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The impetus behind Appreciative Inquiry is building from a position of strength.

will be explored during the Appreciative bottom-line benefits communicate quickly, naturally, clearly, truth-
Inquiry are co-defined by a team of internal The AI process is elegant in its simplicity and fully, collaboratively, persuasively, accurately,
leaders who will work side by side throughout useful across the business cycles and func- intuitively, entertainingly, movingly, feelingly
the process, with an external consultant. tions that are familiar to many companies. and interactively.
Together they write the opening questions Corporate and functional (marketing, HR, Creativity in expressing a vision and craft-
for the inquiry, understanding that the ques- finance, R&D, etc.) strategy is an ideal fit with ing new approaches to work is within the
tions they ask are critical to the future of their Appreciative Inquiry, as are design of systems capabilities of a business when it brings peo-
business. The format of the AI is also selected for technology, distribution, customer service ple of different backgrounds together.
from among many options, including a series or communication. The process will work In the end, the bottom line is a measure
of small group experiences, that demonstrates the impact
intensive retreats and summits The Appreciative Inquiry Process Appreciative Inquiry has had on
that involve hundreds of partici- business. Roadway Express CEO
pants for a couple of days. In this James D. Staley tells the story of
phase, readiness for change, cor- Discovery one California truck driver who
Identifying Your
porate culture and opportunities Positive Core attracted a quarter of a million
for involving a cross-section of dollars in business as a direct
the company’s stakeholders are result of his involvement in AI.
all considered. In Michigan, Tendercare Nurs-
During the Discovery phase, Igniting ing Homes and Assisted Living
Destiny Leadership Dream
the emphasis is on finding Actions/Projects at Images of Future Centers increased its patient
Continuous Learning Shared Visions
the best of “what is” — peak Every Level census by 7.5 percent within six
moments when the unit has weeks, and its workforce chose
excelled in the past and is doing to be decertified from their
well in the present. Stories or key unions in the year following its
Design
incidents are collected about best Possibility Propositions AI process.
practices and the unique condi- Ideal Organizational Designs Hunter Douglas Window
tions which foster them. In the Fashions reported that in 2001
words of Appreciative Inquiry they estimated more than $3.5
expert Bernard Mohr, “Through this process, practically anywhere there are three compo- million in savings, following AI-based busi-
new insights emerge about what drives the nents: a group with a shared history related ness-process improvements that had taken
organization, what its capabilities are and to their work; the desire to come together place in the prior year.
what contribution its members can make to around an energized vision to innovate or
the world.” to increase performance; and people with ••
As participants are involved in the Dream stories of their individual successes to share. There is hidden power in every organiza-
phase, they are looking for the possibilities, Once participants have experienced the 5-D tion to achieve its greatest dreams of suc-
expressed and latent, that provide opportu- cycle in a program guided by a facilitator, cess. Positive change is within your reach. It
nities for more vital, successful and effective applying the steps around projects and rou- doesn’t happen on its own, but with the right
forms of organization. Unlike many vision- tine work that their teams are responsible for process, you’re up to the challenge. Apprecia-
ing exercises, these images of the future are becomes natural as they are coached to adopt tive Inquiry has proven to meet the needs
grounded in the organization’s proven capa- this strengths-based approach. of both large and small businesses. With the
bilities and past successes. If you are curious about the effectiveness leadership of senior managers and business
Moving into the Design phase, the task of AI, here is some information you may find owners, a clear path to a future of exceptional
is to look for the kinds of structure, systems, interesting. Using stories to drive results has achievement can be paved with the shared
roles, procedures, work processes, leader- lots of history. When Wegmans was named the intentions and proven capabilities of the peo-
ship, relationships, measurements, etc. that top employer in the 2005 Fortune’s 100 Best ple who are already involved. It’s up to you to
are needed to assure implementation of the Companies to Work For® list, Jack DePeters, engage them. Are you ready?
dream. Participants identify the high-leverage SVP of Store Operations,
changes needed to support the vision. cited storytelling as a prac-
Delivery (sometimes called Destiny) is tice that the supermarket
Loretta L. Donovan, is founder and president of worksmarts,
more than a phase; it’s the work of imple- chain used to build its high- and a co-owner of Appreciative Inquiry Consulting. She has
mentation and continuous improvement. engagement culture. held senior learning and consulting positions at Girl Scouts
The focus is on creating the future that was Katalina Groh, executive of the USA, ClientSoft, Inc., SunGard Higher Ed/SCT and
envisioned and delivering on the new images producer of the video series the March of Dimes. A contributor to The AMA Handbook
of E-Learning, she has consulted to the healthcare, higher
of the excellent performance. Participants Real People, Real Stories, education, software and services industries, and provided
develop specific action plans and commit to notes that storytelling works training on virtual teams, facilitation and e-learning imple-
who will do what by when. because it provides a way to mentation. Contact her at loretta.donovan@aiconsulting.org.

800.417.4848 • WWW.STRATEGIES.COM December 2006 STRATEGIES 11