AI process.
2. Ai – Discovery
The AI discovery phase provides the platofirm and opportunity for people to share their best positive experiences, memories and energising stories. Our stories are the core of our identity and mindsets. they reveal how we view ourselves and the world and the language we use to describe it. We typically live our lives based on stories that we haven’t chosen to continue to retell.. The appreciative inquiry interview experience provides an opportunity to RETHINK, REFOCUS and recall times when we excelled and enjoyed it.
From these positive stories, teams share, discover and consolidate the organization’s “life-giving forces”, the values, beliefs, experiences and ideas that draw it’s people/Team together. This phase begins to shift the typical conversations away from the negative problem-focus and toward the positive focus on possibilities.
AI is about more than just the positive and the possibilities. AI is also about empowering people’s wishes, hopes and dreams for a better future. By asking people for their wishes, hopes, expectations and dreams, they can express their negative thoughts and emotions in a positive way without fear of retribution or shame.
3. Ai- Dream
Based on the stories and examples of positive experiences, people begin to dream and envision new possibilities and hopes for their future. By grounding the Ai DREAM process in the realities of the Successful Positive PAST from the discovery phase, people now view their dreams and hope as more realistic and attainable.
During the dream phase, peoples’ images for the future are first represented metaphorically. For example, a group may create a skit or piece of artwork to represent their dream. Then, the dream may be formalized as verbal macro-level provocative propositions. They are provocative in that while based in reality, they are a stretch from the organization’s present state.
Take for example the provocative proposition fram a participant… “We are a self-inspired, resilient and humorous group of individuals. We delight our customers.
Whereas the images and the macro-level propositions of the AI DREAM phase address the vision of the group, the detailed, micro-level provocative propositions address the day-to-day realities of working together. The micro-level propositions address aspects like; leadership style, HPO culture, business processes & systems. And shape them to align the dream with daily activities. Here are some aspects of creating the social architecture that you may want to explore:
- How should we work and play together?
- What roles do our pewople long to play? For example, Director of Joy, Wonder, Passion, Celebration
- What are the leadership roles and functions and preferred behaviors?
- Who creates, and how does the agenda get created?
- What should our relationship to the community be?
- How can we best support each other?
- What are the practices for continual improvement and rejuvenation, for bringing out the best in our people
- How do we create meaningful work activities?
- What should the team spirit be like?
- What support does the group/Team need?
- Who else should be invited?
In the destiny phase, the results of the dream provide the vision and guidance for everyday actions. The processes, structures, and relationships from the design phase are put into action here. It was discovered that “Momentum for change and long-term sustainability increased the more we abandoned ‘delivery’ ideas of action planning, monitoring progress, and building implementation strategies.” In the most exciting cases, businesses focused primarily on giving AI away to everyone, and then standing back and allowing the process to grow. The destiny phase also provides a time where the organization can look for ways to improve and expand the AI process.
Appreciative Inquiry Benefits and Results
By focusing on the positive, AI can improve staff spirit and morale, enhance communication and productivity, and increase the involvement of various stakeholders. AI rekindles people’s passions and sense of responsibility, and people have reason to once again be hopeful; hopeful that the future is bright and more meaningful, and that they have more input, prticipation and control to make a direct impact on that future.
For an alternative appreciative inquiry model, especially suited for personal development in a group setting, check out the Appreciative Inquiry Model for Personal Transformation – IRACE.
A great article on the powerful impact that AI has made at Hunter Douglas, the window covering company – The Liberation of Power.
Talks about an appreciative approach to management. This approach can be done by any individual and consists of determining what you want more of, looking for it, and then amplifying what you find. For example, if you want more employee initiative, look for it and when you find it amplify it by giving the employee acknowledgment, praise, and/or resources Clear Leadership – Chapter 7.
For an interesting books that can be downloaded for free, check out Locating the Energy for Change. The author, Charles Elliot provides a pragmatic approach to AI and the challenges of facilitating change. Elliot’s website.
To REthink Your High Performance Culture Contact Tony Dovale on www.lifemasters.co.za or www.tonydovalespeaks.com Mobile 083-447-6300