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Appreciative Inquiry


The staff asked Gene 'what's important to you? ... The campus now believes that staff are much more 'Customer-Focused'. High staff morale. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry
  • A Positive Means to Transform an Organizational
  • Gene Spencer Bucknell University

How often do we think about how well our
organizations are working? How often is the
organizational culture an obstacle to change?
What is Appreciative Inquiry (AI)?
  • Appreciative Inquiry is the study and exploration
    of what gives life to human systems when they
    function at their best.
  • This approach to personal change and organization
    change is based on the assumption that questions
    and dialogue about strengths, successes, values,
    hopes, and dreams are themselves
  • (from The Power of Appreciative Inquiry by
  • Diana Whitney and Amanda Trosten-Bloom)

Appreciative Inquiry - Simply put
If we continue to search for problems, we will
continue to find problems.
If we look for what is best and learn from it,
we can magnify and multiply our successes.
  • Do you recognize any of these people in your
  • Which is an appreciative view?

The 8 Assumptions of AI
  • 1. In every society, organization, or group,
    something works.
  • 2. What we focus on becomes our reality.
  • 3. Reality is created in the moment, and there
    are multiple realities.

The 8 Assumptions of AI
  • 4. The act of asking questions of an organization
    or group influences the group in some way.
  • 5. People have more confidence and comfort to
    journey to the future (the unknown) when they
    carry forward parts of the past (the known).

The 8 Assumptions of AI
  • 6. If we carry parts of the past forward, they
    should be what is best about the past.
  • 7. It is important to value differences.
  • 8. The language we use creates our reality.
  • (from The Thin Book of Appreciative Inquiry
  • By Sue Annis Hammond)

A Cultural Shift
  • The work of leaders changes
  • Old work leaders are responsible for finding and
    solving problems.
  • New work leaders enable others to find the
    possibilities, energize the vision and create a
    new future.

Facilitating an Appreciative View!
  • Ask the right question
  • What do you see here that would be useful to

4-D Cycle of Appreciative Inquiry
Discovery Appreciate what is
Affirmative Topic Choice
Positive Core
Dream Imagine what might be
Destiny Create what will be
Design Determine what should be
From The Power of Appreciative Inquiry
  • The questions you ask help to create the reality
    of your organization.
  • Magnifying the positive builds energy and
    enthusiasm into organizations.
  • Appreciative Inquiry can be applied to virtually
    any aspect of an organization.
  • Organizations need to regularly ask questions
    about the structure and quality of their work and
    search to find the best ideas among staff and
    their customers.

2002 The Situation _at_Bucknell
  • Front-line Technology Support in crisis mode
  • 1993 design no longer worked well
  • Technology had become mission critical
  • Student employees first line of defense
  • 10 of problems resolved at first point of
  • 30,000 for contractors for summer installs
  • Major backlog of problems
  • Unhappy (but supportive) customers
  • Completely reactive mode
  • We need more staff! 5? 7? 9?
  • Low staff morale

2002 The Approach
  • Staff wanted change and the leadership supported
    it using the techniques of AI.
  • Energy for change came from the bottom up.
  • Guidance came from the top down.
  • The staff asked Gene whats important to you?
  • Gene outlined his 4 key requirements (and got out
    of the way).
  • What happened in the middle was powerful.
  • The staff developed their dream within the
  • AND, the results far exceed Genes dreams!

4 Simple Requirements from the Associate VP of
  • Better service for the campus community
  • Happier staff with more rewarding jobs
  • Stop using the term User Self-Sufficiency
  • Say NO much less frequently and then only
    thoughtfully so
  • And recognize the campus freeze on new positions!

2002 Outcomes
  • A new model developed by the staff.
  • Calls to the Tech Desk are differentiated
    (students vs. faculty/staff).
  • Student employees (and a small staff) at the Tech
    Desk focused on supporting students.
  • A new Call Center takes all calls from
  • 80 of problems resolved at first point of
  • Procedures/hand-offs simplified in many cases.
  • 30,000 for contractors no longer needed.
  • Minimal backlog of cases delays measured in
  • Proactive mode fix problems before they are

2002 Outcomes (continued)
  • Delighted customers.
  • The campus now believes that staff are much more
  • High staff morale.
  • People are matched to their strengths and
  • We eliminated one staff position.
  • Several other people were redeployed to the
    right work.
  • Staff rarely need to say no.
  • This effort received a Bucknell Maxwell Award
    for Customer Service, Extraordinary Effort and
    Embracing New Directions!

An Example AI Process
  • An exercise to illustrate the
  • Discovery stage
  • of a Formal
  • Appreciative Inquiry Cycle
  • Appreciate What Is!

Provocative Proposition
  • Imagine that you return to work and find a
    transformed organization. Everything works well.
    It is a high-performing, customer-focused
    library. It blends its service mission and its
    leadership role in perfect resonance with the
    needs and aspirations of the community. Its
    value and contribution are well known, openly
    appreciated and frequently celebrated.

Questions to Consider
  • What do you see in this picture?
  • What are the key elements of your vision?
  • How does this feel to you?
  • What will help you achieve your vision?