Volume 126, September 2013: Appreciative Inquiry

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

This is a monthly electronic magazine for anyone who wants to be a better leader, coach, facilitator, or simply, to tune up their people skills. It is a complimentary publication, devoted to the next evolution of Quality Thinking.

Publisher: © Key Associates, 2013 ISSN # 1545-8873

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. – Marcel Proust

Appreciative Inquiry is a method for discovering, understanding, and fostering innovations in an organization. This process looks for “what works” in an organization and how to do more of that, rather than looking for problems and seeking solutions to fix them. The act of asking questions about the positive aspects of work life changes an organization or group for the better. What we focus on becomes reality.

Gathering positive stories and images and constructing positive interactions transforms team members. Having simple, truthful conversations with people also enables a leader to learn, and gives others a chance to speak, to be heard, and to learn as well.

David Cooperrider (2008) originally coined the term Appreciative Inquiry and now describes it through 4 D’s:

  • Discovery: Appreciating and Valuing the Best of “What Is”
  • Dream: “What Might Be”
  • Design: “How Can It Be”
  • Destiny: “What Will Be”

The underlying assumption is that an organization is a mystery, an expression of beauty and spirit, to be embraced and appreciated. By interviewing using appropriate questioning, you probe deeper and closer to the heart, and thus people are moved to create positive change.

Practice Point

Widen your space for conversations about “What’s Good” in your team or organization. Ask simple questions and listen with intention:

  • “What would you describe as being a high point experience for you in this organization?”
  • “What makes you proud to be a member of this organization?”
  • “What would it be like if you ended your workday knowing you had really helped someone?”
  • “Imagine you wake up 10 years from now and you see that powerful, positive changes have been made in this organization. What do you see happening?”


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