I spent the better part of this week with an amazing group of leaders from around the world in a workshop on facilitating Appreciative Inquiry Summits. A week of work with people committed to AI principles – staying in the positive; grounded in stories and appreciation for every person on a team; giving a voice to every person; discovering, dreaming, designing to destiny – is a wonderful experience. I end this week with a great deal of gratitude for getting to collaborate so closely with these like-minded professionals – grounding myself in a flow of wonderful positivity!
The AI Summit is a Large Scale Change Management methodology which has been used in companies such as John Deere, HP and British Air to local governments such as Boulder County Aging Services and the City of Longmont. It is a method for facilitating change by getting the ‘whole system’ in the room.’ The process begins with a rich analysis of an organization’s positive core – the story of who we are at our best – and then links this knowledge to a strategic change agenda and a path to lead the organization to its very highest potential. Most importantly, the change incurred with an AI Summit is lasting and transformational.
Appreciative Inquiry is based on 8 key principles:
- In every society, organization or group something is working. Find those nuggets and build on them!
- What we focus on becomes our reality – so choose the initiatives you study in your organization carefully.
- Inquiry creates change the moment you ask the question. Ask the questions in the positive and you will achieve positive change.
- Sharing stories expands possibilities and builds connections between people.
- Positive images lead to positive action. So, like poets, you have to choose language, topics and metaphors that guide your grand story.
- Every voice is important. Everyone has a unique contribution.
- Building upon our best creates the grandest opportunities.
- When people build a system together, they have increased accountability and ownership.
My first exposure to an AI Summit was only 2 years ago, when I led a global marketing organization at a large multinational data and information company. As a company, we had been on a steady path of acquisitions, and our marketing department had grown to over 90 marketing people around the world – many of whom had never met one another or understood what one another did. What I really liked about the process – was that it built tremendous respect amongst the team members and opened doors to new collaboration, shared practices and even cost savings. What I loved best about it was the enthusiasm that blossomed from the teams – filling their hearts with hope, motivation and new opportunities. AI ignites change in a different way than any other change process I’ve encountered.
So a question to ponder: would a dose of AI principles help your organization?