Promote Change by Focusing on What Works


Seems a little contradictory doesn’t it:  Why promote change if it “ain’t broke?”  Because you want to be the best.  For most organizations, when we think about change, it’s because something is broken.  A team of “fixers” is pulled together to spend time identifying the problem and finding a solution.  Does this necessarily make an organization better or just eradicates the immediate problem.  Why wait until something is broken before making it better?  Why engage just a handful of people when the whole team add value?

These questions were the impetus for why PhD and Case Western professor, David Cooperrider, defined a different method of bringing about change:  It’s called Appreciative Inquiry (AI) and it is based on an inclusive and positive approach to initiating change – as radical as it sounds, it works.

Developed in the mid-80s, this approach challenges the traditional method of driving change exclusively when there’s a problem.  AI encourages managers to shift away from focusing on “the problem” and rather guide their team to envision what it would take to make the organization the best it could be.  It means seeing the potential contribution of every member of the team and inviting them to define the future.  The results:  a highly motivated collaborative that promote success for the individual, the team, the organization.  How refreshing!

I look forward to sharing more about AI in future blogs.