Our June Newsletter is inspired by the book Appreciative Inquiry for Change Management, written by Sarah Lewis, Jonathan Passmore and Stefan Cantore (3 Dec 2007).
Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is one of the most exciting and increasingly recognised concepts in facilitating organisational change. This book studies AI in depth, illustrating the method of asking particular questions and envisioning the future, encouraging staff to consider both the positive and negative systems in place and to recognise the need to implement change.
Is this book going to be of interest to you? It is a book with very clear descriptions, with practical advice exploring what AI is and how you might use it. Within the early part of the book, I was struck by a simple yet powerful table contrasting two different perspectives that seems to capture so many of the typical challenges we face when bringing about change, here is a short extract.
We share next a video from David Cooperrider exploring Appreciative Inquiry, closing with a quote from Peter Drucker. “The task of Leadership is to create an alignment of strengths, in ways that make the Systems weaknesses irrelevant”
Appreciative Inquiry: A Conversation with David Cooperrider
Within AI there is a process referred to as the 4D Model. The four phases that connect via a reinforcing loop are. Discover and Value “the best of what is”, Dream/Envision the future “what might be”, Design through Dialogue, “what should be” and Destiny/Co-construct the future, “what will be”. This can be used in conjunction with other tools and frameworks.
Many folk have heard of SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). This view can pull the practitioner back into the old paradigm. SOAR (Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations and Results) is an alternative framework that fits much more effectively with the AI approach.
Having spent many years working in organisations where Total Quality Management (TQM) was a dominant approach, we were often using the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check and Act/Adjust) cycle with SWOT. If we think of the two perspectives shared earlier, it seems to me that PDCA and SWOT belong in one paradigm and AI and SOAR another.
So the question that I am left with is. As we think about the need for Innovation and Entrepreneurial activity to help move the nation forward. Which approach do you think might serve us more effectively?
To finish with a quote: We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein