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appreciative inquiry, by lise palmer

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lise palmer

on 31 January 2012

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Transcript of appreciative inquiry, by lise palmer

discover (what gives us life?) dream (what's our desirable future?) design (how can we get there?) destiny (sustaining the design) Appreciative Inquiry the A.I. view of change :

to build and sustain momentum for change requires lots of hope, excitement, inspiration, and a sense of shared purpose and joy

our society skews towards the negative. We can be "balanced" and generate the necessary motivation for change using an approach which focuses on the positive

the more positive the question we ask, the more long-lasting and successful the change effort tends to be

deficit-based change tends to produce results only in the short-term, while dissatisfaction is high. it tends not to be sustainable if we inquire into problems, we will find more of them. if we inquire into what is good, we will find more of that, too. David Cooperrider what is the best that we can be? At Leadshare in Canada AI was used to help this big eight accounting firm make the
tough transition in the executive succession of a “legendary” managing partner. The
managing partner seized the moment as an incredible leadership development
opportunity for all 400 partners. Everyone was interviewed with AI. An extensive
interview protocol was designed (it ended up taking about 2 hours per interview)
focusing on affirmative topics like innovation, equality, partnership, speed to market, and
valuing diversity (in Canada between francophone and anglophone). And not one outside
consultant did the interviews. All were done internally, by 30 junior partners as part of a
leadership development program. A powerful and instant intergenerational connection
was made, and organizational history came alive in face-to-face story. Instead of
amnesia, or a problem-to-be-solved, people began to relate to their history in a whole
new way. Like a good piece of poetry filled with endless interpretive meaning, people at
Leadshare ascended into their history as a reservoir of positive possibility. At the next
annual partners meeting with over 400 people in the conference hall, the material was
showcased and coupled to the future, as the strategic planning became one of the “best”
the partners could ever remember (Rainey, 1996) Before their strategic planning session session in 1997, Nutrimental Foods of Brazil
closed down the plant for a full day to bring all 700 employees together for a day of
Discovery into the factors and forces that have given life the system when it had been
most effective, most alive, and most successful as a producer of high quality health
foods.With cheers and good wishes a “smaller” group of 150 stakeholders—employees
from all levels, suppliers, distributors, community leaders, financiers, and customers—
then went into a four day strategy session to articulate a new and bold corporate dream.
The stories from the day before were used just as an artist uses a palette of colors—
before painting a picture the artist assembles the red paints, blue, green, yellow and so
on. With these “materials” in hand people were asked to dream: “What is the world
calling us to become? What are those things about us that no matter how much we
change, we want to continue into our new and different future? Lets assume that tonight
while we were all asleep a miracle occurred where Nutrimental became exactly as we
would like it to be—all of its best qualities are magnified, extended, multiplied the way
we would like to see…in fact we wake up and it is now 2005…as you come into
Nutrimental today what do you see that is different, and how do you know?”

After four days of appreciative analysis, planning, and articulation of three new strategic business
directions the organization launches into the future with focus, solidarity, and
confidence. Six months later record bottom line figures of millions of dollars are
recorded—profits are up 300%.

The co-CEOs Rodrigo Loures and Arthur Lemme Nettto attribute the dramatic results to two things: bringing the whole system into the planning process, and realizing that organizations are in fact “centers of human relatedness”(Loures and Lemme Netto, 1998) which thrive when there is an appreciative
eye—when people see the best in one another, when they can dialogue their dreams and ultimate concerns if affirming ways, and when they are connected in full voice to create not just new worlds but better worlds. (Cooperrider & Whitney 2009) DIA has become a learning organization that fosters the cross fertilization of ideas,
minimizes the building of empires, harnesses the synergy of group cooperation, and
cultivates the pride of being a valued member of one outstanding corporation. DIA
accelerates its learning through an annual strategic planning conference that involves all
five hundred people in the firm as well as key partners and stakeholders. As a setting for
“strategic learning” teams present their benchmarking studies of the best five other
organizations, deemed leaders in their class. Other teams present an annual appreciative
analysis of DIA, and together these data-bases of success stories (internal and external)
help set the stage for DIA’s strategic, future search planning.
(Cooperrider & Whitney, 2009) From Cooperrider & Whitney, 2009:
"What we discovered quite honestly was that momentum for change and long-term sustainability increased the more we abandoned “delivery” ideas of action planning, monitoring progress, and building implementation strategies. What was done instead, in several of the most exciting cases, was to focus only on giving Ai away, to everyone, and then stepping back.

