Daily Archives: May 7, 2008

Discovery – Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry is designed to bring out the best of everyone. Marshall B. Rosenberg wrote, “What I want in life is compassion, a flow between myself and others based on mutual giving from the heart.” (Nonviolent Communication) Appreciative Inquiry is a tool that allows people to give from the heart the best of themselves. Imagine getting the best from yourself or the best from your team, imagine everyone believing that they can deliver far more than was ever expected. Appreciative Inquiry works because people are treated as people.

Discovery is the initial phase in the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) process. However before discovery can be done we need to do some “getting started” tasks. We have to decide if AI is the right tool. We have to figure out who will be on the teams. We have to determine if there is a need for some initial training. Let’s assume that work has been done and what we really want is an overview of the process.

The starting point in the process is called “Discovery” and more than anything it is about crafting the questions that will enable the participants to create the story of the organization. Through well developed questions the interviewing team will be able to compile a story that reflects the “what is” of the organization at its very best.

The activities of Discovery are:

1. Develop Appreciative Inquiry questions

2. Develop an interview process guide

3. Create a interview plan (Who, When, Where, What, Why)

4. Enable the interviewers – give them the training and skills to ask and listen

5. Do the interviews

6. Share the stories and practices – this is the story of the organization

7. Understand the meaning of the stories

Now this information is not terribly useful by itself. Why are we doing this in the first place? Our goal is to create positive change through the full participation of the organization. The goal is to extract the stories that are expressions of the best of the best that the organization has offered. What did success look like? How did people feel? What made the organization sing such a delightful tune? Ultimately that is what we want to sense once again and recreate, but not just recreate to go beyond where it is to even a better future.

The stories will as they are being replayed stir the soul and emotion that once vibrated through the very core of the organization.

Next time Dream