Appreciative Inquiry

When pursuing organizational change, the details of when to ask various kinds of questions have a far greater impact than most leaders realize. Questions create cascades of subsequent conversations. Market leading change methodologies focus on strengths and deficits at strategically opportune times. One methodology that has shifted the way major institutions practice change is Appreciative Inquiry (AI). AI is a rigorous organizational improvement methodology that has rapidly grown in popularity because it enables organizations to effectively leverage their strengths, grow their capacities to change, and engage multiple stakeholders in meaningful, high-impact participation. Major institutions such as Walmart, Gojo, United Nations, McDonalds, United Way, the U.S. Dairy Industry, and U.S. Navy, among many others, are using it for effective positive change. This methodology was created by Professors of the Organizational Behavior department at Case Western Reserve University. Several of our consultants worked side by side with them for years during their doctoral training, becoming masters of the methodology themselves.

Advantages of using AI include:

  • Engaging 20 to 1000 employees at the same time
  • Engaging creativity by eliminating anxiety, blame-game, us vs. them dynamics
  • Integrating localized and specific contextual knowledge of employees into decision-making, that can otherwise be neglected/lost
  • Using participative and democratic processes for making shared decisions = stakeholder buy-in
  • Unlocking innovative ideas through a unique interviewing format
  • Increasing perceptions of empowerment in summit participants
  • Mobilizing an engaged workforce while they experience change efforts first hand
  • Strengthening relationships between participants
  • Creating informed decisions anchored in the best of the past, and a shared future vision
  • Providing an opportunity to celebrate and become energized by successes that would otherwise fade out behind everyday work routines and processes