The GTE story, still unfolding but already attracting national recognition, is suggestive. It is a story that says organization change needs to look a lot
more like an inspired movement than a neatly packaged or engineered product. Dan Young, the head of OD at GTE, and his colleagues Maureen Garrison and Jean Moore call it “organizing for change from the grassroots to the frontline”." The Constructionist Principle: To be effective as executives, leaders, change agents, etc., we must be adept in the art of understanding, reading, and analyzing organizations as living, human constructions.

Knowing (organizations) stands at the center of any and virtually
every attempt at change.

Thus, the way we know is fateful. The Principle of Simultaneity: Inquiry is intervention. The seeds of
change—that is, the things people think and talk about, the things people discover and
learn, and the things that inform dialogue and inspire images of the future—are implicit
in the very first questions we ask. The questions we ask set the stage for what we “find”. The Poetic Principle: A metaphor here is that human organizations are a lot more like
and open book than, say, a machine. An organization’s story is constantly being co-
authored. Moreover, pasts, presents, or futures are endless sources of learning,
inspiration, or interpretation—precisely like, for example, the endless interpretive
possibilities in a good piece of poetry or a biblical text. The Anticipatory Principle:
Much like a movie projector on a screen, human systems are forever projecting ahead of themselves a horizon of expectation (in their talk in the hallways, in the metaphors and language they use) that brings the future powerfully into the present as a mobilizing agent. To inquire in ways that serves to refashion anticipatory reality—especially the artful creation of positive imagery on a collective basis--may be the most prolific thing any inquiry can do. This last principle is not so abstract. It grows out of years of
experience with appreciative inquiry. Put most simply, it has been our experience that
building and sustaining momentum for change requires large amounts of positive affect
and social bonding—things like hope, excitement, inspiration, caring, camaraderie, sense
of urgent purpose, and sheer joy in creating something meaningful together.

What we have found is that the more positive the question we ask in our work the more long
lasting and successful the change effort. It does not help, we have found, to begin our
inquiries from the standpoint of the world as a problem to be solved. The
major thing we do that makes the difference is to craft and seed, in better and more
catalytic ways, the unconditional positive question.

IN TRIADS, DISCUSS: CAN YOU THINK OF A TIME WHEN THIS WAS TRUE FOR YOU IN YOUR LIFE? department meetings: 5 mins what’s good
ai interviews
“insights” preferences focused tool (all four d’s)
photo, mags, etc - pictures to descibe what we see
share success stories (current and past)
why are you here?
what was the best team experience you’ve had?
what do we do well?
what do you appreciate about ____? (use to begin meeting to set tone)
begin with a team (building) activity that leads to success then deconstruct what worked and why
individual reflective pre-work
connect with individuals before group sessions graphic facilitation
diversity game (thinking preferences
future history
guided visualitzation
storytelling
mind map
relaxation and visualization then mindmap the vision
draw a picture of success (i.e. collage)
have group create a customer kudo letter that describes success
Photo - choose a reprsentation of future state
use music in the background focus groups
re-treat
card sort
mind map
surveys
what’s in it for me
outsourcing / outsdie facilitators / designers
story board
ideas with post-it notes
remove constraints
identify the stories we tell ourselves that hold us back
mapping regular “what’s working” check-in
ai interviews
“champion” focus group
ongoing learning and training
plan the follow up: who, when, what
determine how to hold each other accountable
celebrate milestones and successes
cath ‘em doing things right!
recognition (ongoing)
reflect back and celebrate progress
timelines
identify chamption (leader)
cultivate AI leadership CASE STUDY:
Change management
at a manufacturing institution CASE STUDY:
Appreciative Inquiry performance reviews
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