Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a change management approach that focuses on identifying what is working well, analyzing why it is working well and then doing more of it. The basic tenet of AI is that an organization will grow in whichever direction that people in the organization focus their attention. If all the attention is focused on problems, then identifying problems and dealing with them is what the organization will do best. If all the attention is focused on strengths, however, then identifying strengths and building on those strengths is what the organization will do best. The process of Appreciative Inquiry requires a particular way of asking guided questions that encourage positive thinking and employee-to-employee interaction. The questions focus on four key areas: discover, imagine, design and deliver (DIDD). The theory of Appreciative Inquiry was developed by David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva in a paper they published in 1986. Group facilitators are encouraged to customize how the four key areas are presented to meet the needs of their audience, but the goal of the process should remain the same: Help an organization build upon what they do best in a positive manner. Why is Appreciative Inquiry needed?
The conventional wisdom about change in people and organisations is that we treat them as problems to be solved. Almost every change methodology is based on the premise that the person or organisation is somehow broken or deficient and needs to be in some way fixed. Identifying and fixing problems has, therefore, become the overwhelming way to achieve change. Whilst this is a perfectly valid perspective in some contexts (If your car is broken it’s really helpful to be able to identify the broken part and replace it) when people are involved a problem orientation creates a number of unhelpful effects. * People get defensive when it is implied that they are deficient and this increases their resistance to change. * Change...
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