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“We must become the change we wish to see in the world.”


“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Albert Einstein


In all my past podcast episodes, the bottom line in what I share is that I’m describing conditions and conversations needed for the success of individuals and groups. This is culture at its most foundational. Such conditions and conversations either help people feel encouraged and support them to gain courage, to grow and to participate in their life and in their work or they don’t. Now is a time where it’s evident how strong or weak this is within people. Too many people are suffering in inferiority complex, failing to experience the 4 core needs to feel empowered, lovable, connected and contributing and unable to take responsibility for what they think and say and do. They have an under-developed ability to motivate themselves from the inside out and to build the types of relationships with themselves and others that feed needs for courage and forward movement, despite circumstances. There is no better time to showcase the particular tool and concept of appreciative inquiry.

The work I do is designed to provide specific support systems in which people ultimately are enabled to handle whatever life throws at them. Right now, the major stressor of the day is the Covid19 pandemic with all of its challenges. But before, during and after it, ongoing stressors include ever faster speed of change, complexity, globalization and new technologies to name just a few. In fact, in my work, I’m often involved in stress-producing situations like changes in leadership, unresolved and persistent negative behaviors, rapid growth, mergers, acquisitions; anything that creates uncertainty and fear. That’s because when stressors occur, that’s when we can see the strength or weaknesses organizationally and individually.  In the vast majority of people uncertainty and fear result in catastrophizing; a coping mechanism most people turn to because they believe it will help them to survive what’s happening. And this takes a major toll on us and slows us down. That’s why I’m bringing this particular topic to you today.

Questions to Ponder:

  1. What is appreciative inquiry?
  2. Why does it matter?
  3. And how does it work in actual real-world situations?

Appreciative inquiry is a powerful and often unknown communication tool that forces our minds out of catastrophizing and into possibility thinking that mobilizes us so we rally to be part of a solution and that helps us have hope as individuals and as groups.

Episode Guest: Lisa Dean

Lisa Dean is a project manager at Esse Health and works in the software development area. In her role, Lisa is responsible for daily planning, scheduling and controlling the project deliverables, while building and maintaining working relationships with internal associates and the team of client contacts. She is accountable for meeting project timelines and results for customer satisfaction and must effectively communicate project goals, objectives and priorities. She works closely with 3rd party vendors and communicates daily progress of accounts to Management.

Keywords:  appreciative inquiry, 4-D Model, traditional problem-solving vs. appreciative inquiry

Story: The Bowling Team Story.

There were two bowling teams, and they were both videotaped. The first team’s video was edited so that it only showed their bad, weak, bowling moves. The other team’s video was edited so that it only showed their strong, correct, bowling moves. Both teams watched the videos for the purpose of improving their games.

Which bowling team was able to improve its bowling game: the team that focused on its mistakes or the team that focused on its successes?

The team that watched its mistakes collectively improved by 30% (not bad huh?!) The team that watched its strengths collectively improved by 100% (doubled) and probably enjoyed the experience more.

Episode Topics:

  • Definition of Appreciative Inquiry
  • Assumptions about Appreciative Inquiry
  • Examples of Applications of Appreciative Inquiry

Definition of Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative: A favorable assessment, admiration, approval or gratitude Inquiry: A request for information, asking questions

Appreciative Inquiry is asking questions that are appreciative in nature in order to cause intentional outcomes.

It is a collaborative, encouraging process that meets the core need of all people for positive, intense connection, while providing a framework for gathering and sharing information with two or more members within an organization. It allows for a sharing of the best information between people. The basic process of AI is the use of fateful questions, resulting in interviews, conversations and stories that create positive future outcomes. AI is consistent with the latest research in the new sciences, including quantum physics, chaos theory, complexity theory, simultaneity, and constructivism. Key Idea: Appreciative Inquiry (AI) helps people access positive memories that are often otherwise ignored.

Assumptions about Appreciative Inquiry

  1. In every workplace, something works.
  2. Looking for what works well is more motivating and effective than looking for what does not work.
  3. What we focus on becomes our reality.
  4. Conversation and dialogue create images and images create reality.
  5. The act of asking questions begins the change.
  6. Organizations move toward what they ask about or focus on.
  7. We have more confidence and comfort to journey to the future when we bring forward the past.
  8. If we bring parts of the past forward they should be what is best.
  9. By the words we use to anticipate and describe reality, we create reality.

Examples of Applications of Appreciative Inquiry

  1. Greeting: “How are you?” or “What’s the best thing that has happened to you today?”
  2. Building teamwork: “When have you had a similar situation in the past and handled it well?
  3. What would this relationship look, feel and sound like at its best?”
  4. Leader (i.e. work, school): “Turn to someone and share one thing you did this weekend you’re proud of.”
  5. During a meeting: “What outcome would you feel happiest with? How would you and the others be feeling; what would you be doing?”
  6. Scenario (Marriage): “What would your marriage look like at its most ideal?”

Resources: There are many articles related to this topic. Judy’s articles on the topic include:

Visit our website to see our webinars, articles, radio, TV and published resources in addition to our podcast series and services.

If you feel so inspired, we’d appreciate it if you give us a 5-star rating on this podcast!