Using Appreciative Inquiry to change for the better

Last week, I introduced the concept of Appreciative Inquiry, and explained that it is a technique of change management which focuses on identifying the positive rather than the negative aspects of change. Today, we will look at the practicalities of implementing AI and how organisations can use it to change for the better. Asking the […]

Doing more of what’s right with Appreciative Inquiry

I have discussed a number of different approaches to change management over the past few weeks. Today, I want to talk about an approach that to a certain extent turns traditional change management on its head. Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is nothing complicated. In fact, it is as much a mindset as a management strategy. The […]

Good questions create better worlds (Part 2)

Carrying on our focus on Appreciative Inquiry and the use of good questions, here we will consign a few more well-intentioned but counter-productive questions to the bin marked ‘never to be asked’. Bad question #3: Have you thought of doing it this way? This sounds like a helpful intervention, but no matter how benign the […]

Good questions create better worlds: Appreciative Inquiry (Part 1)

People often ask good questions; but that they ask questions is rather less important than how they ask them. Case Western Reserve University Professor David Cooperrider puts what is at stake when asking a question rather deftly: “We live in the world our questions create.” Cooperrider is a pioneer of ‘appreciative inquiry’, which holds that good questions are […]

The gentle art of Humble Inquiry (Part Two)

The manager (or consultant) who practises Edgar Schein’s “gentle art of asking” drops the old-fashioned humiliation-averse managerial stance in favour of actively humbling oneself to tap into their team’s resourcefulness. Schein describes Humble Inquiry like this: “Humble Inquiry is the fine art of drawing someone out, of asking questions to which you do not already […]

The gentle art of Humble Inquiry (Part One)

Today, the most enlightened parents know that they’ve “got it right” when they can talk to their children in such a way that their children feel free to talk back. Surprisingly, many businesses seem to have neglected this basic truth; if managers can’t talk to people in a way that makes them feel comfortable in […]

Appreciative Inquiry and Cooperrider’s Three Circles of Strength, Part Two

Last time, we began our tour of David Cooperrider’s “Three Circles of Strength” framework: if Circle 1 involves elevating strengths, Circle 2 progresses to multiplying them into – in Cooperrider’s words – “macro combinations and configurations.” Let’s look at an example cited by Professor Cooperrider: a $4 billion trucking company had unwittingly starved itself and […]

Appreciative Inquiry and Cooperrider’s Three Circles of Strength, Part One

A large company generates 2000 measurement systems for assessing problems, including exit surveys to study turnover, an annual low morale survey and focus groups with its most dissatisfied customers. Result? 80 per cent of management attention is focussed on fixing weaknesses. David Cooperrider, the Gestalt-oriented originator of Appreciative Inquiry, believes this is the exact reverse […]