Appreciative Inquiry: An Organizational Development Resilience Strategy

In much of my work with individuals, I focus on a strengths-based approach helping people identify and acknowledge the skills that help them become successful. I find this approach much more amenable to professional growth as opposed to focusing just on weaknesses, which for many of us, is our default mode.

In the same way, Appreciative Inquiry (AI) can be used to help organizations focus on positive approaches for decision-making and strategic change. Developed in the late 1980s at Case Western Reserve, AI works to move businesses away from just trying to solve problems to the larger scope of creating new solutions to organizational challenges.

As opposed to problem solving methodologies that focus on causes and analysis, Appreciative Inquiry begins by valuing what is working for the organization before moving onto how to envision possibilities, engaging in dialogue before innovating the future. In many ways, AI tries to leapfrog the linear problem solving approach to move the organization beyond today’s problem and into tomorrow’s solution.

Organizational resilience entails developing new approaches to growing business. Operational Excellence and Lean Technologies work to accomplish this in manufacturing and The Sanctuary Model does the same within human services. All of these focus on how to make things work better and begin with an appreciation for what we have within our organizations.

There are many paths to resilience but most begin by recognizing what we do well.

My thanks to Ellie Monaco for this idea about Appreciative Inquiry

© Richard Citrin, 2014


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