Ap-pre’ci-ate, v., 1. valuing; the act of recognizing the best in people or the world around us; affirming past and present strengths, successes, and potentials; to perceive those things that give life (health, vitality, excellence) to living systems 2. to increase in value, e.g. the economy has appreciated in value. Synonyms: VALUING, PRIZING, ESTEEMING, and HONORING.
In-quire’ (kwir), v., 1. the act of exploration and discovery. 2. To ask questions; to be open to seeing new potentials and possibilities. Synonyms: DISCOVERY, SEARCH, and SYSTEMATIC EXPLORATION, STUDY.
Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is the search for the best in people, and the best in the organization. “AI seeks, fundamentally, to build a constructive union between a whole people and the massive entirety of what people talk about as past and present capacities: achievements, assets, unexplored potentials, innovations, strengths, elevated thoughts, opportunities, benchmarks, high point moments, lived values, traditions, strategic competencies, stories, expressions of wisdom, insights into the deeper corporate spirit or soul, and visions of valued and possible futures.” Visit the Appreciative Inquiry Commons for more information and research: http://appreciativeinquiry.case.edu/
AI is a key element in business evolution. In previous Blogs, we have discussed the power of “bucket filling” – AI is a step beyond this phenomenon as it can help transform an organization and lead to stronger innovation, increased productivity, and greater employee satisfaction. People naturally respond more positively to an optimistic and enthusiastic leader rather than someone who is degrading and demoralizing. AI is often described by a sequence of the following activities:
- Discover: Valuing the “Best of what Is”
- Dream: Envisioning “What might Be”
- Design: Dialoguing “What should Be”
- Deliver: Innovating “What will Be”
Try integrating AI into your organization through the collaboration of inquiry based on interviews and affirmative questioning that collects and celebrates "good news stories". These “stories” unveil how the organization handles friction and conflict and help affirm and enhance cultural identity, spirit and vision of the organization. Relationships and organizational culture will be based on this new path. It is recommended that the whole system of AI is incorporated into the organization’s culture because the process and the outcomes become interdependent, consequentially facilitating change. When your organization focuses on finding the good, everyone wins and positive action is imminent.